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Hyundai Accent confirmed as i20 dies in Oz
Pricing and sourcing issues kill Euro-centric Hyundai i20 light car, i10 micro
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27 Jul 2015
HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has finally confirmed the death of the i20 light car line-up Down Under, putting to an end the all-new second-generation hatchback version built in Europe, due to unfavourable exchange rates and sourcing issues.
There is more bad news, with the i10 micro car also stalling before it has hit the starting line for the same reasons as its larger sibling, leaving the ageing Accent hatch and sedan as the company’s sole light-car offering.
To help fill the gap, the Accent will receive a $2000 price cut and a 200cc smaller base engine from next month, meaning that the entry-level 1.4-litre Active is now the cheapest new Hyundai at $14,990 plus on-road costs.
The latter replaces the old 1.6-litre Active from $16,990 plus on-roads, while the sporty SR flagship with a more powerful 1.6 GDI direct-injection unit – which previously kicked off from $18,990 – is now available from $16,990 for the manual.
The Accent Active 1.4 also sees the advent of a continuously variable transmission (CVT), consigning the old four-speed automatic transmission in the base vehicle to history. The range now tops off with the Accent SR 1.6 GDI six-speed automatic from $18,990.
HMCA chief operating officer John Elsworth confirmed the demise of the i20 at the Tucson SUV launch this week.
“August will see the final deliveries of the current-generation i20,” he said.
“We had two potential replacements that we were evaluating – they are the new-generation i20 and the i10… and I can confirm today that they will not be coming to Australia.
“We simply have not been able to come to an acceptable commercial arrangement with our European counterparts, due to two factors – firstly the exchange rate and secondly the logistics cost of getting those vehicles out to Australia.
“Both of those issues simply have made it not economically viable, and we have chosen to make the Accent sedan and hatch the only entrant in the light-car segment.”
Mr Elsworth added that special deals should help keep Accent sales strong.
Discounted $14,990 driveaway pricing for the outgoing Active 1.6 MPI saw it become more popular than in any time since the current RB version’s launch in 2011.
“With a price rollback of $2000… we have confidence that the Accent will go a long way to replacing the i20,” he revealed.
“We’ll do our best to make up the volume… I can tell you now. In June, for the first time with Accent, we had a bit of a push with dealers, and we broke our own records in the three-year history of this car. We’ve got real upside with Accent in this segment. It’s a very price sensitive segment, and if you’re not there with the right price, you do forgo lots of volume.
“We think we’re thereabouts with the price, we’ll probably keep tweaking the price as we go, see where that sweet spot is, and when we get it, we’ll sell lots of cars.”
Even with the final stocks of the outgoing i20 arriving in August, it has remained a popular vehicle in Australia, sitting at number three for the first six months of 2015 in its segment with 6496 registrations. Only the Mazda2 (7692) and Toyota Yaris (7567) have outsold it.
The current Accent’s all-new replacement will not be available until 2017 at the earliest.
Back in April this year, Mr Elsworth hinted at the uphill battle HMCA was facing bringing in the new-generation i20 to Australia.
“The reality is, we are currently dealing with the Indian plant, European plant, Hyundai Motor Company in South Korea… and it is getting to the point with the low Australian currency that there is no more room for us to move,” he said at the time.
The i20 was launched in Australia in June 2010, and received a facelift in mid-2012. Last year it was this country’s best-selling light car, with 14,797 units registered.
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