This is interesting, Hyundai decided to let slip (accidentally on purpose) info about a concept SUV they were supposed to roll out at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.
Letting info on a show car slip early is a long held tradition in the auto world. It\’s a great way to drum up attention, for one thing, and for another, it can all be part of a sophisticated marketing campaign. Hyundai\’s move here is a little different though.
There\’s two odd things about this: 1 – Why would Hyundai let an SUV concept out of the bag for Geneva, of all places, and, 2 – Why tout an SUV in a time when SUV sales are tanking, and things are getting greener (i.e. harder on SUVs) in general.
Let\’s take a look.
First, just why would Hyundai let an SUV concept out of the bag for Geneva? That seems like an odd place for a Korean car company to tout an SUV. SUVs are thought of as more American in market than European, but for Hyundai, that\’s not the case. One of the things I noticed when I was last on The Continent, was that 90% of the SUVs I saw were used as taxis. And out of those, it seemed like half were Hyundais. So to an American\’s eyes, trying to pitch an SUV in Europe makes little sense, until you realize just what a market leader Hyundai apparently is. That, and Hyundai\’s concept SUV was styled at the company\’s European Design headquarters in RÃ¼sselsheim, Germany.
The next question is why, why pitch an SUV in an era where things are getting greener, CAFE standards are bound to rise, and people are starting to look at SUVs the way they looked as Cadillac Fleetwood Broughams in 1974?
Hyundai\’s rational is explained thusly:
\”Hyundai\’s European design team has hailed HED-6 as an \’urban nomad, a car of contrast for a world of contrast\’, citing cultural influences from major cities like Berlin, Paris and London as key to its creation.\”
OK, so Hyundai sees a market in Euro-disco vacationers? Really? Seems so, but there\’s also nods to the real world as well.
Allan Rushforth, Vice President at Hyundai Motor Europe touts the HED-6\’s \” … latest-generation power train highlights Hyundai\’s clean-technology expertise.\” So they\’re not completely tone-deaf to what the world is facing, climate-wise.
So, reading between the lines, what I see is Hyundai positioning its next taxi for Paris, and potentially, its next cute-ute for America with the HED-6 showing in Geneva.
Here\’s the presser from Hyundai:
Hyundai reveals SUV concept car ahead of Geneva Motor Show premiÃ¨re
Computer rendering reveals dynamic styling for compact SUV
Three-door i20 to debut at Geneva Show
First application of stop-start technology to be shown on i30 blue
Offenbach, February 09th 2009
Hyundai Motor Company will unveil an all-new concept car at this year\’s Salon International de L\’Automobile in Geneva on March 3rd, and the first image of the vehicle has just been released. This innovative concept portrays a dramatic new look for compact SUVs and was styled at the company\’s European Design headquarters in RÃ¼sselsheim, Germany.
The world premiÃ¨re of this new concept – codenamed HED-6 – will take centre stage on the Hyundai stand, with two other vehicles completing a hat-trick of debuts for the company. The three-door version of new B-segment challenger the i20 will be shown for the first time on stage, further enhancing the Hyundai small-car offering, while the i30 blue will showcase the first application of stop-start technology on a Hyundai production car, contributing to a significant cut in both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
HED-6 concept car
Hyundai\’s European design team has hailed HED-6 as an \’urban nomad, a car of contrast for a world of contrast\’, citing cultural influences from major cities like Berlin, Paris and London as key to its creation.
HED-6 combines muscular design and everyday utility to fit comfortably in an urban or out-of-town environment. The dramatic exterior design is enhanced by the hexagonal grille, angular style lines and piercing back-swept front headlamps, with the bold look completed by 21-inch, mirror-polished alloy wheels. The three-dimensional, sculpted shape of the rear window is achieved using \”Lexan\” high-performance plastics instead of regular glass. To emphasize the dynamic flowing lines, the designers have developed a special \’Ice Blue\’ exterior paint, with an advanced pigment effect for a brilliant shine.
Equipped with LED daytime running lights and powered by a 175 HP, 1.6-litre GDi turbocharged engine, HED-6 gives an indication of the next generation of Hyundai SUVs.
Allan Rushforth, Vice President at Hyundai Motor Europe said, \”The HED-6 brings an entirely new look to Hyundai\’s SUV line-up. It fuses a robust exterior with a fresh and elegant interior, making for an eye-catching package, while its latest-generation power train highlights Hyundai\’s clean-technology expertise.\”
Hyundai decided on a global basis to label all low emission vehicles to be launched, starting with i30, under the sub-brand \”blue\”. The i30 produced in Nosovice, Czech Republic, will be the first mass production vehicle to wear the blue label as i30 blue.
Demonstrating the company\’s commitment to lowering vehicle CO2 emissions and reducing costs for consumers, Hyundai brings ISG (Idle Stop and Go) technology to a production car for the first time.
Ideal for city driving, the i30 blue will automatically switch the car\’s engine off when stationary.
The ISG system uses an advanced starter motor connected to the ECU, which monitors the car\’s status at all times. Remarkably, this technology applied to Hyundai\’s 1.6-litre petrol engine reduces fuel consumption by 7% on the official combined cycle, while achieving a lower CO2 rating of 142g/km, compared to 152g/km on the regular i30 1.6.
Available in showrooms by mid-year, the i30 blue will come in both five-door hatchback and CW estate body styles and a choice of 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines. Following in the footsteps of i30, other models in the Hyundai new-car range will progressively be offered with ISG technology.
Set to play an important role in developing Hyundai\’s brand and sales success in Europe, the chic and versatile i20 three-door will go on sale in the second quarter of 2009. Adding a lower entry-level price to the i20 line-up, the youthful and sporty three-door variant will boost Hyundai\’s offering in the largest growing segment in Europe.