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Hyundai to update Sonata by year end

Eye for an i:Despite reverting back to old nameplates such as Sonata and Tucson, Hyundai said the i30 would not be changing names.

Newly launched Sonata to get upgrade in Q4, as Hyundai commits to i30 nameplate

Hyundai logo10 Feb 2015

By NEIL DOWLING

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has confirmed there will be an upgrade to its just launched mid-size Sonata range arriving in showrooms by the end of the year.

Confirming the news on the day of the Sonata's official media launch in Tasmania, HMCA senior product planning manager Andrew Tuitahi said the update will arrive as part of a wider model-range upgrade.

“Yes, we’ll have an upgrade by the end of the year,’’ he said.

“Every Hyundai model has an upgrade each year. In the Sonata’s case, it gives us the opportunity to upgrade the model.’’Specifically, it allows HMCA to introduce the advance-collision warning system that is fitted to the Genesis full-size luxury contender that arrived in November last year.

Asked why the Sonata wasn’t already fitted with that system, Mr Tuitahi said “it wasn’t available when the Sonata was made available to this market”.

It is likely the system will be an option when the Sonata gets upgraded in the fourth quarter of this year.

But the Sonata's mid-size stablemate, the i40, is unlikely to receive the same high level of attention.

Mr Tuitahi also said that the change from numerals and numbers to names as a badging procedure would not cover all models.

“We don’t think the i30, for example, will change to a name,’’ he said.

“It’s called the i30 in all markets except the US (where it’s the Elantra GT) and we expect that because it’s a European model, the numbers will remain. I can’t see it being called the Elantra GT in Australia.’’The Korean car-maker last week confirmed that the ix35 moniker would be retired in this market in favour of the resurrected Tucson badge as a part of its global naming strategy.

This follows the return of the Sonata badge that is back after being replaced by the i45 nameplate in 2010. Hyundai discontinued the i45 in January 2013 after steadily declining sales, choosing at the time to focus on the more European focused i40 sedan and wagon range.

Sales of the i40 remained steady last year, with 2684 sold – just 15 units shy of its 2013 result – making it the fifth best-selling sub-$60,000 mid-sizer in Australia behind the Toyota Camry (22,044), Mazda6 (5883), Volkswagen Passat (3079) and Ford Mondeo (3051).

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