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Hyundai Oz drives SR’s global potential

Local content: Hyundai Australia developed the i30 SR concept car that is currently on display at the Sydney motor show to gauge the potential for global release.

International future on the cards for Hyundai Australia’s sporty SR sub-brand

Hyundai logo19 Oct 2012

HYUNDAI Motor Company is set to use the Australian market as a test bed for its locally devised SR sporty sub-brand with an eye to rolling it out globally.

Encouraged by the initial success of the Veloster SR Turbo launched here in August, the local subsidiary will closely gauge public reaction to the new Accent SR and i30 SR concepts displayed on its Australian International Motor Show stand in Sydney this week.

If show-goers and critics react positively to the prototypes, and the business case adds up and is completed in time, expect to see SR-badged Hyundais in showrooms by the middle of next year.

Furthermore, while it is unlikely that every passenger car and SUV/crossover will receive the same sporty treatment, HMCA envisages the sub-brand to become a model mainstay in most of its future light and small-car ranges.

GoAuto understands that, while the Accent SR is essentially an options box-ticking exercise, with most of the upgrades already available internationally, the i30 SR requires additional engineering and validation work, since its drivetrain and chassis upgrades go further.

Outputs for the i30 SR Concept’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine jump considerably – from 105kW of power to 130kW, and 186Nm of torque to 213Nm and the car also features retuned steering, revised suspension, larger wheels and a body kit.

 center imageLeft: Hyundai Accent SR Veloster SR Turbo

The Accent’s 1.6-litre unit delivers 103kW (up from 91kW) and 167Nm (up from 156Nm) and it features additional sporty bodywork and interior upgrades.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia marketing director Oliver Mann said the SR concepts in Sydney are the result of an Australian company-driven initiative to broaden the brand’s appeal, particularly to younger buyers.

“We’re not in a position to announce timing today, as we’re yet to complete the business case, but we’re optimistic it will come hopefully in the first half of next year,” he said.

“The vehicles (at the Sydney show) are not definitive production models and are concepts.

“We’ve been really encouraged by the success of Veloster (SR Turbo) and the way the market has accepted the vehicle and the reception it has been given, and we’ve had a lot of interest in that sort of character being introduced into both the i30 and Accent.

“It is something we’ve been exploring for a while, and we’ve mentioned it at a couple of previous press conferences, and now this is the result.

“The SR sub-brand is something that HMCA has created it’s not a global program at all. If we were successful – and the early days of the Veloster SR suggests we might be – I think Hyundai would continue to advance in this direction.

“From a marketing prospective (HMCA) is leading the charge in presenting what is certainly a more dynamic aspect of the brand, and obviously we’re a fully-owned subsidiary of the company.

“Our success with the vehicle would certainly strengthen the case for there being globally more sporting Hyundais in the future, for sure.

“Accent and i30 are the only two we’ve looked at. These are the segments where there is the greatest market potential.

“If you look at the precedence in the market, there really isn’t one (beyond light and small for SR). SR isn’t an out-and-out performance car. It isn’t like a GTI. It is a sporty rather than sporting sub-brand.

“We’ve also said that we want to bring cars in that will deliver us that sporty (feel), so it’s not just about styling, it’s about dynamics as well – enhanced performance from the engine and enhanced dynamic capability in ride and handling.

“Where we can deliver that, then we’re very keen to explore where there’s a market, (but) outside of these segments there are very limited opportunities.”

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