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Hyundai readies i20

Ready to be hatched: The official paperwork for Hyundai's i20 has been submitted for Australian release.

All-new i20 light-car from Hyundai set to go, pending a solid business case

29 Jun 2009

HYUNDAI has gained Australian Design Rule certification for up to six versions of its i20 hatchback, including both petrol and diesel and three-door and five-door versions of the South Korean giant’s all-new Indian-built light-car.

Despite being due on sale here as early as mid-2009, however, Hyundai continues to develop a business case for the model that could eventually replace the brand’s cheapest and most popular model, the Getz, as well as the Accent – a facelifted version of which may not be sold in Australia.

The long-serving three and five-door Getz hatch range opens from $13,990 and is on the verge of out-selling Toyota’s long-time light-car star, the Yaris, whose segment share has dropped to 17 per cent while the Getz’s has grown to 15.6 to May this year.

Meantime, just 52 Accents have been sold so far in 2009, accounting for just 0.1 per cent of the light-car market, despite a three-door and sedan line-up starting from $15,490. Hyundai Australia said the Accent’s local future was under review, following the release of an updated model in Korea this month.

The i20 debuted globally in Paris last October and made its Australian premiere in Melbourne in February. It is based on an all-new platform designed specifically to slot in between the all-new i10 micro-hatch, which is on schedule for a 2010 release here, and the small-segment i30 five-door and wagon, which has proven almost as successful as the Getz in Australia this year.

1 center imageDesigned at Russelsheim in Germany, the i20 is sold alongside the Getz only in India, the UK and Australia, but replaced it in every other market globally. If sold here, it would be the nation’s second Indian-built model after Suzuki’s all-new Alto, which arrives in August.

However, Hyundai now says currency exchange rates and transportation considerations continue to be subjects of discussion with head office in Seoul.

“We would still like to launch it (the i20) and it is still part of the plan,” Hyundai Australia spokesman Ben Hershman told GoAuto.

“There are some currency fluctuations that we are watching at the moment. We are also looking at determining the shipping arrangements to make sure that the car can compete against other products in that class. We need to make sure we have a solid business case,” he said.

GoAuto has learned that pending those issues, the PB-series i20, which is related to sister company Kia’s new Soul and also scored a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating, is now ready for Australian roads with three engines in both (identically-sized, five-seater) three and five-door body styles.

Mirroring the 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engine line-up for the Getz, which arrived here in 2005 and is virtually the same size as the i20 at 3940mm long, 1710mm wide and 1490mm high (on a 2525mm wheelbase), are the base 1.4 GSL’s 73kW four-cylinder and the mid-range 1.6 GSL’s 91kW engine.

But the 1.4 DSL’s 66kW 1.4-litre turbo-diesel engine is one size smaller than the i30’s 1.6 CRDi engine and, if sold here, would be the first diesel-powered light-car to be sold in Australia by the world’s fifth-largest auto-maker.

All models would likely come standard with ABS anti-lock brakes, twin front airbags, air-conditioning, power windows/mirrors, remote central locking, CD audio and 14x5.5-inch wheels with 175/55-section tyres.

Options should include electronic stability control, side and curtain airbags, cruise control, a sunroof, foglights and 15 and 16-inch alloy wheels.

All models also have an unbraked towing capacity of 450kg, but while the 1085kg 1.4 GSL manual can tow a 1000kg braked trailer (800kg as a four-speed auto), the 1.6 GSL and manual-only 1.4 DSL can tow up to 1100kg braked (900kg for the 1.6 GSL auto).

Read more:

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Hyundai chases sales, share momentum

Hyundai shines its i20 light at Paris

Hyundai shines its i20 light at Paris

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