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Hyundai i40 may come to Australia

The i40 is in the same boat as the RB model that will replace the Accent. Mann says this hatch is yet to be decided as an entrant into Australia.

The i40 is a great-looking wagon - long, low, sleek and with some Mercedes CLS styling cues.  But Hyundai Australia's marketing boss, Oliver Mann, says getting it down under is still only a chance.

"It has to make sense. It has to be the right price and work with the other models,'' he says in Geneva.  It's designed in Europe for Europeans and we have to see if it can work - pricing, specifications, features and so on - in Australia.''

What worries Mann is that the i40 will sit in a small market segment occupied now only by the Mazda6 and Ford Mondeo wagons.  "That's not a big segment and we don't have a customer base to call on,'' he says.

"But it's a new concept for Hyundai and it has a lot of appeal.''  The i40 comes with the choice of a 1.7-litre turbo-diesel or 2-litre petrol engine and is made in Korea.  "It's our style leader in terms of quality and finish,'' Mann says.

The i40 is in the same boat as the RB model that will replace the Accent.  Mann says this hatch is yet to be decided as an entrant into Australia.

"We'll make a decision within one month,'' he says.  "It has been developed for all global markets. To a degree, the i20 replaced the Accent.

The RB - possibly to become the i25 - is built on the i20 platform and is a four-door sedan, so it will appeal to a different buyer than the i20, says Mann.  A better bet is the MD model - no name yet but the money's on i35 -that replaces the Elantra.

Mann says the sedan is here midyear and will be a strong boost to the affordable family-oriented sector.  On a more concrete note, Hyundai is preparing its unusual three-door Veloster coupe for Australia.

It arrives late this year as a 1.6-litre petrol engined four-seater with two side doors on the left side of the car, and one on the right.  It has been specifically engineered for the right-hand drive markets - the left-drive US market gets the two doors on the other side - and will be the successor (in terms of market) to the original Hyundai S-Coupe.

It also gives Hyundai the chance to re-enter the coupe market after it quietly withdrew the Tiburon two-door model from the Australian showrooms about 18 months ago.