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Euro sourcing to up Hyundai i30 hatch prices

Hyundai’s switch to Czech sourcing for i30 hatchback will cause prices to rise

19 Feb 2024

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) is expected to pare back the i30 hatch range as part of a move to European sourcing, following the South Korean brand’s decision to shutter the model’s production line in its home country.


The last car rolled off the Ulsan line in December 2023, with supply of cars expected to run out in April or May, according to HMCA staff, leaving a gap of several months between the existing version, and the updated model that will be sourced from Nošovice in the Czech Republic.


Hyundai has previously confirmed that the new hatchback model will be offered with a mild-hybrid powertrain, likely the 1.5T GDi four-cylinder with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, which will likely be offered solely with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. 


Speaking with GoAuto at a recent launch event for hybrid and N variants of Hyundai’s updated i30 sedan, HMCA product planning and development manager Tim Rodgers said the fact that fresh i30 hatchbacks will not arrive in Australia until later this year is something the brand has to adapt to.


“There is no delay as such, but European sourcing does take a bit longer with shipping lines and such. So there’s a bit of a gap in terms of the end of Korean production and the start of European production,” Mr Rogers explained.


“How will the strategy roll out in terms of the model line-up? We have a good idea but we’re not quite ready to confirm the full details just yet,” he said.


There are added costs and complexities to sourcing out of Europe – it is part of the reason Australia lacks affordable Hyundai models like the i10 or non-N i20 variants – and that could lead to a higher price point for the updated i30 line.


Indeed, rumours have suggested the company could simply roll out i30 Premium and N Line versions only, consigning sub-$30K models to the annals of history. Mr Rogers said the company is not ready to confirm any such plans.


“Yes, there is that opportunity to take it to a more premium level. But we know the i30 as a nameplate is synonymous with every kind of buyer, that we don’t (to alienate those in the market for a more affordable small car),” he said.


“That’s the strategy with the (i30) sedan as well; we want to really cover all the bases, including with the hybrid.


“We have been umming and ahhing about the strategy (for the i30 hatch). There is an opportunity, but how it will play out is still to be confirmed.”


The switch to Czech sourcing also potentially opens the doors to an expanded range of body styles, with the hatchback being one of three different takes on the i30 theme built out of the eastern European production facility. 


Other body choices include the Fastback model, as was previously offered as an i30 N, and a more practical wagon variant, with a huge 602 litres of cargo capacity and the added functionality of roof rails for further family-friendly add-ons.


Sadly, though, Hyundai Australia seemingly seems to have no intention of putting the i30 wagon back on the shopping list of its local customers, citing a swing away from the lower-riding practical models to higher-riding SUVs.


“There’s not much appetite in the market,” said Mr Rodgers. “You or I would go and buy one straight away. If product planners had their way, every car would be a rear-wheel drive wagon with a manual gearbox and amazing colours.


“It’s a complex question, and I think, if I may relate by looking at our other studies with other wagons we have in our broader portfolio, the appetite is for SUVs – we have seen that the SUV market has completely gobbled up that wagon market. So it’s unlikely you’ll see a wagon.


“There are other complexities as well, and we were just talking about ANCAP. That’s something we have to consider as well,” said Mr Rogers, despite the fact the i30 wagon range has a five-star ANCAP rating from 2018 (expiring in December 2024). The wagon was sold in New Zealand from 2018, but is no longer offered.


The Hyundai i30 hatchback range as it currently stands starts from just $24,000 before on-road costs for the entry-level i30 manual model, with the Active auto grade listing at $27,500 + ORC, and the Elite tipping over the $30K mark, at $30,800 + ORC.


Full details of the updated model range are expected to be outlined in the coming months, prior to an expected arrival around June or July.


Rival small car ranges are also shrinking. Volkswagen has trimmed its Golf line-up, including axing the wagon variants, in the last six months, while Mazda also recently trimmed down its model range for the Mazda3 hatchback and sedan.

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