Hyundai says overcoming the brand legacy of the Toyota LandCruiser won't be a problem for its own rugged, ladder-frame SUV, pointing to the success of the i30 N (against the Golf GTI and RenaultSport) and iLoad (against the HiAce) as examples of how it can disrupt an existing segment.
Hyundai Australia's General Manager of Product, Andrew Tuitahi, says the brand has the ability to overcome the challenges posed by the LandCruiser's long-standing reputation as the ultimate off-road SUV. While yet to confirm the vehicle, Mr Tuitahi says there is a market in Australia for a Hyundai-branded off-roader.
"We study everything that is a potential global project. There is a market here. But there are significant challenges with bringing a car like that to market," he says. "(Like a) LandCruiser brand name. We have the ability to overcome a lot of those challenges.
"I think what we’ve done with things like the i30 N, challenging the traditional RS and GTI buyer mindset has been very successful. Similarly, what we’ve done with iLoad, challenging cars like HiAce in a segment that they've typically dominated. We've done a very good job of challenging that mindset.
"I don’t think that would be a problem if we were to bring a rugged SUV to market."
His comments follow those of Hyundai's Head of Global Product Management, Lorenz Glaab, who last month used a media briefing to confirm the brand was monitoring the off-road SUV space.
"I mean, from a brand perspective, obviously that is thinkable," he said.
"Now whether it makes sense and what region and what concepts remain to be seen. But nothing can be excluded We monitor, and there is some dynamism in that segment... we are very much aware of that.
"We monitor very closely, and if we believe there is an opportunity for us, we can move pretty fast."
The LandCruiser 300 Series is epected to debut in September 2021. We know already it will ride on a new ladder-frame TNGA platform, and will be fitted with a trio of engines, but the first to arrive in Australia should that new 3.3-litre V6 diesel, which Toyota locally has promised will outperform the now-defunct V8 on both power and torque.
Not to be beaten, Hyundai too has revealed a punchy straight-six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, currently used in the Genesis GV80, telling CarsGuide that the new powerplant had "so many applications", including commercial use. It is capable of 205kW of power and 588Nm of torque.
“With this engine we can have so many applications. As you know, we make commercial vehicles and so on, so this engine will be out there for quite some time. You don’t need to worry about that engine,” said Group R&D Chief Albert Biermann.