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Hyundai prepares for upmarket i30 future

Out with the old: The current-generation i30 has benefited from strong retail offers, but the new car will take a different, more upmarket path.

As i30 goes upmarket, Hyundai prepares to move away from price-point marketing

Hyundai logo14 Oct 2016

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) is preparing for the arrival of its new i30 in 2017 by weaning itself off a strategy of price-point volume sales that have seen registrations of the current model rise drastically.

The third-generation i30 was unveiled ahead of the recent Paris motor show, revealing a more sophisticated, better-equipped vehicle that will move the car closer to its chief rivals from both Japan and Europe.

HMCA director of marketing Oliver Mann told GoAuto that the rundown of current stocks would not necessarily see a return to the strategy that offered the small hatch at a sub-$20,000 retail price.

“We’re absolutely open with the current cars in runout, and the pricing of the vehicle reflects that,” Mr Mann said. “The new vehicle will be launched as a leader in terms of product capability and product quality, so the two will be different in that respect.

“We will be restricting the terms of the supply that we get increasingly as we get towards the arrival of the new model. I think if there were some aggressive price points taken in the first part of the year that was in response to some specific targets we wanted to achieve.

“I think the rollout itself will be certainly orderly from here.”

The new generation vehicle is due to land in Australia from the second quarter of 2017, and the company is just beginning the process of ‘workshopping’ the car with potential customers via focus groups.

Mr Mann said that HMCA is yet to finalise the specs and prices for the new car, which will likely be offered locally with the same 1.6-litre direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder engine that recently debuted in the Elantra SR Turbo, as well as the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine currently offered in the car.

“We haven’t finalised obviously the specification of the new range,” he said.

“We haven't finalised the drivetrain offering, and therefore how we build the model range and how it will be priced.”

The current i30 has helped to move HMCA away from its humble beginnings as the purveyor of cheap and cheerful transport, and Mr Mann said that the new i30 would continue that trend.

“I think the current i30 has taken us smack into the mainstream and it's performed exceptionally well in various points in its life,” he said. “It’s been the leader in its segment or very close to it.

“In generalised terms, Hyundai has expressed a brand mission of becoming the world’s most loved automotive brand, which might sound odd, but fundamentally, it’s built on the highest levels of customer satisfaction and retention. Part of the experience is product related and the new i30 will unquestionably continue on the journey that Hyundai’s been on in making ever more refined and capable and safe vehicles.”

Mr Mann conceded that the challenge of changing perceptions is never an easy task, but pointed to Hyundai’s track record of ever-improving models as the driver of image change.

“Look, I think that’s the challenge in any business,” he said. “We’ll stand by the product, and in the past with Hyundai, the product has been the driver of Hyundai’s change of image, and I’m sure that will continue to be the case. I think the i30 delivers to Hyundai’s vision of modern premium, which again is another of Hyundai catchcries.

“The goal is to make premium level vehicle capability and quality available to the mass market. I think the i30 really delivers to that.”

He refused to be drawn on the fate of the oldest vehicle in Hyundai’s local roster, the Accent light car, which will be six years old when the new i30 arrives.

“(It will remain) as the entry passenger car,” he said. “The Accent will continue for the foreseeable future. My bland answer to you would be that every product has a lifecycle and in due course, Accent will be replaced.”

The European-made i20, meanwhile, is still not a viable addition to the roster to replace the Accent due to unfavourable currency and freight costs, according to Mr Mann.

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