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