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Hyundai Creta hits a roadblock

Not for us: The Creta will not be sold in Australia, meaning Hyundai has to wait years for a suitable compact SUV option.

Sub five-star safety means Oz must wait for Hyundai's next-gen compact SUV


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29 Jun 2015

HYUNDAI will not offer the recently unveiled Creta compact SUV in Australia, despite it possessing the design and packaging to make the crossover a potential success in this country.

Revealed this week in Chennai, India, where it is also manufactured, the Creta is the right-hand drive variation of the Chinese-market ix25 announced last year, which the Australian arm has already rejected on the grounds that it has not been engineered to meet the European NCAP five-star crash-safety rating system.

This, along with various mechanical and specification anomalies, means that the Creta/ix25 will also remain out of reach for a number of mature markets, including Western Europe and the United States.

In India it is priced from about $A17,000, underlining the need for the South Korean brand to keep costs low.

Hyundai will be left without a compact SUV alternative to the popular Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, and Holden Trax when the five-year old ix35 is replaced by the larger, third-generation Tucson in August.

As GoAuto reported in April, Hyundai Motor Company Australia chief operating officer John Elsworth revealed that the car-maker’s next suitable compact SUV may take up to three years to reach showrooms.

“We’d love a small SUV but we don’t have one,” he said. “And we won’t have one for a number of years – two to three years at least.

“Originally the ix25 was launched in China as left-hand drive only. It is also built in India in right-hand drive, but it does not meet our local baseline safety requirements.” The Intrado concept from the 2014 Geneva motor show is the most realistic pointer to what Hyundai’s next global compact SUV will look like, with one company source suggesting that it will feature a coupe-like silhouette in the vein of the Nissan Juke – one of this decade’s biggest success stories in many markets, although not Australia.

With year-to-date sales in the sub-$40,000 compact-SUV class up by 25.6 per cent compared with the same period in 2014, the lack of a contender in the hot segment could not come at a worse time for Hyundai.

The current best-seller, the ix35 so far accounts for one-in-five units sold (7620 sales), followed by the equally vintage Mitsubishi ASX (4626) and the much newer Nissan Qashqai (4345).

However, this order is likely to change as Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V stocks improve over the next few months.

The Juke, in contrast, has found 1132 homes to date this year.

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