While the 'regular' 2018 Veloster range is set to debut in the third quarter of this year, the N model remains unconfirmed.
Speaking to CarAdvice in Detroit, Bill Thomas, Hyundai Australia general manager of public communications, cast doubt on the N's Australian potential, but refused to completely rule it out.
“We are looking at it, [but it’s] not confirmed. It’s more unlikely than likely,” Thomas said.
“Given that currently it’s only going to be produced in left-hand drive – so the car as we understand is US and Korean market only – and you look at in terms of range for N cars at the moment and we have the [i30] hatch, and we are going to start with that and we have confirmed the [i30] fastback five door, which is a lower sleeker design so we are going to have that differentiation within the N range," Thomas said.
"But we are interested in what the opinion is on this car and whether or not people think it’s an extra that we can do in Australia for a different type of buyer.”
The Hyundai Veloster N carries over the same powertrain as the i30 N, which means it will start life with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Unlike the i30 N, which comes in two flavours (although the Australian lineup is yet to be confirmed), we believe the Veloster will only be offered with the high-spec 202kW/353Nm setup (overboost to 378Nm), matching the i30 N Performance Pack.
In the i30 N Performance, the 0-100km/h is claimed at 6.1 seconds, we suspect the Veloster N should be able to better that, given it weighs a little less.
Given the rest of the Veloster range is engineered for right-hand drive, the N should (theoretically) be easier to make available in Australia.
“We haven’t confirmed it yet, [it’s] back and forward with our parent company so still up in the air, but certainly there are people within Australian organisation that want the car but it’s not that easy and it’s up to our parent company," Thomas said.
"There will be a certain level of investment required to convert the car to RHD, even though we are taking the Veloster turbo in right-hand drive, it’s a different engineering exercise and different problem to create a right-hand drive Veloster N.”
Ultimately it will come down to whether right-hand drive markets can present a strong enough business case for the car, with Thomas admitting that there is also the issue of if it would increase sales of N overall, or simply cannibalise i30 N.
“[It] needs a business case to be put forward, [it] needs to be justified for the Australian market whether that extra choice is going to be incremental volume or rob sales from the i30 hatch, so it’s a business challenge that we need to look at.”
That challenge and its subsequent decision should be made towards the end of 2018, which also coincides with the launch of the i30 N fastback.