Hyundai reloads with new mod­els

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Hyundai Mo­tor Com­pany Aus­tralia, HMCA, is hope­ful a stream of new prod­ucts can help stim­u­late pos­i­tive sales growth, af­ter an 8.9-per­cent dip in the first eight months of 2019.

HMCA has launched the all-new Venue small SUV and Veloster sportscar, the former ex­pected to par­tially take over the Ac­cent’s role in the line-up but not ex­pected to achieve the circa-15,000 yearly sales achieved by the value-fo­cused Ac­cent.

At the launch of the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Veloster, HMCA se­nior man­ager of prod­uct plan­ning Andrew Tuitahi said a num­ber of new mod­els are around the cor­ner for Hyundai, start­ing with the Ioniq range of elec­tri­fied sedans, which are set for an im­mi­nent up­date de­spite ar­riv­ing late last year.

“It’s ar­riv­ing re­ally soon,” he said. “We’re down to whether cars have got­ten on boats or not.

“It’s a pretty cool up­date. The changes are much big­ger than they would ap­pear at first glance, and when driv­ing, es­pe­cially the elec­tric vari­ant, you can cer­tainly feel a lot of the en­hance­ments made to that car – ad­di­tional power, range es­pe­cially and the new dash tablet con­fig­u­ra­tion is nice as well.”

Mr Tuitahi said that the bat­tery-elec­tric ver­sion has been the most pop­u­lar Ioniq vari­ant since launch, ac­count­ing for about two-thirds of to­tal sales, and was sur­prised by the pop­u­lar­ity of the brand’s elec­tri­fied mod­els with pri­vate buy­ers.

“Cus­tomers are buy­ing the car both as gov­ern­ment and fleet buy­ers, and as pri­vate buy­ers,” he said.

“Some of the peo­ple in our business have been a lit­tle bit sur­prised at the num­ber of pri­vate buy­ers will­ing to come in and buy the fully elec­tric car.

“But I think as a main­stream brand bring­ing that kind of range and tech­nol­ogy to mar­ket, we’re re­ally lucky with our tim­ing.”

Also ar­riv­ing be­fore the end of the year will be a new en­gine vari­ant for the Santa Fe seven-seat large SUV, which has failed to meet sales ex­pec­ta­tions since launch­ing in mid-2018

Of­fered at launch only with a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, a petrol V6 will be rein­tro­duced to the range, ei­ther a 3.3- or 3.5-litre unit, the lat­ter of which pro­duces 206kw-336nm un­der the bon­net of the me­chan­i­cally re­lated Kia Sorento.

At the time of launch, HMCA was hope­ful of a 50-per­cent lift in Santa Fe sales, but year-to-date num­bers have in­stead dipped by 17.3 per­cent.

Mr Tuitahi said an­other way to help spur large-suv sales would be to in­tro­duce a larger, com­ple­men­tary model to the seg­ment, in the form of the eight-seat Pal­isade, which has roughly an 80-per­cent chance of be­ing of­fered in Aus­tralia, with likely ar­rival in 2020.

The all-new Sonata mid-size sedan is also due to touch down in Aus­tralia soon fol­low­ing its March re­veal, with a likely re­lease date in early 2020.

The Sonata is avail­able for re­lease, how­ever HMCA is wait­ing on cer­tain spec­i­fi­ca­tion fea­tures to come to mar­ket be­fore of­fer­ing it in Aus­tralia, par­tic­u­larly those that would ap­peal to fleet cus­tomers.

“We’re look­ing at the best op­por­tu­nity to bring that to mar­ket with many con­sid­er­a­tions in place in terms of the pow­er­trains on of­fer, tim­ing of some new fea­tures and specs that we’re an­tic­i­pat­ing,” he said.

“We’re also talk­ing to some po­ten­tial buy­ers, like the po­lice, try­ing to un­der­stand what their re­quire­ments are.”

He also sug­gested that the new Sonata will move to a more premium space com­pared to the pre­de­ces­sor, while the Hy­brid ver­sion re­vealed over­seas is still be­ing as­sessed for Aus­tralia.

The vol­ume-sell­ing i30 small car is also due for an up­date, pos­si­bly in 2020, and can be ex­pected to gain the same safety up­grades af­forded to the Kona small SUV, as well as styling and other spec up­dates.

BIG BOOST: Mod­els such as the just-re­leased Venue and up­com­ing Pal­isade, above, could help Hyundai grow its sales in 2020.

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