Hyundai Australia CEO Edward Lee says the company's plan is no longer centred on entry-level pricing, but values such as safety, driving experience and ride quality. With the exit of the Getz and the introduction of the Accent, the company now has a full five-star safety rating on all of its passenger vehicle fleet.
"We're not concerned with leaving the bottom of the market," Lee says. "I think we changed people's perception of the brand a lot already. Five-star safety is our new strategy. Australian people think safety is one of the most important things along with driving and ride."
Sales and marketing manager Oliver Mann says the Getz name has gone the way of the Excel and doesn't expect to see either model name returned to the brand. Hyundai produced 1,390,084 Getz models between 2002 and 2011 and Australians bought 153,000. There are only about 400 left after production ended last year. That's less than half the 1000 they sell each month.
The entry level Getz 1.4-litre three-door is listed at $13,990 and the base model Accent starts at $16,990. It's a big hole for Hyundai to fill, but Mann is not concerned.
"Even though it was our entry level car, we mainly sold the 1.6-litre five-door model, anyway," Mann says. "We're not planning to fill the entry level price again. We're getting out of the bottom end of the market. Getz won't be replaced directly."
With the introduction of the 1.6-litre, slightly larger Accent, the 1.6-litre i20 models have been deleted and the $15,490 1.4-litre three-door is being sold at $14,990 driveaway. Hyundai also does not have room in its five-star strategy for the four-star i10 as a replacement bargain car.
"We looked long and hard at the i10 business case, but it wasn't profitable and didn't fit in with our five-star safety rating strategy," Mann says.
Product planning senior manager Roland Rivero says supply of the Indian-made i10 also could not be guaranteed with the factory able to build 450,000 a year and the domestic market taking 400,000.
"That would leave Europe and ask to argue over the remainder," he says.
Cars that were killed off
THERE are more famous nameplates than Getz that have been killed off in Australia over the years. Perhaps the most famous is the Monaro, although Holden says "never say never" in regards to bringing it back. Other nameplates killed off that could make a re-appearance include Celica, Integra and Prelude.
Nissan canned the Pulsar in 2007 worldwide but in 2006 in Australia and many a backwards-cap-wearing youth bemoans that fact. Nissan not only axed the Pulsar, but also its changed its company name from Datsun in 1986.
More recently Ford chopped the Fairlane from its line-up in 2007 and Mitsubishi excised Magna from its fleet in 2000.
Other beloved nameplates to disappear over the years include Kingswood, Premier, Futura, Valiant, Charger, Skyline and Bluebird, while nameplates that have been replaced include Rodeo (now Colorado) and Courier (now Ranger).