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Hyundai Accent gets final tweak this month

Heavily accented: Hyundai’s fifth-generation Accent light car has been revealed in Canada, but the all-new sedan is far from a shoe in for the Australian market.

Long wait predicted for new Accent as Hyundai tweaks range again


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4 May 2017

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) might not gain access to a new Accent until as late as 2019 as it awaits a hatchback version of the Mexican-built light car that has so far only been revealed in sedan guise.

However, in the interim, the Korean car-maker has established a plan to refresh the ageing model that arrived in Australia in 2011.

Speaking with GoAuto at the national media launch of the i30 in southern New South Wales this week, HMCA chief operating officer Scott Grant revealed that the company will this month drop the steel wheel-equipped Accent Active 1.4-litre model for a 1.6-litre replacement featuring standard alloy wheels.

“The current Accent is being updated this month, it’s picking up alloy wheels and a new powertrain and cruise control and a couple of other elements,” he said.

“It’s moving up to 1.6-litre across the board and (there are) some spec changes.”

It is unclear whether the Active nameplate or $14,990 plus on-road pricetag will be retained.

Currently only the Accent SR uses a 103kW/167Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder from $16,990 – but it is not the volume seller within a model range that, according to VFACTS April year-to-date figures, has become the top-selling light car with 4996 sales leading the Mazda2 (3967) and Toyota Yaris (3729).

“We’re still tweaking the current car to keep it fresh and meet the requirements in that sense,” Mr Grant added.

“It’s still going okay for us.”

However, Mr Grant was equivocal about the prospects of the all-new Accent, which would be the fourth generation of the nameplate to make it to Australia since the light hatchback (and formerly sedan) range replaced the Excel in 2000.

“There’s a new Accent at the end of the year that has been confirmed in some markets,” he continued.

“My understanding is new Accent is leading off with left-hand drive in sedan, built in Mexico. Our position hasn’t been finalised right now as to whether we’ll pick up the new Accent but produced from where (and) it’s got to have the appropriate safety and tech features for this country.

“So for us there are still some outstanding issues there.”

Asked whether the eventual Australian-delivered Accent will be a derivation of the sedan revealed in February this year at the Canadian international auto show in Toronto, Mr Grant replied: “I believe so but I’m not 100 per cent sure because it hasn’t been finalised for our market.

“Part of our global planning strategy for product development is to have obviously a central core concept and development approach,” he added.

“But then there are lead markets depending on where it’s going to be manufactured and whether it’s European-style, North American or whatever.

“I’m not sure when we’re going to get it (new Accent), it may be a later launch, the middle of next year or the year after. For the foreseeable future we know what we have with the current Accent and it will continue through this year.

“We’re negotiating and in discussion now as to what the next period of time looks like, and what product we go with.”

Hyundai’s global decisions for light-car manufacturing have already affected its Australian arm, with the formerly top-selling i20 shifting from Indian build in its last generation to Turkish build for advanced markets in its latest generation that launched globally in 2014.

The brand claims that European manufacture was too expensive for the price-sensitive light-car market, despite admitting that buyer preferences in Australia are more aligned with Euro tastes than the Asian market-focused Accent.

The current Hyundai Accent, which launched locally in 2010, continues to be produced in South Korea.

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