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Hyundai developing Aus-compliant compact SUV

Creta comforts: Hyundai’s Creta doesn’t have the correct safety rating to be sold in Australia, but the company is working on a little SUV that will fit our strict regulations.

‘We are late’ to Australian compact-SUV market: Hyundai

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Hyundai logo21 Sep 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER in Frankfurt

HYUNDAI has confirmed it is already “heavily” working on a small crossover to compete in the potentially lucrative but fiercely competitive compact-SUV market.

The South Korean car-maker has previously revealed a compact crossover that would fit the bill, but as it lacks essential safety equipment for European and Australian sale, the Creta is limited to emerging markets at this stage.

The company has not revealed any detail of the new more premium small SUV but speaking to media at the Frankfurt motor show, Hyundai Motor Company Europe chief designer Thomas Burkle said “We are working on that heavily”.

“To be honest we are late with this car,” he said. “I think we should have done it earlier.”

Mr Burkle confirmed the new model would not be related to the already revealed Creta compact SUV, but would instead conform to higher safety standards, allowing it to compete in other global markets, including Australia’s.

“It’s a different car because Creta is mainly for China and some other markets like Brazil and so on,” he said.

“It was planned for a specific market only and this is why some things were not considered. We will have a different car for the upper markets.”

Hyundai has previously had a restrictive approach to right-hand drive markets, which has limited the availability of some global portfolio models, but Mr Burkle said a right-hand-drive version of the mysterious SUV would be produced if the numbers stacked up.

“It’s all a matter of a business case,” he said. “If the sense volume allows for a right-hand-drive car we will do it, but if the volume is too small there is no case, because it is very cost intensive to make a right-hand-drive car.

“If the markets have a strong demand for certain cars then it will happen I am sure.”

With the compact-SUV market booming in Australia as well as other right-hand-drive markets such as the United Kingdom, it is likely the new smallest Hyundai crossover would be seriously considered for production as a right-hooker.

In addition to the Creta, the company’s ix25 has also been ruled out for Australia as it too lacks vital safety gear.

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