Hyundai Motor Company Australia has confirmed that the i10 city car is not going to be sold in this country, with concerns about its ability to achieve a five-star ANCAP rating cited as the main hurdle.
Speaking to TMR at the recent i40 Tourer launch, HMCA's Product Planning Manager Andrew Tuitahi said that the "i10 is not on the horizon for us".
Mr Tuitahi said the lack of a 5-Star Euro NCAP rating (and, thus, ditto for ANCAP) for the i10 made it a poor fit with the rest of Hyundai's 5-Star local line up. The diminutive hatchback scored just four stars under Euro NCAP testing.
The popularity of the model in overseas markets also raises the prospect of supply constraints, further dampening the business case for an Australian-delivered i10.
Instead, the i20 (above) will continue to be the entry-level model for Hyundai, priced at $15,490 for the three-door i20 Active hatch. Since the departure of the Getz, imports of which ended at the start of this year, Hyundai has finally been left without a budget-priced contender at the bottom end of the light car market.
According to Mr Tuitahi, HMCA has no intentions to re-enter that end of the market either.
With the sub-$14k segment only accounting for a fraction of the light car market and profit margins being extremely tight for small cars in general, Hyundai sees little point in competing with the likes of the Proton S16, Chery J1, Suzuki Alto and Nissan Micra ST.
Like the i10, the recently unveiled (and even smaller) Hyundai Eon (above) is most definitely not coming to Australia either.
Instead, the Korean automaker will focus on taking the brand away from its roots as an importer of cheap cars, and into a space where it competes on a level footing with Japanese and European imports.
The newly-launched i40 Tourer is perhaps Hyundai's best ever mid-size entrant, and the all-new i30 hatch is set to shake up the small car segment when it lands in the middle of 2012.