No, its not a four-door Ferrari: Hyundais Le Fil Rouge concept heralds ‘sensuous sportiness’ for all future models

No, it's not a four-door Ferrari: Hyundai's Le Fil Rouge concept heralds ‘sensuous sportiness’ for all future models

In 2018, HMC aims to sell 4.68 million vehicles worldwide, compared to the 4.51 million units it delivered in 2017. After suffering a substantial setback in the Chinese market last year and to a lesser extent in the USA too, the company has been investing heavily in new and additional models, especially SUVs.

In the first of this two-part series, Hyundai's existing and future cars are explored. Following this comes an in-depth look at the brand's SUVs, MPVs/minivans and electrified vehicles as well as a future pick-up.

Cars

Hyundai is not a major player in the global A segment for city cars but it does sell a couple of models in certain regions. It is said to be planning an additional model which will mainly be for India. A small crossover, it is reportedly being developed in response to the success of the Renault Kwid. The Santro model name might be revived for what is known internally as the AH project. The car may appear as soon as the third quarter of this year.

Speaking at the media preview of the Kona in June 2017, Hyundai vice chairman Eui-sun Chung said the company would add an A-segment SUV by 2020.

One of Hyundai's existing A segment models, the main market for which is India, is the Eon. It went on sale there (where it is also built) in October 2011. Initially, this little hatchback was exclusive to that market, with the company targetting around 12,000 sales a month. However, exports to South Africa, South America and Asia Pacific followed.

The Eon is powered by an 814cc petrol engine. Hyundai claimed at the time of the Eon's launch that it was built on a new platform, but the car has an identical wheelbase dimension to that of the existing SA architecture. The second generation Eon should appear in 2019 and again be manufactured in Chennai.

Hyundai's major model in the global city car/A segment is the i10. The second generation model was seen for the first time at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013. It is longer (+80mm), wider (+65mm) and lower (-50mm) than the first generation model.

Hyundai claimed at the time of the car's release that the platform was new. The wheelbase is identical to that of the 2010-2017 Kia Morning/Picanto and the i10 looks like a modified version of that model.

Production commenced in both India and Turkey in September 2013. The second production location is Hyundai Assan's Izmit plant, where the i10 joined assembly of the existing i20. Europe is the main market for the Turkish made i10. The addition of this model saw Izmit's capacity doubled to 200,000 vehicles a year.

India's car, the Grand i10, is pitched upmarket of the old model, which continued in production there until March 2017.

The Hyundai Xcent, a sedan version of the Grand i10, had its world premiere at February 2014's Delhi motor show. It went on sale locally a month later.

The Grand i10 was one of the launch models for the May 2014 arrival of the Hyundai brand in Mexico: the Elantra and ix35 were the others.

A mid-life facelift for the i10 had its public debut at the Paris motor show in September 2016. India's Grand i10 had the same facelift in January 2017. The facelifted Xcent followed three months later.

A mock-crossover version also exists. The Grand i10X has black body cladding, plastic side extensions and a raised ride height. It went on sale in the Indonesian market in June 2015 and was then rolled out to selected other countries.

Sedan, hatchback and Grand i10X are due for replacement from the fourth quarter of next year.

The i20, a B segment hatchback which is sold mainly in Europe and India, is now half way through its six-year lifecycle, the car having had its public debut at the Paris motor show in October 2014. It arrived in European dealerships during the first quarter of 2015. The car for India is called Elite i20 so as to distinguish it from the older model, which initially remained in production as a cheaper alternative. The newer model was styled in Germany. It is 4,035mm long.

A turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine was added to Europe's i20 range during August 2016. The engine was a world premiere at the Paris show alongside the car.

A facelifted i20 was seen for the first time at the New Delhi Auto Expo in February 2018.

There are two further i20 derivatives: the i20 Coupé and i20 Active.

Following its debut at October 2014's Paris motor show, the i20 Coupe entered production in February 2015 at Hyundai Assan's Izmit plant in Turkey. Like the five-door, the Coupe was designed and developed at Hyundai's European design centre in Rüsselsheim. It is due to have a facelift in 2019 and may be replaced in 2022. The uncertainty is due to the shrinking of demand for two- and three-door cars in the European B segment.

HMIL (Hyundai Motor India Limited) announced in February 2015 that it would soon reveal a crossover based on the Elite i20. This meant the addition of a third bodystyle for Hyundai's increasingly globally important B segment model. HMIL began exporting the i20 Active to Europe during the fourth quarter of 2015.

As with the i20/Elite i20 and i20 Coupe, Hyundai should facelift the Active in 2019 and replace it in 2022.

A special model series for Brazil is nearing the end of its lifecycle. The HB20, a small five-door hatchback, was the first car to be built at Hyundai's manufacturing base in the city of Piracicaba in the state of Sao Paulo. The local market launch took place during October 2012.

The HB20 ('Hyundai Brasil') is based on a former Verna/Accent and offers buyers the choice 1.0-litre three-cylinder or 1.6-litre four-cylinder gasoline-alcohol flexfuel engines.

The HB20X, a crossover, debuted alongside the hatchback at the Sao Paulo motor show in October 2012. It went on sale in Brazil in February 2013. The HB20S, a sedan, went on sale in April 2013. It has the same 1.0- and 1.6-litre engines as the HB20.

A facelifted HB20 was announced in September 2015, with updates for the sedan and crossover following soon after. New generation models are due in the second half of this year.

The Reina is another small car with a regional focus. This B segment sedan for China is more or less the same model as the current Verna (Accent or Solaris). The Beijing Hyundai joint venture builds the Reina alongside the Verna at its fifth Chinese car plant, which is in the city of Chongqing. Production got underway in September 2017. There should be a facelift in 2021 and a replacement in 2024.

The main model for Hyundai globally in the B/sub-compact size class is of course the Verna. The fifth generation of this small sedan and hatchback premiered in concept form ('Hyundai Verna concept') at the Beijing motor show in April 2016. In some markets, the Accent, Grand Avega, Solaris or i25 model names are instead used. Production is in Korea, China, India and Russia. The carry-over platform is also known as K2.

The first plant to be confirmed as a manufacturing site for the current model was the Beijing Hyundai joint venture's fourth factory. Located 200km southeast of Beijing in the city of Cangzhou, this facility in China's northeast has a capacity of 300,000 vehicles per annum. At the opening ceremony in October 2016, Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-Koo noted that Beijing Hyundai Motor Company Cangzhou Branch ('Cangzhou Plant') is aligned with existing parts suppliers and Tianjin Port, Hyundai Motor's logistics base.

"Together, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors can now produce up to 2.4 million cars annually in China with plants in operation at eight strategic Chinese sites," chairman Chung stated at the opening of Cangzhou Plant. This factory was opened four years after Beijing Hyundai's third plant came on stream in the capital of the People's Republic.

Built on a 1.92 million square metre site, with floor space of 250,000 square metres, Cangzhou Plant has press, body, paint and assembly lines, in addition to an engine plant. The facility's initial capacity of 200,000 units is to be expanded to 300,000 units by later this year. Plant number five, which is in Chongqing, was opened in July 2017. This also has an annual capacity of 300,000 cars and the same again for engines. The Verna and Reina were its first models.

The Verna Yeuna, a sedan, is built at Cangzhou with a choice of two engines: a 1.6-litre, 120PS unit and a 1.4-litre with 100PS. The same engines go into China's Verna (hatchback) which debuted the five-door bodystyle when it was revealed at AutoGuangzhou in November 2016. The Verna went on sale in immediately after the motor show.

Cangzhou had to be closed several times between March and September 2017 due to collapsing sales of the Verna Yuena and other Hyundai models.

North America's version of the latest generation Accent was new for that region's 2018 model year. Its debut was at the Toronto auto show in February 2017. Hyundai Motor America, which imported the previous hatchback and sedan, is only bringing in the four-door car for this generation.

Russia's Solaris went into production at the St Petersburg plant in March 2017. Production was capped at 55,000 units in 2017 but Hyundai Motor CIS said at the start-up of build that it would eventually like to see numbers rise to between 100,000 and 110,000 cars per year.

Hyundai's Indian manufacturing operations took over Verna production from Ulsan in South Korea as at January 2018. Chennai 1 began making the latest model in August 2017.

The Verna will be given a styling refresh in 2020 and then replaced in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The third generation of the i30, Hyundai Motor Europe's rival for the VW Golf, Ford Focus and others in that size class was revealed to the media in September 2016, just a few weeks ahead of its public debut at the Paris motor show. The three-door bodystyle was not replaced, but a five-door Fastback announced in July 2017 supplements the five-door hatchback and estate. The current car uses an updated version of the second generation's platform.

There is also an 'N' variant which is the company's equivalent of VW's GTI cars. The i30 N was revealed to the media in July 2017. It is powered by a 202kW (275PS) and 353Nm version of Hyundai Motor Group's 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine. The front-wheel drive N has a six-speed manual gearbox, electronic limited slip differential, electronic controlled suspension, rev-matching, launch control and a lap timer.

The Fastback is marketed as a five-door coupé: the effective replacement for the old-shape three-door. At 1,425 mm high, the Fastback is 30 mm lower than the five-door body type and has an overall length of 4,455 mm - 115 mm longer than the five-door.

The i30 is sold in North America as the Elantra GT, this car having had its debut at the Chicago auto show in February 2017 (2018MY Elantra GT).

Cars in this range are due for facelifts in the final months of 2019.

While HME has the i30, the rest of the world's C segment/Compact Hyundai has long been the Elantra, which is called Avante in South Korea.

The sixth generation of this sedan had its world premiere at an event in South Korea in September 2015. Its motor show debut was in LA two months later, where it debuted as the (2017 model year) Elantra. The 2017 Elantra Sport, the most powerful yet sold by HMA, was announced in July 2016.

The sedan is 20mm longer (now 4,570mm) and 25mm wider than the car it replaced.

Korean production commenced in September 2015, followed a month later by assembly of SKD kits by AvtoTOR in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. US production commenced in December 2015, with cars in dealerships there from January 2016.

Chinese production commenced in February 2016. When Beijing Hyundai introduced this car it meant that the JV was building four generations of Elantra. The oldest model, which dated to its introduction in Korea in 2000, was until recently sold mainly as a cheap car to Beijing taxi drivers. The other generation models were or are sold as the Elantra Yuedong and Elantra Langdong, plus the latest car which is the Elantra Lingdong. The Yuedong went out of production in December 2016 but its replacement, the Hyundai Celesta (see below), is that car with a new body and updated powertrains.

The Elantra was the first vehicle for HMG's KP architecture.

Hyundai Motor America announced its 2018 model year Elantra in June 2017. The SEL model grade was the main news.

The Korean market Avante should be facelifted in the fourth quarter of this year and replaced during September or October 2021. An evolution of the same architecture will form the basic structure of this future model.

A former Avante/Elantra is still built and sold in China although it will likely be discontinued during the second half of 2018. The car first went on sale in the South Korean market in August 2010 where it was sold as the Avante. The world premiere had been four months prior to this at the Busan motor show.

The Beijing Hyundai joint venture, which announced in July 2010 that it would erect a third vehicle assembly plant in China's capital, began building this generation Elantra there at an annual rate of 150,000 units from July 2012. The facility is within the Beijing River Industrial Development Zone in the city's Shunyi district. The car for China, the Hyundai Langdong, premiered at the Beijing motor show in April 2012.

The Celesta is a special model for China. At 4.5m long, this sedan is positioned between the Verna and Elantra, powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine. Its debut was at the Guangzhou motor show in November 2016.

Despite going on sale in March 2017, the Celesta was not a new car. Instead, it was a new body on the Elantra Yuedong. That vehicle was South Korea's fourth generation Hyundai Avante (Elantra in many countries) and the Yuedong was built in China for six years after it went out of production in South Korea.

The Chinese name for the Celesta is Xin Yuedong ('New Yuedong'). As it has not been a strong seller, the Celesta will likely be discontinued in 2020 or 2021.

Another car in the C/D segment which is unique to China's Beijing Hyundai joint venture is the 4.7m long Mistra (local name: Mingtu). The Dongfeng Yueda Kia JV has a model based on the Mingtu: the K4.

The Mistra premiered in production form at the Chengdu motor show in August 2013. The car began to reach Chinese dealers three months later.

A facelifted Mistra premiered at April 2017's Shanghai motor show, going on sale during the following month. The replacement is expected to be launched in October 2019.

The successor to the Veloster/Feisi was revealed at the Detroit auto show in January. Depending on the country, Hyundai sells this sports hatchback with a choice of 147hp 'Nu' 2.0-litre and 201hp turbocharged 1.6-litre 'Gamma' engines as well as a 275hp 2.0-litre turbo and in some markets, a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine too.

There are three Hyundai-developed transmissions: six-speed manual for all engines, but when it comes to automatics, this is a torque converter six-speed unit in the larger capacity engine and a seven-ratio DSG in the Turbo. The N is not offered with any form of self-shifting. It will also only be made with left-hand drive, with production commencing in September.

As was the case with the first generation model, the car has three passenger doors. The third door remains in the same place no matter which country the Veloster is sold in. So in RHD markets, this is on the driver's side.

New for North America's 2019 model year, the Veloster and Veloster Turbo will go on sale there during the second quarter. The USA should be the car's largest market. Production, which is at Ulsan, commenced a few days ago. Expect a facelift during the third or fourth quarters of 2021 and, depending on how well the car sells, a possible third generation model in late 2024.

The seventh generation Sonata was revealed in South Korea in March 2014. Its motor show debut was in New York the following month. This model is, like the sixth generation car, built at three plants: Asan (South Korea), Montgommery (USA), and Shunyi (China). The car uses the same platform as the sixth generation Sonata, though it is 35mm longer and 30mm wider.

One interesting point: the US's Environmental Protection Agency, which classes cars by their interior volume, has labelled the Sonata a 'Large' car but many rivals are instead classified as Mid-size sedans.

In China, the car is called 'Sonata 9'. The Beijing Hyundai JV began building it in March 2015.

As a way of trying to push back the tide of imported car sales, Hyundai added a diesel engine to the Sonata and began selling it in its home market from July 2015. A 1.6-litre petrol turbo was added at the same time.

There were only minor changes for North America's 2017 model year Sonata range. There is a facelift for the 2018 model year, this car having been revealed at an event in South Korea in March 2017. North America's 2018 Sonata premiered in the USA at the New York auto show in April 2017.

The eighth generation Sonata is due to be released in roughly a year's time. It should be new for North America's 2020 model year.

Hyundai Motor Europe doesn't sell the Sonata but instead offers the similarly sized i40. As well as having its own styling, the i40 differs from the Sonata by being available as a wagon and with a diesel engine. It has not been terribly successful in recent years due in some ways to its age. In many countries, the sedan has been dropped. Both bodies are manufactured in South Korea. Hyundai began offering the car there in October 2011 as an alternative to the Sonata.

The Australian importer, meanwhile, began selling the wagon alongside its existing i45 sedan, also from October 2011 (the Sonata was renamed i45 for the local market). The car was badged as the i40 Tourer in Australia. Hyundai Australia dropped the i45 in January 2013. It now sells the i40 sedan and wagon alongside the latest Sonata.

For European buyers, the i40 wagon went on sale in May 2011, with the sedan following five months later. The estate's world premiere was at the Geneva motor show in March 2011, while the i40 sedan followed two months later at the Barcelona motor show.

Assembly of the i40 sedan and wagon commenced in Russia in April 2013.

Hyundai revealed a facelifted i40 range at an event in December 2014. This car went on sale in South Korea the following month, and in Europe soon after that.

The replacement model will likely be based on the eighth generation Sonata. It should be launched at the 2019 Geneva or Frankfurt motor shows. The next Kia Optima will share a platform and powertrains with this car.

The ID series Grandeur was revealed to the media in South Korea in November 2016 with Hyundai immediately taking more than 15,000 orders for the car. In many countries, the Azera model name is again used - examples include countries in the Middle East, although as the previous Azera was not a strong seller in the US market, the latest model is not offered there.

Hyundai gave this E segment sedan an early facelift in the Korean market, the updated car going on sale there in October 2017. Another refresh will likely happen in 2020 ahead of the launch of the next generation in the final quarter of 2022. See the second part of this series for details of the Grandeur Hybrid.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

More data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans is available in PLDB from QUBE.