Published: Tue, June 13, 2017
Research | By Chelsea Rogers

Hyundai Motor unveils new small SUV as China sales skid

Hyundai Motor unveils new small SUV as China sales skid

However, it is too early to speculate whether Hyundai will being the Kona compact SUV to India.

Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun answers questions from a reporter in a Q&A session following the company's world premiere event for the Kona SUV held at Hyundai Motor Studio in Goyang, just northwest of Seoul, on June 13, 2017.

Hyundai is planning to give its new Kona SUV a baby brother - as well as launching a larger model than the Santa Fe as it tries to expand its off-roader line-up.

The Kona will go on sale in Korea later this month, followed by North America and Europe.

The subcompact SUV market snowballed by almost 10 times from 2010 to 2016, Hyundai said, citing data from IHS Automotive.

As a latecomer to the competition, Hyundai's Kona will rival SsangYong Motor's flagship Tivoli that is a top-selling SUV here, Kia Motors' Niro plug-in hybrid, GM Korea's Chevy Trax, Renault Samsung Motors' flagship QM3 and others in the local B-segment market.

The Korean manufacturer likes to name its crossover and SUV models after travel destinations - we already have Santa Fe and Tucson - so the Kona is named after a coastal district on the Big Island of Hawaii. The company will offer 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine model and 1.6-liter diesel engine in Korea. The two higher-powered models respectively will also both be available with all-wheel drive and a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (exclusively in the case of the petrol).

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In South Korea, its sales were almost flat this year.

Subcompact crossovers are all the rage these days and after announcing the Kia Stonic last Tuesday, the Hyundai Group has now revealed its sister model, the Hyundai Kona. There will also be a 1.6-litre diesel version for select markets, including Europe, but once again it is unlikely to come to New Zealand. This year, the segment's annual growth rate is expected to be 19%.

To offset slowing sales in China and the U.S., Hyundai has chose to diversify its SUV lineup by launching a variety of SUV models, including a high-performance one, from the smallest A segment to the biggest E segment.

Hyundai Motor's accumulated global sales plunged 6.5 percent on-year to 1.82 million units between January and May this year, largely due to anti-Korean sentiment in China as well as sluggish overall automobile sales in the US. A battery-electric Kona may be in the works, and could have a range of more than 200 miles, but Hyundai hasn't confirmed its release date, or its existence, for that matter.

When asked about overseas acquisitions, Chung said Hyundai now had no plans to buy other carmakers.

Hyundai Motor shares ended up 1.2 per cent, versus the broader market's 0.7 per cent rise.

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