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Cheaper Hyundai i20 here

Re-alignment: The Elite variant is now the flagship of the i20 range following Hyundai's decision to axe the Premium specification.

i20 from $14,990 drive-away, 1.6 dropped as post-Getz Hyundai makes room for Accent

10 Aug 2011

HYUNDAI has rationalised its light-car line-up with around $2000 lopped off the base model i20 as it tries to fill the void left by the departing Getz.

Now priced from $14,990 drive-away instead of $15,490 before statutory and dealer charges, the Indian-made i20 hatchback range will now comprise only the 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, available in Active three-door, Active five-door and Elite five-door guises.

As the i20 Elite used to be a 1.6, Hyundai has also lopped $1000 off the price to reflect the smaller-capacity engine switch, moving it down to $17,490 plus on-roads while consigning the i20 Premium range-topper to history.

Opting for the four-speed automatic over the standard five-speed manual adds $2000 to the equation.

But the Korean company’s long-running two-pronged light-car attack continues unabated despite the Getz’s death with the release this month of the all-new RB-series Accent hatch and sedan range now taking the place of the 1.6-litre i20s, minimising the overlap of model variations within the Hyundai family.

According to Hyundai Motor Company Australia senior product planning manager Roland Rivero, the $14,990 drive-away pricing for the base i20 is “a campaign price” designed to give the company some presence in the lower end of the light-car segment, while the decision to half the number of i20s offered in Australia was to give the new Accent more breathing space.

1 center imageLeft: i20 Active. Below: i20 Premium interior and Elite rear action shot.

“With the Getz gone we are trying to retain some of those buyers with the campaign pricing,” he said. “And with the campaign price we should be able to.

“We also wanted to give the Accent a better chance… so there was no point in continuing with the 1.6-litre i20 models.”

While more i20 price cuts may come as the existing PB series launched in the middle of 2010 moves through its lifecycle, Mr Rivero believes it is unlikely that the base Active will drop to the sub-$13,000 end of the class like its Getz predecessor, due to strong overseas demand causing limited supplies – a problem that will continue to limit the i20’s potential in Australia for the foreseeable future.

“With production capacity in India pegged at 475,000 annually, and with around 400,000 of those intended for the Indian domestic market, that leaves just 75,000 for the rest of the world,” he said.

“So that’s why there is no point going to $12,990 drive-away for the i20, because all we will end up with is a three-month back order and a lot of waiting angry customers.”

The i20 has averaged less than 500 sales per month so far in 2011, a far cry from the 1593 monthly average the Getz has managed to the end of July. Hyundai insists this has everything to do with getting the appropriate number of vehicles to Australia.

Citing the lack of supply consistency out of India as “one of his biggest headaches at the moment”, Mr Rivero added that the decision to import the Accent was a no-brainer since this model suffers no such issues due to its South Korean sourcing.

“That’s why I will always put my hand up for the non-‘i’ cars like the Accent and Elantra – I know that I will always have better supply than I do with some of the others,” he said.

Mr Rivero admitted that a cheaper Accent 1.4-litre model has undergone Australian Design Rule homologation and is waiting in the wings to step in as Hyundai’s entry-level vehicle should the unforeseeable happen to the i20.

“You have to take every precaution in this business,” he said. “We have no plans to release the Accent with the 1.4 but if we need to for some reason then we will be ready.”

As GoAuto has reported, the i20 could easily also be made available here with a 1.6-litre diesel engine, joining the larger i30 and – by year’s end - Accent in Hyundai’s growing compact diesel model range.

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