South Africa’s hatchback C-segment is not very big, with an average of around 2 000 units sold a month, says Hyundai Automotive South Africa (HASA) marketing director Stanley Anderson.
Having been active in this market segment in the last three years through the i30 model, HASA is hopeful the new, redesigned i30 will secure sales of 250 units a month – or 12.5% of the segment.
It is unknown if this is a gain on old i30 numbers, as HASA does not report vehicle sales in segment detail.
On a global level, however, the i30 has, since its launch in 2007, recorded more than 360 000 European sales, including more than 115 000 units in 2010 – the highest-ever sales figure for an individual Hyundai model in Europe in one year, putting the i30 at sixth place in the C-segment rankings as the emerging Korean manufacturer continues chasing the more established brands.
Talking global sales, Hyundai Motor, which has six manufacturing bases outside of South Korea, sold around 4.05-million vehicles in 2011, a gain of 12% over 2010 figures, with 2012 continuing in the same vein, says Hyundai Africa regional headquarters executive director Jang Ho Lee.
“The last couple of years has been exciting for Hyundai. We have enjoyed great success.”
Anderson says the local hatchback C-segment is dominated by the Volkswagen Golf and BMW 1 Series. Challenging this ranking will be the i30, which is “more progressive” than its “traditional, more sophisticated” predecessor.
The new i30 had its public unveiling at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, in Germany.
In South Africa, the new i30 range will consist of the 1.6 GLS and 1.8 GLS derivative, both with petrol engines. Power and torque outputs ranging from 95 kW and 157 Nm for the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, to 110 kW and 178 Nm for the 1.8 litre in the top-end derivative.
Anderson believes there is little value in unveiling a diesel model, as diesel models constitute only 8.9% of the hatchback C-segment.
However, with 30% of the segment automatic vehicles, HASA is introducing an automatic i30 in its line-up. This means the 1.6-litre engine is matched to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox with the choice of manual shifting, while the 1.8 derivative comes with a six-speed manual transmission.
Fuel consumption is 6.4 l/100 km and 6.8 l/100 km for the 1.6 manual and automatic, and 6.5 l/100 km for the 1.8 model.
Design-wise, the new-generation i30 now bears Hyundai’s signature frontal feature – the hexagonal-shaped grille.
“The hexagonal appearance is unique to Hyundai, and defines the i30 as a family member,” says Hyundai European design centre chief designer Thomas Bürkle.
There is also something new behind the wheel. A ‘Flex Steer’ option offers drivers three operating modes, or ‘driving feels’, namely comfort, normal and sport. Anderson says this system varies the level of steering assistance and feedback to suit driving conditions.
Inside the vehicle, drivers can expect dual-zone climate control, and steering wheel control buttons for the audio, cruise control and Bluetooth systems.
Both the 1.6 and 1.8 derivatives are equipped with a sound system that features four speakers and two tweeters, Bluetooth connection to a cell phone, and connecting sockets for Aux, iPod or USB music input. The sound system also includes the radio and a CD player that can accept MP3 formatted music files.
Fold-away side mirrors are heated and electrically operated.
There is also a 12 V power socket in the centre console and another in the luggage compartment.
Cargo capacity in the new-generation i30 is 378 l with the rear seats upright – an increase of 10% compared with the original model.
When talking safety, the i30 has been awarded the maximum five-star score in the Euro NCAP impact assessment programme.
Safety features include an electronic stability programme, anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability management, emergency stop signal and six airbags.
The i30 is sold with a 5-year/150 000 km warranty, 5-year/150 000 km roadside assistance programme, as well as a service plan for 5 years/90 000 km.
VELOSTER TO WAIT
The total Hyundai car parc in South Africa is between 250 000 and 260 000 vehicles, with 210 000 of these under warranty, says Anderson.
One vehicle which should have already added to this number is the Veloster.
Scheduled originally for launch in the first quarter of 2012, the sports coupe now awaits approval from Hyundai head office in Korea for introduction in South Africa, owing to its gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engine.
Korea is worried that South Africa’s fuel quality may impact on engine warranties.
Anderson says, however, that he is “hopeful to get approval soon for the release of GDI engines in South Africa. Hyundai engineers have done tests over 100 000 km locally already”.
Should the Veloster be released in South Africa, Anderson says it will be classified as “Hyundai’s performance model”.