HYUNDAI MOTOR COMMITTED TO WRC

  • Determined to participate in remaining 2003 WRC events
  • Temporarily withdraw for 2004~05 seasons
  • Base new reorganized WRC team in Russelsheim, Germany
  • Return to WRC in 2006 with all-new chassis and powertrain

SEOUL, Korea, Sep. 17, 2003 - In the wake of a contract dispute with MSD, the Milton Keyenes, UK-based company appointed by Hyundai Motor Co. to run its World Rally Championship program, the management of Hyundai Motor reaffirm the company’s determination and commitment to compete in all four events remaining in the 2003 WRC season.

“MSD has failed to provide us with audited financial records which we are legally entitled to review,” said B.H. Lee, HMC’s director of overseas marketing and promotion. “Until we can get a true picture of the state of their finances, we have no choice but to withhold further payment,” explained Lee.

“We’d like to resolve this issue immediately so we can focus on competing in the four rallies left on the 2003 WRC calendar,” added Lee.

Following the conclusion of the 2003 WRC season, Hyundai will pull out of the 2004 and 2005 seasons to concentrate on the development of a new powertrain and car in preparation for a comeback in later half of the 2006 season and the return to a full season of rallying in 2007.

Hyundai has drawn up a new mid- and long-term motorsport development program that will see an extensive reorganization of the program details of which will be announced later this year.

"Withdrawing is a painful decision but also a realistic admission that a break is absolutely mandatory for us to reorganize and rethink our entire approach to motorsport. But we'll be back in 2006 in fighting form with a completely new engine and car to mount a more credible challenge for the WRC crown," he added.

"Without winning we can never achieve the performance dimension we hope to add to the Hyundai brand," explained Lee. "And to win, we need to raise the stakes and recruit the best talent."

As part of the reorganization, the company will set up a new World Rally Team Headquarters at the company's Euro$50 million Design and Technical Center in Russelsheim, Germany and will begin aggressive recruitment of top talent to fortify the team's engineering capabilities.

"We see motorsport as an integral part of our marketing plans to reach our goal of becoming one of the top five automakers in the world by 2010," said Lee.

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Co. has grown into the Hyundai Automotive Group which includes Kia Motors Corp. and over two dozen auto-related subsidiaries and affiliates. Employing nearly 50,000 people worldwide, Hyundai Motor posted US$21.94 billion in sales in 2002. Hyundai vehicles are sold in 166 countries through 4,504 dealerships and showrooms. Further information about Hyundai Motor Co. and its motor vehicles is available on the Internet at http://www.hyundai-motor.com

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