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Hyundai Australia eyes another record

Given the boot: A sedan version of the i40 will join its wagon sibling in Hyundai Australia’s range around mid-year.

Four new models still to come this year as Hyundai Australia continues sales charge

Hyundai logo31 May 2012

By MIKE COSTELLO

UPDATED: 19/06/2012HYUNDAI Motor Co Australia shows no sign of slowing down its rush of new models in the wake of the newly released i30 as it gears up for record-breaking sales in 2012.

The company will add four new or facelifted models to its range before the year is out as it chases a target of 93,000 sales, which would be an increase of 6.8 per cent over last year’s record.

First up in a matter of weeks will be an upgraded version of the i20 light hatch, followed almost immediately by the mid-size i40 sedan around mid-year, the Veloster Turbo sportscar in the third quarter and the all-new Santa Fe SUV around the last quarter.

Up until last month, the company was well on track with a growth rate of 6.5 per cent to the end of May, leapfrogging Ford to sit fourth on the sales charts.

The Korean brand slipped 7.5 per cent in May to be now 3.5 per cent ahead of last year, although it remains fourth overall – with 35,634 new registrations – in the Australian market.

The continued growth comes courtesy of key models like the current i20 and Elantra, plus a strong start for the new non-turbo variant of the Veloster Coupe.

The quirky sportscar is easily the biggest seller in its segment this year, despite having only gone on sale in mid-February, racking up 1409 sales to the end of May.

 center imageFrom top: Upcoming Hyundai i20, Veloster Turbo and Santa Fe Current model Elantra and i30.

The performance of these models makes up for the loss of the now-defunct Getz light car, which contributed 11,499 sales to Hyundai’s 2011 tally.

Hyundai Australia also projects its new i30 will outsell the old model by around 100 units per month, despite discontinuing the popular wagon variant due to supply issues.

The Korean company still trails Mazda (42,540) as the nation’s leading full-line importer, as well as Toyota (84,386) and Holden (45,551), while Nissan Australia (31,549) remains determined to come from behind and take the number-one importer tag.

However, HMCA director of marketing Oliver Mann said the company was “not out there targeting any specific brand or customer base”.

As GoAuto has reported, the revised i20 picks up the corporate hexagonal grille and more sharply defined headlights, revised front and rear bumpers, sculpted bonnet and new wheel trims.

The headline act is a 55kW 1.1-litre three-cylinder diesel engine that, with the help of Hyundai’s ‘BlueDrive’ technologies, emits just 84g/km of CO2, although Hyundai Australia has not confirmed whether this engine will join the existing 73kW 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine offered here.

The new i40 sedan variant, meanwhile, will be offered initially with only the 100kW/320Nm 1.7-litre diesel from the i40 Tourer, although the 130kW/213Nm 2.0-litre GDI petrol could join the range further down the line.

The sedan will be sold alongside the slightly larger i45 sedan, giving Hyundai a two-pronged presence in the medium segment.

Mr Mann said the i40 sedan will be introduced to counter the lack of diesel availability on the i45 and will be “positioned relative to the Touring”, suggesting a slightly cheaper starting price than the $34,490 Active diesel wagon variant.

The Veloster Turbo will be powered by the company’s all-new 1.6-litre GDI turbocharged engine, producing a Golf GTI-rivalling 155kW of power and 265Nm of torque, propelling the coupe from zero to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds.

The engine will be matched to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a conventional six-speed automatic that replaces the DCT dual-clutch unit from the naturally aspirated model due to the Turbo’s higher torque.

HMCA senior manager of PR and Events Ben Hershman told GoAuto the company was “striving” to get the Veloster Turbo here for under $35,000 – $5490 less than the Golf GTI five-door.

The third-generation Santa Fe debuted globally at the New York show in April and will arrive here in both five-seat and seven-seat forms late in the third quarter or early in the fourth.

The new-look medium SUV is likely to continue here in both front- and all-wheel-drive configuration, with power likely to come from a carryover 2.2-litre CRDi turbo-diesel and possibly a turbocharged 197kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol.

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