The new Hyundai Accent is the latest introduction from the Korean brand to local showrooms, and it allows the badge to now cover 90% of the South African new vehicle market, says Hyundai Automotive South Africa (HASA) marketing director Stanley Anderson.
“Around 80% of this have been launched over the last two years.”
HASA’s aggressive take on the South African market flows from more than the ambitious growth targets set by its parent, the Imperial group. In its own drive to excel globally, the Korean badge vowed three years ago to turn its entire vehicle range around, with this now almost achieved.
In fact, the process to refresh and revamp the newcomers now starts, with the new i30 scheduled to come to South Africa in the third quarter of 2012, and the new Santa Fé by the end of the same year, says Anderson.
He hopes the new Accent will sell between 400 and 500 units a month, not necessarily because of demand, but “because this is all we can get from the plant”. He pits the Accent against the somewhat lower-priced Polo Vivo sedan and Chevrolet Aveo in the local market, with increased specification levels expected to even out the playing field.
Hyundai, which started selling the new Accent last November in Korea, expects to sell 500 000 units in all markets in 2011.
The new Accent is a far cry from the unknown model from the unknown brand that sold in South Africa in 1994 at the magical price of R49 900.
Since then, Hyundai has become the world’s fourth-largest vehicle manufacturer, with volumes sitting at 5.8-million units a year in 2010. Toyota was at number one last year, at 8.55-million units.
Today, the new, much more streamlined, seventh-generation Accent costs R146 900, and little but the name remains from the old model.
Hyundai began developing the new sedan Accent in 2005 under the code-name RB. The project took five years and about $180-million to go from concept to production.
The new Accent is built on a 2 570 mm platform, which is 70 mm longer than the previous model. The width of 1 700 mm shows a slight increase of 5 mm compared with its predecessor, and its length of 4 370 mm is 90 mm more than that of the previous model.
However, the overall height has been slightly reduced by 13 mm, to 1 457 mm, as the car gains a more coupé-like profile.
The 2011 Accent is powered by Hyundai’s new-generation 1.6 l Gamma engine that is constructed on a cast aluminium block.
This in-line, four-cylinder petrol engine features double overhead camshafts and multiport fuel injection with constant variable valve timing.
By replacing the old Alpha engine the new sedan promises more power and torque, as well as improved fuel economy. The engine delivers its peak power output of 91 kW at 6 300 rev/min, with its torque output topping the graph at 156 Nm, delivered at 4 200 rev/min.
The engine is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission or a standard five-speed manual gearbox.
The average fuel economy on the new Accent is 6 l/100 km on the five-speed manual model.
Standard features on all vehicles include ABS with EBD, driver and passenger airbags and air conditioning, with the more luxurious GLS adding steering wheel remote controls, bluetooth functionality, park distance control, front fog lamps and side mirror indicators.