Hyundai reloads with new models
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.