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by Tim Beissmann

Hyundai Australia says its homegrown SR performance-themed sub-brand could expand to include more model lines if its initial sporty hatchback variants are a hit with local customers.

Hyundai took the wraps off the two newest additions to its SR line-up – the Hyundai Accent SR and the Hyundai i30 SR – at the Sydney motor show today ahead of the anticipated showroom debuts of both vehicles during the first half of 2013.

The Veloster SR Turbo hot-hatch became the first of the new SR-badged models when it launched in August, and Hyundai Australia marketing director Oliver Mann said the early popularity of that model strengthened the case for additional SR variants.

“We’ve been really encouraged by the success of Veloster and the way the market has accepted the vehicle,” Mann told reporters at the Sydney motor show.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in that sort of character being introduced into both i30 and Accent and so it’s been something we’ve been exploring for quite a while.

“If we’re successful with SR, and certainly the early days of SR have been a success for us, I think Hyundai will continue to advance in this direction.”

Despite the brand’s enthusiasm, Mann admitted Hyundai had not given any thought to which models might be next to score SR enhancements, should the program expand beyond the Accent and i30.

“At this point those are the two we have looked at,” he said.

“I think depending on how these two models go – and we’re jumping to conclusions because we’ve got to get them signed off and launched first – but depending on how successful they were, we could possibly extend it, but I think [the light- and small-hatch segments are] the two segments where there is the greatest market potential.”

Mann emphasised that the new SR performance sub-brand is an initiative of Hyundai Australia rather than a global program, and suggested the local division’s lead role in the development of the sports variants made it an important cog in Hyundai’s global development operations.

“From a marketing perspective certainly we’re leading a charge in terms of presenting this more dynamic aspect of the brand,” he said.

“Our success with the vehicles will certainly strengthen the case globally for sporty Hyundais.”

The Accent SR and i30 SR hatches are best termed ‘warm hatches’, with the Accent’s 1.6-litre engine producing 103kW and 167Nm, and the i30 generating 130kW and 213Nm.

Both models feature unique steering and suspension tunes to create a sportier feel, and gain a number of exterior styling and interior specification upgrades to differentiate them further from their base cars.

Mann insisted Hyundai was targeting driver enjoyment, practicality and affordability with the SR sub-brand, rather than blistering sports car performance.

“It’s not an out-and-out performance arm, it isn’t a GTI. It is a sporty rather than a sporting sub-brand.

“We’ve also said that we want to bring cars in that will deliver to that sporty brief, so it’s not just about styling, it’s about dynamics as well and enhanced performance from the engine and enhanced dynamic capability in ride and handling.

“Where we can deliver that, then we’re very keen to explore where there’s a market.”