Local boss says the Korean brand doesn't want to abandon its entry-level buyers, but aims to offer more choice with its new compact vehicles.
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The Venue may be the Hyundai's new entry-level offering Down Under, but the local division doesn't see it as a direct replacement for the now-discontinued Accent light hatch.

Despite having built its brand on value-packed affordable cars, the Korean brand says the new sub-compact crossover – which starts at $19,990 before on-road costs – isn't meant to be an Accent successor.

"We don't see this as a like-for-like volume replacement for Accent," said J.W. Lee, CEO for Hyundai Australia.

"Still those [entry-level] customers are important to us, we are hoping to keep these customers and have them upgrade from one model to another and another."

"We are not abandoning or ignoring those segments, but at this time the situation does not allow us to keep those cheaper entry-level cars," he continued.

"We have those entry-level cars overseas – i10, i20, Accent – but we wanted to change our clothes from the small and affordable car manufacturer, to something different. More an SUV and customer value-oriented company."

"Even though we are sacrificing some of the volume from Accent, we can provide some more choices to the customer by importing the new Venue and Veloster – these two models will cater to some of the customers we are losing from Accent."

Currently, the local division has elected to not bring the Euro-made i10 and i20 hatchbacks to Australia, citing price issues that would likely hinder its ability to properly compete with the likes of the Kia Picanto and Mazda 2.

Hyundai's most affordable model right now is the discontinued Accent light car, which is now in runout. According to the local arm's consumer site, you can buy an Accent Sport manual for $15,990 drive-away, while the optional automatic starts at $17,490 drive-away – thousands less than the new Venue.

In saying that, the Accent lacks a lot of the modern active safety and infotainment tech offered by the company's new baby crossover, including autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and a large high-resolution touchscreen.

As for sales volume, Mr. Lee acknowledged Hyundai doesn't expect the Venue to sell quite as many units as the Accent – which regularly saw around 1500 registrations a month – though it should help to increase its market share in the burgeoning small SUV segment alongside the larger Kona.

"[We are] providing more variety, more choice for customers," Lee said.

Hyundai's local boss added "I don't think we're aggressively approaching the fleet market [with the Venue]", given the Accent's popularity with business and hire car fleets.

The 2020 Hyundai Venue is on sale now, priced from $19,990 plus on-road costs for the entry-level Go variant with the standard six-speed manual.

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