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Hyundai Genesis coupe is go as i10 Getz short shrift

Flagship: Unlike the current, first-generation Hyundai Genesis coupe (left), the next-gen model will be available for the Australian market.

Green light for Genesis coupe but four ENCAP stars nail the i10 coffin for Hyundai

28 Jun 2011

HYUNDAI Motor Co Australia has confirmed the next-generation Genesis Coupe will be built in right-hand drive and imported to Australia, handing the South Korean brand with an image-boosting rear-drive large sports model it was denied in the current first generation.

And after much deliberation, and in light of a less-than-perfect four-star (out of five) Euro NCAP crash-test rating, HMCA has also decided against importing the i10 city car from India after the final Getz rolls out of the showroom, despite having no direct replacement for its bargain-basement hatch.

Although no likely launch date for the rear-wheel-drive Genesis Coupe has been confirmed, HMCA senior manager for PR and events Ben Hershman told GoAuto that it will be the second-generation car that will be imported.

That could be as distant as 2014 considering the current car was launched in 2008 and is therefore only about halfway through its model cycle.

Best described as a Tiburon on steroids in its current form, the Genesis Coupe is available in some left-hand-drive markets with 2.0-litre turbo or 3.8-litre V6 power. Priced in the US from $US22,250 ($A21,308), it could be regarded as a budget alternative to Nissan’s 370Z (from $US31,450).

1 center imageLeft: Hyundai i10.

Despite the name, the Genesis Coupe is only vaguely related to the award-winning Genesis sedan, which according to Hyundai offers BMW 7 Series interior space and 5 Series dynamics with 3 Series pricing.

The big V6 and V8-powered rear-drive sedan remains off the agenda for Australia despite its success overseas. Hyundai has also retired the slow-selling front-drive Grandeur here and has no plans to import its i45-esque replacement.

Meanwhile, at the other end of Hyundai’s line-up, the i20 hatch and upcoming new Accent sedan will combine to form Hyundai’s assault on the Australian light car segment once final stocks of the Getz find homes.

Mr Hershman told GoAuto that the company had been “reviewing the i10 opportunity for two years”.

“A business case to bring i10 looked at market opportunity, pricing feasibility, shipping, as well as a whole host of other factors,” he said.

“Most recently, i10 achieved a four-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Given all these considerations, HMCA has decided not to bring the current i10 to Australia.”

With 8533 sales YTD (down 11.4 per cent), the Getz is the South Korean brand’s second-best seller in Australia after the i30, threatening to leave a big hole in sales volume given that it outsells the next most popular Hyundai, the ix35 SUV, by almost two to one.

Once the final Getz is sold, only the ageing Santa Fe SUV will be only model that represents ‘old Hyundai’.

Sleek, stylish new models like the Veloster, Accent, Elantra and i40 offering good looks, generous equipment and high technology will bring the brand into a new era of value for money rather than low sticker price.

Alongside the Veloster, the second-generation Genesis Coupe has the potential to give the brand genuine youth and enthusiast appeal, embodying another step in the right direction for the brand’s reinvention.

Hyundai sales are up 0.4 per cent to 34,444 units to the end of May. The ix35 is up 133.4 per cent with 4581 sales for the same period, taking a 9.8 per cent share of the compact SUV market and closing in on Toyota’s ageing RAV4 (4848 sales/10.4 per cent share).

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