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Hyundai i10 not a done deal

Other options: Hyundai Australia says the i10 city car might miss the boat.

Mini Hyundai i10 not an automatic selection for Australia, says HMCA

Hyundai logo15 Jul 2010

By IAN PORTER

THE much-anticipated Hyundai i10 light car is no certainty to come to Australia when the hugely successful Getz is retired in the first quarter of 2011.

There is an increasing likelihood that the second prong in Hyundai’s attack on the light car market may be a design that has not yet been revealed.

And it is almost certain this second light car will not be made in India, where the soon-to-debut i20 is made, but in Korea.

The i10 has been the subject of widespread speculation given the imminent demise of the Getz and the upstream pricing on the i20.

But Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) sprayed cold water on the idea, suggesting that other models, yet to be unveiled, are better candidates.

“There are a whole bunch of new models (we could choose from),” marketing director Oliver Mann said today (July 15).

“We are reviewing the business case for the i10, alongside the business cases of some other models.”

At the launch of the i20 earlier this week, sales director Damien Meredith said Hyundai probably had three options for a second light car, the i10, the Verna (Accent) and “another one that is coming to light now”.

1 center imageLeft: Hyundai i10.

Mr Mann confirmed that the i10 was not an automatic choice. Indeed, the company was weighing up whether any model could turn a buck for the company in that “transactional” sector of the market (where the transaction price is the sole determinant of whether a sale is made).

“If we are successful with the ix35, the i45 and the i20, then it will take some pressure off us to build a cheap and cheerful car,” Mr Mann said.

It was that “cheap and cheerful” image that was behind Hyundai’s success in the 1990s, when the Excel was the cheapest car on the market. Hyundai’s volumes reached almost 60,000 cars a year back then, a level only exceeded last year.

“I think we can maintain our momentum in a number of different ways. They might include expanding our presence in the light car sector, they might include other solutions.

“With i20 and i10 – and Getz for that matter – what we do know is that Australia is about the lowest priced market in the world within the light car segment.

“Consumers have it very good here and it’s a struggle for any brand to be competitive and make money in that segment.”

He suggested that Hyundai might look up-market for new opportunities. There might be smaller volumes, but the margins would be greater.

“In part, the Hyundai brand is developing to the point where we can sell $40,000 and $50,000 motor cars in significant volumes, which we certainly were not able to do three or five years ago. That really opens up the game for us.

“It means potentially we can achieve volume growth without always resorting to the segment that delivers the lowest return on investment.”

As reported by GoAuto, Hyundai is readying a number of new models for release in 2011.

These include the i35 (Elantra), the i25 (Verna/Accent), the i15 Veloster coupe, the i40 mid-size five-door, and two versions of the i45, a hybrid and a turbo coupe.

“There are more model lines available to us than we can sensibly import,” Mr Mann said.

“Our objectives as a corporation are to sell volume and make money, and we sell as much volume as we can and make as money as we can in doing it.

“A light car isn’t always the best option in doing that.”

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