Hyundai Australia is expecting that more aggressive pricing and a lift in sales of other models will counteract the departure of the i20 light car and the unavailability of the i10.
In 2014 Hyundai sold 14,979 i20s compared to just 7,561 Accents, meaning the company will need to push its new entry vehicle aggressively if it intends to reclaim that marketshare with a more simplified single offering.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new Hyundai Tucson in Thredbo this week, the company’s chief operating officer John Elsworth said Accent will get ‘close to off-setting the volume [loss]’ of the i20, which sees its last shipment arrive from India in August, while other models such as the new Tuscon will help in other categories.
“We have to make it up with other models. Seriously, it’s just a fact of life, the car is gone from our lives, those two weren’t available so we will do our best to make up that volume with Accent.”
Hyundai sold a record 1160 Accents in June, while sales of the i20 began to wind down (396).
“For the first time in June, we had a bit of a push with the dealers and we broke our own record. It was the most Accents we’ve ever sold in the history of the car in three years. We know when we push, we’ve got real upside with Accent in that segment.”
The new $14,990 pricing for Hyundai Accent will see the base model equipped with a 1.4-litre engine, also available with a CVT (+$2000), while the top-spec will now be the SR, with a 1.6-litre engine from $16,990 in manual guise.
The light car segment is the most susceptible to pricing and Ellsworth believes Hyundai has got the Accent's positioning just about right.
“It’s a very price sensitive segment so if you’re not there or about with the price you do forgo lots of volume, but we think we are there with the price so we will probably keep tweaking it as we go and see where that sweet spot is and when we get it, we will sell lots of cars.”
While it may seem as the though the outgoing i20 was competing with the likes of the Mitsubishi Mirage and Nissan Micra on price, Ellsworth says the i20 was always in and about the $15,000 price category, similar to the South-Korean built Accent.
“When we use to advertise, say $13,990 driveaway for an i20 - which wasn’t all the time by the way - that was for a three-door, and we didn’t ever sell that many three doors, it was like 10.0 or 15.0 per cent of the cars we use to sell were three doors so the vast majority of car we use to sell were five doors and they were $14,990, $15,990 drive away depending on what was going on about in the market.”
It’s not the first time Hyundai Australia has lost a steady volume seller, back in 2011 the South Korean brand dropped the popular Getz in favour of the i20 and despite the initial volume loss, went on to sell a record 100,011 cars in 2014.