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Frankfurt show: Hyundai heralds next i30

Eyes have it: All-new i30 will replace Hyundai’s volume-seller in Australia next year.

Yet another new small car emerges from Hyundai as Korean giant prepares next i30

Hyundai logo11 Aug 2011

HYUNDAI’S relentless rollout of new models continues this week with the first official rendering of its next-generation i30 hatchback, which has now been confirmed to make its global debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

The redesigned i30 hatch will replace the Korean giant’s top-selling model globally and in Australia during the second half of next year, when it will go head to head with the third-generation Ford Focus hatch released this week, Holden’s Australian-designed Cruze hatch and the facelifted Mazda3 also due in October.

Toyota’s next Corolla is also expected to surface in 2012, but before then Australians will gain access to Subaru’s MkIII Impreza range and the redesigned Honda Civic.

Dressed in an evolution of the ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language that already adorns Hyundai’s ix35 compact SUV, i45 medium sedan and new Elantra small sedan – and will also be seen on the mid-size i40 Tourer wagon due here in October - the next i30 was designed and engineered at the Hyundai’s European technical centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

“When designing the all-new i30, we used strong, fluid lines to sculpt a car which looks athletic while exuding a sense of constant motion, even when stationary,” said Hyundai Motor Europe chief designer Thomas Bürkle.

“From the rendering, you can see how we managed to give the car a bold stance, transmitting a confident attitude through sporty characteristics and dynamic proportions. In this way, the car is very close to the recently unveiled i40, and we want people to recognise the Hyundai design DNA on those two models.” The i30 introduces a more defined version of the hexagonal shaped grille that forms the signature front-end on Hyundai’s latest models, and also features back-swept headlights, a sharply sculpted rising shoulder line and a coupe-like roofline that extends from a large, steeply raked windscreen.

“The hexagonal appearance is unique to Hyundai, with the jewel-like front headlamps which flank the grille adding a strong personality to the vehicle, as well as a sense of refinement and luxury,” said Mr Bürkle.

The new i30’s reveal in Germany follows this week’s local release of Hyundai’s all-new light-sized Accent sedan and hatch, which has an opening price of $16,990 plus on-road costs.

At the same time, the starting price of the i20 hatch launched here in July 2010 was reduced to $14,990 drive-away, making it Hyundai’s cheapest model in the absence of the discontinued Getz.

However, the new i30 is expected to be priced in line with the latest Elantra, which was introduced in July with a $20,590 starting price, undercutting the Mazda3 ($21,330), Corolla and Cruze (both $20,990).

1 center imageFrom top: Current i30, Accent hatch, Elantra, i20.

Sales of the current i30, the starting price of which slipped back under $20,000 in April with the release of an entry-level 1.6-litre SX variant ($19,590 plus on-road costs), are down 10.4 per cent in a small car segment that is 4.2 per cent down so far this year.

However, the i30 five-door hatch and wagon range remains Australia’s fourth most popular small car with a 12.9 per cent share of the segment, behind the Mazda3 sedan and hatch (18.4 per cent), the sedan-only Cruze (14.6 per cent) and the Corolla sedan and hatch (13.7 per cent).

“The next-generation i30 will play an important role in continuing the development of the Hyundai brand in Australia,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia director of marketing Oliver Mann.

“We launched the current i30 in late 2007 and since then the car has been recognised with numerous awards, including an Australia’s ‘Best Small Car’ award for three years running.” Unlike the current i30 hatch, which was launched here in October 2007 before the i30cw wagon joined it on sale in May 2009, the 2012 i30 is likely to be powered mainly by 1.8 rather than 2.0-litre engines, joining the Elantra and Corolla.

However, the new i30 could follow its predecessor by offering a smaller and cheaper 1.6-litre entry-level variant with Hyundai’s latest direct-injection Gamma GDi 1.6, which will debut here in December’s Veloster coupe and should also power the new Accent by the end of this year.

Diesel power should again be part of the next i30 range here, following the introduction later this year of Hyundai’s first diesel light-car, the Accent CRDi.

Expect the new i30’s petrol engines to be joined by a variation of the Accent’s 1.6-litre DOHC four-cylinder common-rail variable-geometry turbo-diesel, which produces 94kW at 4000rpm and 265Nm from 1900 to 2750rpm.

A German-designed five-door wagon version of the new i30 will also be forthcoming and is expected to join the hatch in brandishing a multi-link rear suspension system and a bigger and roomier body than the existing model, in order to put some space between it and the new Accent - as well as Hyundai’s next Indian-built i20.

Like all other Hyundai models sold here, Australia’s new i30 will continue to be built in Korea, where sales should commence by the end of this year.

The new i30 will be introduced early next year in Europe, where Hyundai expects it to help generate total sales of 500,000 by 2013. European i30 production will continue to take place in the Czech Republic, where annual capacity will eventually be expanded from 200,000 to 300,000 vehicles.

“We expect this next-generation i30 to play a significant role in developing our brand image in Europe and strengthen the vehicle’s position as our best-seller in Europe,” said Hyundai Motor Europe senior vice-president and COO Allan Rushforth.

“Since 2007, the name ‘i30’ has become synonymous with ‘quality’, ‘reliability’ and ‘low emissions’ in Europe, and we hope that, amongst others, the term ‘emotional appeal and style’ will be added to the list with the introduction of this dynamic new model.

“Under our brand slogan ‘New Thinking. New Possibilities’, our European team of designers have sculpted a car which truly looks at home on European roads thanks to its bold and confident appearance. We are very excited about revealing the car for the first time in Frankfurt next month.” Next year Hyundai is also expected to unveil a redesigned version of its Santa Fe medium SUV, a minor MY2012 facelift for which is due on sale here soon.

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