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Hyundai to spring i45 at Brisbane

Colt 45: Hyundai will showcase its new mid-sized i45 at the Brisbane motor show, helping to put the Queensland event back on the motor industry map.

Coup for Brisbane motor show as Hyundai pulls out the stops with major model debut

Hyundai logo1 Apr 2010

HYUNDAI has broken ranks with other major motor companies in Australia by signing up for a company-funded stand at the new-look Brisbane motor show in June to showcase two of the most anticipated new cars of 2010 – the Sonata-replacing i45 and i20 light car.

The fast-growing Korean importer will also use the show to ramp up interest in its new ix35 compact SUV on one of the biggest stands at the show.

Most car-makers and importers decided at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 to throw their collective weight behind just one motor show a year – the new-look Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) that now alternates between Melbourne and Sydney.

But Hyundai and a handful of smaller importers, including Land Rover, Isuzu, Peugeot, SsangYong, Proton and Lotus have added the born-again Brisbane show to their head office-funded expo activities.

Most big-league players, such as Holden and Ford, will have a scaled down presence at Brisbane’s The Motor Show, mainly courtesy of their Queensland dealer groups, some with a bit of zone office assistance.

Mazda will be among the no-shows as it sticks to its one-show-a-year policy. Several prestige importers such as BMW have yet to commit.

 center imageFrom top: i40, ix35, i20 and the Brisbane motor show logo.

Hyundai Motor Co Australia marketing director Oliver Mann told GoAuto that the Brisbane show was a good opportunity to show a number of new models.

He said Hyundai was not fazed by the decision of other major brands to ignore Brisbane or downgrade their presence at the show, adding: “I guess you could say it is an advantage.

“Our own objectives are to showcase three brand-new models plus a new-generation range of Hyundais to what we are confident will be a significant slice of the public there,” he said.

The new i45 – Hyundai’s sixth-generation medium car fresh from its sell-out debut in Korea where it continues to be called Sonata – will be the undoubted star of the show, appearing just days after its Australian media launch and ahead of its sales debut in June.

Powered by Hyundai’s new 2.4-litre 150kW Theta II GDI direct-injection four-cylinder engine, the i45 – codenamed YF- will be aimed squarely at the Toyota Camry as Hyundai tries to carve up the medium-car segment in the same way as its i30 has taken an ever-growing slice of the small-car market.

The Indian-made i20 was previewed at the Melbourne motor show last year, but it will be shown in Brisbane for the first time in its final Australian specification before going on sale in July.

The i20 is expected to get a choice of diesel and petrol four-cylinder engines, and will sit above the ageing Getz, which is set to be retired next year.

The Brisbane show – cancelled along with other state-based shows last year as car companies pulled out to save money as the market turned sour – was to have been resurrected by the Motor Trades Association Queensland at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in its historical timeslot in February.

However, organising the show by that date proved a hard nut to crack, and it was postponed until June to give more exhibitors time to come on board as the economy recovered.

The MTA last May appointed one of Australia’s biggest trade show organisers, Expertise Events, to manage the show for the next 10 years, and Expertise says the show is set to go ahead over five days – scaled back from the show’s traditional 10 days – on June 2-6.

South east Queensland motor dealers were keen to resume their show because of the sales it generates. It had become renowned as the strongest “retail” show on the calendar – a title it hopes to recapture this year.

Most of the stands will be manned by dealer sales staff, ready to do on the spot deals.

The Brisbane show will also be strong on entertainment, with sections of the exhibition hall given over to “zones” for particular interests – car audio, eco vehicles, “grey nomad” vehicles, hot-rodding accessories, race simulators and others.

Expertise Events motor show sales account manager Trevor Luck, an experienced motor industry promotions manager who took his new role in January, told GoAuto that attracting car company commitment to the show had been “a battle, to be honest”, but the show was now coming together with a presence from key manufacturers or their dealer groups.

He said there was still a chance of further manufacturer participation.

“We have still got contracts out with a bunch of guys which, now we have the lion’s share in there, might roll into the show,” he said.

Two of those are believed to be well-known super sportscar marques.

While Brisbane show organisers have no illusions about taking on AIMS, it intends to entrench its annual event as Australia’s ‘other’ motor show with a greater focus on entertainment and interactivity.

Meanwhile, the 2010 AIMS is locked in for Sydney’s Darling Harbour exhibition centre on October 14-24.

The event is a joint-venture between Sydney show organiser, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), and the Melbourne International Motor Show promoter, the new-car division of the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC).

The day-to-day organisation is being managed by long-time Melbourne show manager Russ Tyrie, of the VACC.

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