Wanted Down Un­der

Hyundai’s Euro-de­signed, In­dia-made i20 may hit Aussie roads in next year, writes KARLA PIN­COTT

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

ASOUTH Korean car de­signed for Europe and built in In­dia will prob­a­bly be­come Hyundai’s new head­liner next year.

But the all-new i20 — which will be in the spot­light at next month’s Paris Mo­tor Show— will be no threat to the pop­u­lar Getz, which opens the Hyundai action in Aus­tralia from $13,990.

The i20 is set to re­place the Getz in some Euro­pean coun­tries, but is in­tended as an ex­ten­sion of Hyundai’s pre­mium plan in Aus­tralia.

It will sit above the Getz, just as the i30 hatch­back — the cars­Guide car of the year for 2007 — runs above the $15,490 Ac­cent Down Un­der.

As yet the i20 is not even con­firmed, though Hyundai Mo­tor Aus­tralia has done well with the i30 and is push­ing hard for the small­est of the Euro­fo­cused cars, the baby i10.

‘‘We’d like it come to Aus­tralia, how­ever it’s yet to be con­firmed,’’ Hyundai Aus­tralia spokesman Ben Her­sh­man says.

‘‘But it won’t re­place the Getz. We see it as a larger and more so­phis­ti­cated car, so if it comes it will most likely be a pre­mium model, which will be at a price point above the Getz.’’

Her­sh­man says the com­pe­ti­tion in the i20’s sights will be the Ja­panese hatches, specif­i­cally the Mazda2 and Honda Jazz . . . and per­haps the Toy­ota Yaris.

The i20’s styling echoes the larger i30, though it has a few more creases, with a chromefin­ished grille and strong char­ac­ter lines lead­ing back from the teardrop head­lights.

Spec­i­fi­ca­tion is yet to be re­vealed, but two petrol en­gines are tipped, one a re­vised ver­sion of the 82kW 1.6-litre in the Ac­cent. It’s also prob­a­ble a diesel will be sold over­seas, but Her­sh­man says HMCA has not de­cided on driv­e­train choices.

‘‘We would do our best to have a choice of which en­gines would ar­rive in the i20, but we’re not sure at this point which way we’re go­ing to go,’’ he says.

‘‘De­pend­ing on the strat­egy we fol­low we may have one or two en­gines. We haven’t de­cided on whether we would have petrol or diesel. But clearly we are de­lighted with how i30 diesel is go­ing.’’

The i20 will be pro­duced ini­tially only in Hyundai’s Chen­nai plant in In­dia, which builds the i30, Getz and the tiny i10 for Europe.

It has had its pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity in­creased from 250,000 to 400,000 cars to sat­isfy de­mand.

‘‘We’ve done some pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies on ship­ping from In­dia and it’s all very fea­si­ble,’’ Her­sh­man says.

‘‘We want to make sure that if we do this, we want all the pieces of the puz­zle to work.’’

Getz big­ger: the i20 will be pro­duced ini­tially only in Hyundai’s Chen­nai plant in In­dia, which builds the i30.

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