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Hyundai patents Staria nameplate

(i)Max (i)Load: The current generation iMax (left) and iLoad (below) has been on sale since 2008 but have been treated to a raft of updates over the years.

Hyundai’s recent trademarking of Staria nameplate suggest new LCVs on the way

1 Dec 2020

A NEW generation of Hyundai’s iMax/iLoad twins could be just around the corner for Australia with the local subsidiary (Hyundai Motor Company Australia) gradually moving closer to trademarking the ‘Staria’ nameplate Down Under.

 

Known overseas as the Starex, the current-generation iMax and iLoad have been on sale in Australia since 2008 and have been treated to various facelifts and powertrain upgrades during its 12 years on the market.

 

Now however with this pending trademark application lodged with IP Australia, it could only be a matter of time before the new-generation people carrier and van emerge with overseas reports hinting at a 2021 reveal ahead of a 2022 model year introduction.

 

With concrete details still thin on the ground, there is little at this stage to confirm the next-gen iMax/iLoad will definitively adopt the Staria nameplate, however forum posts and images have appeared online linking the name to the third-gen people carrier and van, the most thorough of which features on tech network ElectroDealPro.

 

Reading in isolation it would be easy to dismiss the claims as pure speculation but when considered in conjunction with the trademark application and the fact the iMax/iLoad twins are now comfortably to oldest models in HMCA’s current line-up things begin to add up.

 

What’s more, several key rivals both in the people mover and light commercial segments have either been significantly updated (Volkswagen Transporter/Multivan, Renault Trafic) or recently had an all-new version launched (Toyota Hiace, Mitsubishi Express).

 

Making things worse for the aging iMax in particular is the imminent arrival of the all-new Kia Carnival, the current version of which occupies a mighty 56.6 per cent of the sub-$60,000 people mover segment.

 

Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) is remaining tight-lipped on the future of the iMax/iLoad twins, telling GoAuto it was “too early to say” when a new generation is due in Australia and that there is no set life-cycle for the brand’s light commercial vehicles.

 

Regardless, the brand is reportedly happy with the current models’ sales performances so far this year with a spokesperson describing the pair as “solid sellers”.

 

For reference, the iMax currently accounts for 9.2 per cent of the sub-$60,000 people mover segment with 528 sales this year ending October while the iLoad accounts for a healthier 19.2 per cent (2959) of the 2.5-3.5t van segment.

 

Only time will tell when the new LCV twins are due to emerge and exactly what model name they are adorned with – HMCA has a habit of rebadging models to suit the local market, e.g. the second-generation Tucson (ix35) and the all-new Elantra (i30 Sedan).


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