An all-new Hyundai i30 is set to be unveiled at the Frankfurt show next month prior to going on sale early next year.
The Volkswagen Golf-rivalling hatchback is designed and engineered for the European market at Hyundai’s technology centre at Russelsheim, Germany.
The new i30 echoes the dimensions and major mechanical features of its predecessor, launched in 2008, but company insiders say it gets much closer to displaying a settled Hyundai family look than the outgoing model.
European design chief Thomas Burkle describes the new style as “fluidic sculpture”. The recently launched i40 also adopts this design style, introduced with the ix-onic concept car at Geneva in 2009. The new i30 also has “jewel-like lights” and a distinctive hexagonal grille, both of which are also becoming part of Hyundai’s family look.
Allan Rushforth, Hyundai’s British senior vice-president and chief operating officer, expects the new i30 to strengthen the model’s position as the firm’s best-seller in Europe, helping to push total European sales to 500,000 units by 2013. It is also expected to “play a significant role” in developing the marque’s brand image.
Hyundai says it can’t yet predict exactly how i30 production will expand, but has confirmed that the Czech Republic plant that builds it — and several other models for Europe — is to be expanded from an initial volume of 200,000 cars a year to around 300,000. The i30 plant is 90 miles from sister marque Kia’s plant in Slovakia, where the mechanically related Cee’d, another Golf competitor, is made.