2015 HYUNDAI i10 AUSTRALIA
Hyundai Australia has confirmed plans to bring the i10 city car to local showrooms, with the projected arrival set for “sometime in 2015”.
Speaking at the Korean preview drive of the new Genesis, Hyundai Australia Chief Operating Officer John Elsworth said the i10’s business case still presented a challenge.
The exchange rate between the Euro and the Australian dollar will be crucial to the commercial success of the i10, which is built at Hyundai’s Izmit, Turkey plant.
In European specification, the i10 is offered with two 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol engines, or a 1.2 litre four-cylinder. Engine options for Australia have not yet been determined.
A slightly stretched version of the i10 is also manufactured in India and sold as the Grand i10 in India and South East Asia, though it is believed that Hyundai Australia is primarily interested in the Turkish-made model.
“We source two cars out of Europe, which are the i30 Tourer and the ix35 Special Edition,” Elsworth said.
“Profit-wise, when the [exchange rate] was at 0.80 [Euro to the Australian dollar], it was all good. It’s at 0.69 now - and was 0.65 for a few months - and it’s really tough.
“It won’t be easy [to make the i10 profitable at current exchange rates].”
The uncertainty over currency movements is also compounded by the low profit-margins of cars in the sub-light segment, which typically provide meagre returns compared to larger cars and SUVs
But despite the question marks over where exchange rates will go and what effect that will have on the business-case for the i10, Elsworth said Hyundai Australia was committed to adding the i10 to its growing stable of cars in the new year.