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Future models - Hyundai - Intrado

Geneva show: Hyundai previews ix25 with Intrado

Crossing over: Hyundai’s Intrado points to a future compact crossover that would sit under the ix35 in the company’s line-up.

Hyundai Intrado concept points to ix25, but its hydrogen fuel-cell tech a while off

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Hyundai logo5 Mar 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

HYUNDAI’S sharply designed Intrado concept gives a glimpse at the Korean car-maker’s new entry-level crossover that should surface in production guise within a year.

The aggressively styled sub-compact SUV concept debuted at this week’s Geneva motor show previewing the company’s hydrogen fuel-cell technology and the next iteration of the company’s ‘fluidic sculpture 2.0’ design language.

Speaking on the Hyundai stand at the unveiling of the Intrado, Hyundai Motor Europe senior vice president and chief operating officer Allan Rushforth said the concept does not preview the next-generation ix35 as some reports had suggested, instead pointing to something more compact.

“It’s a smaller vehicle than an ix35, more a B-segment crossover which gives us opportunity to extend SUV competence into smaller vehicles, specifically smaller, lower CO2-emitting vehicles with the European market in mind.”

When asked if the new model would take the ix25 moniker, Mr Rushforth said it was a distinct possibility. “If you were to speculate, I suppose yes,” he said.

The Intrado was penned under the leadership of new president and chief design officer Peter Schreyer who has these new responsibilities alongside his role as head of design for Kia.

Mr Rushforth said the timing was right for Hyundai to enter the small end of the SUV market given the segment’s booming sales in Europe and in other global markets.

“In Europe the SUV crossover segment is showing the greatest potential.

Absolutely, it would be an important part of the brand’s development towards five per cent market share in Europe. We are only 3.4 at the moment and we need to move forward and we need to do that organically.”

The design of the Intrado features a low-slung stance and styling cues that hint at a sporty crossover in the vein of the forthcoming BMW X4, but Mr Rushforth ruled out breaking into niche segments like its European counterparts, for the time being at least.

“I think that in the longer term perhaps, but right now, in Europe, we are concentrating on filling some of the big gaps in our range simply in order to reach our full potential.

“I think optimising our margins and improving our brand positioning would come from filling the niches but we have got a big test just to populate the range with the cars that European consumers want right now. There’s lots of opportunity here an now in more conventional vehicles, but yes over the medium term.”

Hyundai is using the hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain that sits under the bonnet of the ix35 to power the Intrado, generating electricity and emitting water, with the Korean car-maker claiming a range in excess of 600km.

Mr Rushforth said a wider roll-out of the environmentally friendly technology is still a while off as there is simply not enough infrastructure to support it.

“We can move as quickly as the market would allow us on the basis that the infrastructure is available to refuel, and at the moment there is not the infrastructure. Europe will be one of the two centres for the development of hydrogen fuel-cell and there is a lot of EU focus on developing it as one alternative fuel for the future but it is entirely infrastructure dependant.

“Having said that, the cars drive, refuel and ride just like any other car.

There is lots of usability, the range is there - Intrado has a range over 600km - everything is there for the technology to take off except for the refuelling,” he said.

Mr Rushforth said Hyundai is working with other hydrogen fuel-cell producing car-makers to push for better infrastructure to support it.

“What we are doing is working very closely with Toyota, Daimler and Honda, all of whom have some capability with hydrogen fuel-cell technology. We are the most developed, we are the only brand that’s got cars available for sale right now, but nonetheless yes, we are happy to work alongside other manufacturers to get this mass produced in Europe.”

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