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Hyundai asked to tweak i45
Aussie importer sends SOS to head office to sharpen steering, ride of Hyundai i45
19 Jul 2010
By IAN PORTER
HYUNDAI Motors Co Australia (HMCA) has asked the company’s head office to make running changes to the steering and ride of the company’s i45 sedan, only weeks after the impressive-looking newcomer was released.
The request was prompted by criticism from some motoring journalists, and has been passed on to head office despite the strong positive feedback from i45 owners.
HMCA chief executive Edward Lee has been quoted as saying that changes could be made within three months, although GoAuto believes no decision has been made to make alterations.
Mr Lee said Hyundai had done some back to back testing with i45 rivals. The mid-sized sedan competes models including the Mazda6, the VW Jetta and Suzuki Kizashi.
He said HMCA engineers had sided with journalists on their critique if the i45’s set-up.
HMCA senior manager of public relations Ben Hershman said the company was looking at the issue closely.
“There is nothing approved or signed off and there is no date for any changes that may happen,” he said.
Left: HMCA chief executive Edward Lee.
Mr Lee indicated that HMCA had sent a technical team to Korea to discuss options for improving steering feel and driving quality with the research and development centre.
It is believed he has also invited senior Korean engineers to Australia to do more evaluation of the i45 in local conditions.
Mr Hershman said HMCA had a “great relationship” with Korea and that Australia was seen as a key market for the group.
“The i30 was the first opportunity we had to have some involvement with the suspension and the steering (electric powered) for the Australian market, in the same way that i20 has had changes to its front springs and dampers,” he said.
Mr Hershman was not able to say how much input Australia had had during the development of the i45, as he had moved from product planning by the time that model was being brought to market.
Hyundai did do some testing of the i45 in Australia, however.
Mr Lee told one outlet that HMCA had been instrumental in having a right-hand drive engineering group set up in Hyundai’s research and development department.
He said Australia would play a larger role in development, thanks in part to the high priority head office placed on HMCA and the Australian market.
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