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Hyundai Australia drops i45 sedan

Discontinued: Hyundai expects that the last remaining stock of the i45 will be picked up by government and corporate buyers.

Tight global supply forces Hyundai to axe the i45 sedan from Australian range

22 Jan 2013

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia has axed the i45 mid-size sedan from its local range, as a result of limited supply and overwhelming demand from left-hand-drive markets such as the US.

Instead, HMCA will direct its focus in the medium-car segment to the smaller, pricier and more European-flavoured i40 sedan and wagon range that until now has been sold alongside the i45.

Australia became one of the few global right-hand-drive markets to take the Korean-built car – known as Sonata overseas – when it launched here in May 2010, with the large UK and Japan markets opting out.

HMCA initially offered the i40 only as a wagon from launch in late 2011, but when it introduced the sedan version mid-way through 2012, found itself with two sedans in the same segment – an approach that echoed Honda’s Accord/Accord Euro situation.

The Camry-rivalling i45 sedan range was priced between $26,990 plus on-road costs for the 2.0-litre four-cylinder Active variant and $37,490 for the flagship 2.4-litre Premium.

 center imageLeft: Hyundai i40 sedan.

The i40 line-up, in comparison, has a higher starting price of $29,990 for the 2.0-litre Active sedan, but unlike the i45 is available as both a diesel and a wagon (the latter kicking off at $31,990).

Sales of the i45 were down 25.3 per cent to 3640 units in 2012, a result HMCA said today was a result insufficient supply.

This figure placed it well behind the Honda Accord Euro, Mazda6, Ford Mondeo and Subaru Liberty.

“Demand is especially heavy in the Middle East and North America and those markets receive priority, while Australia has struggled to secure enough i45 volume to deliver to the car’s potential,” said HMCA in a statement.

HMCA public relations general manager Bill Thomas told GoAuto the i40 was a better fit for the local market, with a wider range of options and European origins as it was designed in Russelsheim, Germany.

“It is a different car altogether to the i45, designed for and very much aimed at a European market, and as a generalisation Australians prefer a European-type tune on a car,” said Mr Thomas.

Mr Thomas said supply for the i40 was superior to the i45 and that the company had scope to source even more from Korea should demand increase.

Hyundai sells more cars in Australia than it does in the UK, despite the latter market being almost twice the size overall, meaning HMCA has appreciable clout within the corporation to get adequate stock.

This is not the first time this year HMCA has had to counter a lack of supply on a popular model, with the company recently turning to its plant in the Czech Republic to bolster stock levels of the ix35 small SUV.

Local supplies of the outgoing i45, which will continue to be sold overseas, are now limited and Hyundai expects much of the remaining stock to be absorbed by the corporate and government sectors, where the car has proven popular.

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