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  1. Analysis
December 21, 2016

Hyundai future models [updated following sacking of HMA’s CEO]

The final OEM to have its future model plans examined by just-auto.com in 2016 is HMG. Hyundai Motor is the first division to be explored in this three-feature series. Examinations of what's ahead for Genesis and Kia Motors will follow.

The final OEM to have its future model plans examined by just-auto.com in 2016 is Hyundai Motor Group (HMG). Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) is the first division to be explored in this three-feature series. Examinations of what's ahead for Genesis and Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) will follow.

Hyundai Motor hasn't had the best of years but still it could have been worse. The Brazilian and Russian markets fell dramatically, and more recently, India too, and there was a major production stoppage in South Korea. 

As had been expected, the company's domestic plants have over recent months been pushing hard to make up for all the vehicles lost during a strike over workers' pay and benefits.

While sales in South Korea have been good, the market itself has taken a dip. But against that, China and Europe remain strong and Russia appears to have finally stabilised. Things are not great in the USA, with deliveries rising by only one per cent during the year to the end of November. This is reportedly the reason why Hyundai Motors America's president and CEO Dave Zuchowski left the company with immediate effect today (21 December).

City cars/Mini-cars

Hyundai does not sell its smallest cars in the Korean market, leaving that segment to Kia Motors (and GM Korea's Chevrolet Spark). The little i10 is popular with buyers in Turkey and India, though, and with European customers too. 

The second generation i10 had its global debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013. It is longer (+80mm), wider (+65mm) and lower (-50mm) than the first generation model. Hyundai said the platform was new, but the wheelbase is identical to that of KMC's Morning/Picanto and the car looks like a modified version of the little Kia.

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. India's car, the Grand i10, is pitched upmarket of the old model, which continues in production there. 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. See the crossovers section below for the Grand i10X.

A mid-life facelift for the i10 had its public debut at the Paris motor show in September 2016. India's Grand i10 will have the same facelift in January. No further changes are expected before the arrival of a new generation model in the third quarter of 2019. This should be built in the same three plants as the existing BA series car.

The Eon (project code: HA) is another small five-door hatchback built by Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL). It is made at Chennai 1 in the state of Tamil Nadu alongside the Grand i10, though it is an older model, production having commenced in September 2011. A facelifted car is due out in the first quarter of 2017 and a successor model towards the end of 2018. All variants are powered by an 814cc petrol engine.

Initially, the Eon was exclusive to India but HMIL now exports it to South Africa, South America and Asia Pacific followed. The Eon was launched in Chile, for example, in December 2012.

The next generation Eon should use the same architecture which will be the basis of the i10 replacement as well as the follow up to the Kia Morning/Picanto.

B segment/Sub-compact

HMIL also makes the larger i20 (project code: IB) in the Indian city where its plants are based but unlike the i10, this one is produced at the more recently constructed Chennai 2. The car itself dates to 2014, having had its world premiere at the Paris motor show that year, going on sale in Europe, India and elsewhere from early 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.

A facelifted model is due out in the first half of 2018, to be followed by a new generation i20 in early 2021. 

A different model, the HB20, is manufactured in Brazil. In common with the i20, it is close to four metres long and is a five-door hatchback, though there is also a sedan, the HB20S. This was the first vehicle to be made at the firm's manufacturing base in the city of Piracicaba with series production commencing in September 2012.

A facelifted HB20 was announced in September 2015, with updates for the sedan and crossover (see HB20X below) following soon after. The 'Hyundai Brasil 20' will be replaced in either late 2018 or during the first quarter of 2019. These vehicles should use the same architecture as the latest Verna.

Hyundai's main global model in the B segment is not known as the Verna in all markets. That name applies in South Korea, China and certain other countries, but in Russia, this car is the Solaris, in Europe and North America it is the Accent and in some other markets it is called Grand Avega (Indonesia) or i25 (Israel).

The fifth generation premiered as the Verna concept, a prototype, at the Beijing motor show in April 2016. As well as via the Beijing-Hyundai joint venture and at HMC's Ulsan plant, production should be added at factories in Russia (St Petersburg) and India (Chennai 1) by the third quarter of 2017. Cars for North America, where the Accent will be new for the 2018 model year, are to be sourced from Ulsan.

The first plant to be confirmed as a manufacturing site for the new model was the Beijing Hyundai joint venture's latest and 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. The latest factory was opened four years after Beijing Hyundai's third factory 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 2018. Plant number five is scheduled to come on stream in 2017. This is presently under construction in Chongqing.

The Cangzhou Plant produces the Verna Yeuna, a sedan, 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 November's Guangzhou motor show. The Verna also went on sale in the PRC in recent weeks.

This new model will be built at the various plants until 2023, though the sixth generation cars should go on sale in China and Korea from the final quarter of 2022. A facelift for the generation 5 sedan and hatchback is due to be available worldwide from the last months of 2019.

The fourth generation model will likely remain in production in Russia until mid-2017. The St Petersburg factory also builds cars for Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

C segment/Compact

Hyundai has always been especially successful worldwide with its C segment sedans and hatchbacks. The latest, sixth generation Avante 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. There should be a facelift for the 2019 model year and a replacement in the third quarter of CY2021. 

The four-door is 20mm longer (now 4,570mm) and 25mm wider than the car it replaced. The Elantra was the first vehicle for HMG's KP architecture.

Hyundai Motor said in September 2015 that it was expecting sales of around 50,000 units in Korea by year end, with ambitions to deliver 700,000 units globally (Korea: 110,000 / Overseas: 590,000) to customers in 2016.

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

Chinese production commenced in February 2016. The Beijing Hyundai JV aims to sell 250,000 units of the Elantra Lingdong in China during 2016, it was announced at the car's launch. 

When Beijing Hyundai introduced the latest vehicle it meant that the JV was building four generations of Elantra. The oldest model, which dates to its introduction in Korea in 2000, is sold mainly as a cheap car to Beijing taxi drivers. The other generations are the Elantra Yuedong and Elantra Langdong, plus the latest car which is the Elantra Lingdong.

The Elantra has only ever been a niche model in Europe with the brand's main entry in the Golf segment being the i30. The newest model uses the same KP architecture as the Avante/Elantra though the car itself is shorter: the hatchback is 4340mm long, 1795mm wide, and 1455mm high. Production in Czechia commenced earlier in December.

The third generation i30 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 in 2017 there should be a i30 Four-Door Coupé to supplement the five-door hatchback and estate. The i30N, also due in 2017, will be the brand's equivalent of VW's GTI cars. 

The old-shape i30 is still sold in North America as the Elantra GT and this will continue to be the case with the third generation hatchback. Expect it to join the range in the US, Canada and Mexico for those markets' 2018 model years.

Facelifts for all i30 body styles should appear in the first quarter of 2020 and a fourth generation i30 range is due out in September or October 2023. As is the case with the latest model, the next model will likely be manufactured in South Korea (Ulsan) and Czechia (Nošovice).

C-D segment

The Beijing Hyundai JV has its own specially sized models – longer than cars for the conventional C segment but shorter than the D class – and these sell well. The first of these two bespoke sedans is the 4.7m long Mingtu (Chinese name, Mistra). The Dongfeng Yueda Kia joint venture also 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 facelift is due in the first quarter of 2017 and a Mingtu/Mistra replacement in early 2020. This vehicle will in all probability use the KP platform and again be manufactured at Beijing No.1 plant.

The Celesta is to be an additional model for China. At 4.5m long, this sedan will be 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. Production to due to get going by mid-2017. 

D segment/Mid-size

The Aslan was an experiment which didn't work too well. Prior to what has come to be known as Dieselgate, Audi's A4, especially in diesel form, was becoming ever more successful in the D-premium sedan segment of the Korean market. Hyundai thought that by adding an additional car with a new model name, that it could tempt buyers away from this model and others like it, such as the BMW 3 Series and Lexus IS.

Buyers have not taken to the Aslan. Launched in October 2014 and in theory due for a facelift in 2018, it will not be replaced when what should have been a six-seven year production run ends. In fact, as the Aslan, which comes with the choice of 199kW 3.0-litre and 216kW 3.3-litre V6 petrol engines, will struggle to exceed 2,000 sales in 2016, HMC will surely quietly kill it during 2017.

Another car which has disappointed is the i40, a D segment sedan and wagon range which was designed specifically for Europe, even though both are made at Ulsan in South Korea. 

The i40 has been sold at home alongside the related Sonata since October 2011. For European buyers, the i40 Tourer (wagon) went on sale in May 2011, with the sedan following five months later. There is nothing particularly wrong with this model; it is more than there are a lot of excellent competitors in Europe, and of course, the German premium manufacturers have moved powerfully into the mass-brand D segment. Renault, Groupe PSA, Kia Motors Europe, Toyota Motor Europe and OpelVauxhall have the same issue, while Volkswagen and Škoda have managed to remain strong with the Passat and Octavia/Superb.

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 i40 replacement due during the second half of 2017 should drop the current name and will likely be based on the existing Hyundai Sonata.

E segment/Large

The latest Grandeur was revealed to the media in South Korea in November with Hyundai immediately taking more than 15,000 orders for the car. In many countries, the Azera model name will again be used. HMC has recently stated that due to this better than expected demand, the model's 2017 sales target for the domestic market is being raised to 100,000 units.

As the Azera has not been a strong seller in the US market, a replacement model seems unlikely to be offered there. During the first three quarters of CY2016, Hyundai Motor America sold only 3,775 units of the car. What HMA might instead do is sell a restyled, shorter Grandeur/Azera as the future Genesis G70. That could well work, with such a sedan to be a rival for the Lexus ES.

Coupés/Coupes

Following its debut at October 2014's Paris motor show, the i20 Coupé entered production in February 2015. Like the five-door, this three-door hatchback was designed and developed at Hyundai's European design centre in Rüsselsheim. It is built in Turkey by Hyundai Assan. A facelifted car should arrive in 2019 and a new generation model in 2022.

The Veloster, while not hugely successful, is nonetheless to be replaced by a second generation model. It should appear in late 2017 and go on sale in the US, its potentially largest market, during the first quarter of 2018.

Some sources had suggested that this model's development had been cancelled but this is not true. Prototypes were photographed on test in South Korea as recently as during the first weeks of December (2016). Production will be at Ulsan and the car will again have a seven-year lifecycle; the same as the existing model.

MPVs/Minivans

With the exception of the ix20, Hyundai Motor has no small or medium sized MPVs: Hyundai has been content to leave the C-D segment to the Kia Carens. This vehicle class is now very small in South Korea, as can be seen how by old the Chevrolet Orlando has been allowed to become – GM Korea may not even replace that model.

Europe is the main region for the littlest Hyundai minivan, this model having been launched at the Paris motor show in September 2010.

Apart from different front and rear styling touches, the ix20 and Kia Venga are the same vehicle. Both are built at Hyundai's Nošovice plant in Czechia. A facelifted ix20 had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2015.

A car based on the ix25 crossover is expected to be the effective replacement so no further changes are due for the ix20. Production will likely cease during the second half of 2017.

The Grand Starex is a large, elderly front-wheel drive MPV. The H300, also sold as the H1 and iMax, is the LCV version. Eight, nine, 11 or 12-seater minivan variants have been available in South Korea since September 2007.

A Grand Starex successor has been expected for some years and is now finally said to be becoming close to launch. This should take place by mid-2017 in the home market. The successor will likely share its platform with the Sonata and be manufactured at one of the Ulsan plants.

Pick-ups

Despite its success in Brazil, Hyundai has no small pick-up to compete with those built by FCA and GM. That situation may change if a model based on the locally-made Creta reaches production (see the STC in the section on SUVs and crossovers).

The company's first pick-up for the North American market should be similarly sized to the Honda Ridgeline. A crossover/pick-up mashup was previewed by the Santa Cruz, a concept which was revealed at the Detroit auto show in January 2015. The production version is likely to use the platform which debuted with the current Tucson. 

Originally expected to be released in 2018, the Santa Cruz is now said to be due to enter production in 2020. This could well be at an expanded Montgomery plant in Alabama. 

Crossovers & SUVs

Hyundai is curiously weak when it comes to some sizes of SUVs and crossovers, though this varies by country. The Grand i10X is its smallest and this is built and sold in relatively small volumes. Production takes place in Turkey. A mock-crossover, it has black body cladding, plastic side extensions and a raised ride height. A successor is due in 2020, following a 2017 facelift.

HMIL is understood to be developing a similarly sized small crossover to take on the Renault Kwid in the A segment. Expected to revive the Santro name, the project has a codename of AH.

Hyundai Motor America's now former CEO Dave Zuchowski stated in an interview at November 2016's LA auto show that the division would have B- and A- segment crossover/SUVs from 2018 onwards, but these vehicles were not named.

In the B segment, the Carlino (name to be confirmed) is also to be added by HMIL. This SUV for India and elsewhere was previewed by the HND-14 Carlino, a design study which had its world premiere at the New Delhi auto expo in February 2016. 

The production model should be just under four metres in length so as to offer buyers a tax advantage. The Carlino would be positioned below the Creta. It should have its debut at the Delhi Auto Expo in early 2018 though a prototype may debut at the 2017 show in a few weeks' time.

A small crossover for Europe has been offered in the region since 2014. This is the ix20 Cross, which has a higher ride height and black plastic cladding around the wheelarches, along its sides, and under the bumpers. No direct replacement is expected once production ceases in 2017.

HMIL's Chennai 2 plant builds the i20 Active, another sub-compact crossover. Exports to Europe commenced during the fourth quarter of 2015. The Active was designed at Hyundai Motor's Design Centre Europe in Rüesselsheim. A facelift will be due in early 2019 and a replacement in 2022.

India has its own models, but a low-cost B-SUV for China is also planned and it may also be manufactured by HMIL. In the PRC, this model will be produced at a plant which is under construction in Chongqing. The first series production vehicles should come off the line in 2018. Chinese suppliers will reportedly provide a major percentage of the components so that HMC can keep costs low. Meanwhile, HMIL's executives have spoken of a sub-Creta SUV which they refer to as the QXI. It is believed that could be the same model as the one planned for China.

The existing HB20X, a crossover based on Brazil's HB20, debuted alongside the hatchback at the Sao Paulo motor show in October 2012. It went on sale in February 2013. The replacement model due in 2018 could well be the same as the QXI project.

Hyundai has multiple B-SUVs but none which is built in big volumes. That might be resolved by a planned rival for the Nissan Juke. This additional model will mainly be for Hyundai Motor Europe and Hyundai Motor America. It will be similarly sized to the existing ix25 and Creta, two B-crossovers which are built and sold in China and India respectively. The styling, however, is expected to be as radical as that of the Nissan Juke. 

The debut of the new B-SUV might come as soon as the 2017 Geneva motor show – HME really needs something to challenge the Captur, 2008, Mokka X, Juke and others in this segment and HMA could also do with a rival for the Honda HR-V and Chevy Trax.

As for the 4.3m long ix25/Creta, this small SUV had its worldwide debut at the Chengdu motor show in August 2014. It was first hinted at by the HCD12 Curb (Crossover-Urban) concept which was displayed at the Detroit auto show in January 2011. A pre-production model, the ix25 concept, had its world premiere at the Beijing motor show in April 2014.

The ix25 was built initially in and for China, but HMIL added production from mid-2015. Production was lifted to 13,000 cars a month in March 2016. This was due to demand from Indian buyers and those in certain export markets. HMIL ships the Creta to markets in Africa, the Middle East and some countries in the Americas.

China's ix25 went on sale there in October 2014. There will also be a Kia model based on the ix25 (project code: KC). The Hyundai is available in China with the choice of 1.6- and 2.0-litre petrol engines, while India's model, the Creta, offers the choice of 1.6-litre petrol and 1.4- and 1.6-litre diesels.

In April 2015, the Australian importer told the local media that the ix25 had been ruled out due to the model not meeting Australian safety regulations. An SUV that will be similarly sized to the ix25 and Creta is under development for Europe and likely Australasia too. It will be built in Turkey. Meanwhile, Hyundai added production of the Creta at its St Petersburg plant in August 2016.

The company announced at November 2016's Sao Paulo motor show that the Creta would go into production at Piracicaba from 2017. The company also surprised many when it revealed a pick-up concept version of the Creta at the show. This was called the Creta STC (Sport Truck Concept).

In the segment above the one for all these sub-compact models, Hyundai lacks an entry. The company is, however, said to be planning to build a cheaply priced Tucson sized crossover at its new Cangzhou factory in Hubei province. Production of this model is due to commence in November 2017.

Along with the larger Santa Fe, the Tucson, formerly known in some countries as the ix35, is the best known Hyundai SUV. HL, the third generation of this 4,475mm long rival for the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV4, had its global debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2015.

The Tucson is built at two plants in South Korea. The previous model was manufactured in the OEM's home market only at one of its Ulsan factories. A different  facility in the city, and the same one which makes the Avante/Elantra, had 50,000 units of its annual capacity allocated to the Tucson. 

Production by the Beijing Hyundai joint venture commenced in July 2015. One of HMIL's Chennai plants also added CKD assembly of the Tucson during the second half of 2016. 

Just last month, Hyundai announced at the Sao Paulo motor show that its light commercial local partner, CAOA, would begin assembling the Tucson at its Anápolis plant from 2017.

The fifth generation Tucson due out in 2021 will be slightly larger due to a request from HMA. The current model performs very well in the US market so HMC will comply with what its dealers there have also been asking for.

Finally, the Santa Fe, which since the demise of the ix55/Veracruz in 2015 is the brand's biggest SUV. The two bodystyles of the third generation model had their global debuts at the New York auto show in April 2012. In North America, the standard wheelbase model is called Santa Fe Sport, while the seven-seater is the Santa Fe. In Europe, the long wheelbase vehicle is the Grand Santa Fe.

Europe's model is powered by a 197PS 2.2-litre diesel engine and its global debut was at the Geneva motor show in March 2013. This vehicle also went on sale in South Korea the same month as the Maxcruz.

US production of the second generation Santa Fe ended in late 2010. Build of the Santa Fe Sport switched to Kia Motors America's plant at West Point in Georgia from mid-2012. This was to make room at the Hyundai facility at Montgomery (Alabama) for build of the Hyundai Elantra. 

In January 2016, HMA told the media that it would be adding production of the Santa Fe Sport at its own US plant later in the year due to strong demand for the model. The Santa Fe continues to be imported from South Korea. This seven-seater model has been available in North America since January 2013. There, it has served as the replacement for the Veracruz.

The Beijing Hyundai joint venture added build of this Santa Fe at its then newest Chinese plant in December 2012. The third production facility opened in the Shunyi district of Beijing in June 2012 with its first vehicle being the Elantra Langdong.

A facelifted Santa Fe went on sale in South Korea in June 2015. Its motor show debut was in Frankfurt three months later. A facelifted Maxcruz for the Korean market was also revealed in September 2015.

Next year's Santa Fe replacement will use the UM platform as introduced by the Kia Sedona/Carnival in 2014. The long wheelbase derivative will have seating capacity for eight, so as to compete with the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot, and as noted above, due to the next Tucson becoming larger. 

North America's 2018 model year Santa Fe Sport have a new model name as buyers in the region's markets do not always often easily grasp that the Sport is a smaller model than the Santa Fe. Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski stated in an interview at November 2016's LA auto show that the Santa Fe Sport successor will also have more rugged styling than the current vehicle.

Hybrids & PHEVs

The Ioniq (project code: AE) is a five-door hatchback in the style of the Toyota Prius but with one major difference: in addition to hybrid and PHEV derivatives, an EV is also available.

The Ioniq HEV was the first to go on sale, which was July 2016 in South Korea. It is powered by a dedicated 1.6 GDI four-cylinder Kappa engine and a 32kW electric motor, which is fed by a Lithium-Ion polymer battery. The two powertrains have combined maximum output of 103.6kW (141PS) and 265Nm of torque. A newly developed six-speed dual-clutch transmission (6DCT) is standard.

The Ioniq EV was revealed at an event in South Korea in March 2016. Hyundai claims a maximum range of 180km on a single charge. The lithium-ion polymer battery has a storage capacity of 27 kilowatt-hours. Peak power is 88kW and maximum torque is quoted as 295Nm. The Ioniq EV takes four hours and 25 minutes for a full recharge. Fast charging, which is an 80% capacity recharge, takes 25 minutes. An Ioniq with a range of 300km is under development and will be released in 2018, Hyundai announced in November 2016.

The Ioniq's rivals include the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius as well as the Kia Niro. Hyundai says the Ioniq uses a dedicated platform, and this architecture is also the basis for the Niro, which unlike the Ioniq, is a crossover.

Hyundai Motor America stated in January 2016 that it would begin selling the Ioniq HEV in August, to be followed on month later by the EV. An on sale date for the Ioniq PHEV is yet to be confirmed by HMA.

Hyundai said earlier in 2016 that it is aiming to sell an average 77,000 units of the Ioniq in a full calendar year, with some 40,000 of those in the USA and 15,000 in South Korea. All production is at Ulsan 3.

An Ioniq AD concept was revealed at the LA auto show in November 2016. This Ioniq autonomous drive prototype was memorable for having its LiDAR mounted in the front bumper rather than on the roof.

The larger second generation Sonata Hybrid sedan, meanwhile, is mainly for the US, Canadian, South Korean and Chinese markets. 

The current car was revealed to the media at an event in South Korea in December 2014 and went on sale locally soon afterwards. The Sonata Hybrid's motor show debut was at the NAIAS in January 2015.

The Hybrid is powered by a Nu 2.0-liter GDI mated to a 38kW electric motor. The engine delivers maximum power and torque of 156ps and 19.3 kg.m, up 4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively, compared to the previous model. The 38W electric motor also delivers 8.6 per cent improved maximum power, with maximum torque of 20.9 kg.m (205Nm).

The Beijing Hyundai joint venture plant began assembling the Sonata Hybrid in May 2016. This was the first time that the partners had produced a petrol-electric car. A facelifted model should be launched by mid-2017 with the replacement to come in early 2020.

The Sonata PHEV had its world premiere at the Detroit auto show in January 2015. It can travel up to 22 miles on electric power and can recharge in as little as two and a half hours with a Level 2 charger. The car went on sale in South Korea in July 2015.

This plug-in hybrid sedan has a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery pack, roughly five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid's battery. The standard transmission is a six-speed automatic with Hyundai's Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED), a 50 kW electric motor, in place of a torque converter. The 50 kW electric motor is 32 per cent more powerful than the motor used in the Sonata Hybrid and allows EV operation at higher speeds. 

A 2.0-litre Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled with the electric motor allows the Sonata PHEV to operate just like the Sonata Hybrid once the onboard battery charge is depleted. The engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque and the total system output is 202 horsepower at 6,000 rpm.

A facelifted Sonata Hybrid is due for North America's 2018 model year, with the replacement model expected to be on sale in 2019.

The outgoing HG series Grandeur Hybrid went on sale in the South Korean market during December 2013. It was powered by a 159PS 2.4 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, plus a 35 kW lithium ion polymer battery. The latest model (project code: IG) was released in November and the next Grandeur Hybrid should be added to the domestic range by or during the second quarter. This may in fact come later than that as Hyundai has been overwhelmed by the number of orders for the new Grandeur, and the Asan plant may struggle to fill these for a while yet. 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles

Hyundai began delivering the first units of an experimental fuel cell vehicle in February 2013, stating then that it would build 1,000 units of the ix35 FCEV. The company's US operations began imports of the Tucson FCEV from April 2014, with the following leasing deal for customers in California: $2,999 down, $499 a month for 36 months, including unlimited free hydrogen. The model went on sale in Canada in November 2014. The US importer made only minimal changes for North America's 2016 model year. The same applies for the 2017 model year.

The next generation Tuccon ix FCEV/ix35 Fuel Cell is due to be launched in South Korea, North America, Europe and elsewhere in 2018 in time for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. Expect a five-year model cycle with a facelift in late 2020. 

A possible preview of this model was seen for the first time at the next Geneva motor show in March 2014. This, the HED-9 Intrado concept, was said by its maker to have been built around a "super-lightweight structure made from a mixture of advanced materials and joined using a revolutionary technique that has the potential to change the way cars are constructed in the future". 

The concept also featured a so-called 'next-generation' hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain that was claimed to be both smaller and lighter than that powering the assembly-line-produced Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell.

The new model's fuel cell will be smaller and require less platinum in the catalyst. Meanwhile, the battery will be larger and the electric motor will be smaller and lighter but it will have a higher output. Hyundai told the South Korean media in August 2016 that its next fuel cell model would be priced from 60 million won or roughly half what a Tucson Fuel Cell costs. The car's range would rise to 600km: the current model has a range of 415km. 

Summary

Things are looking good for HMC, provided there are no major downturns in South Korea, China, the USA or Europe in 2017, the places where the Hyundai brand is presently especially strong. Global sales for CY2016 look like being at around the same level as they were in 2015, with the total by the end of November being 4,363,181 versus 4,448,605 in the prior year, a decline of 1.9 per cent. 

November sales were, however, up by 4.4 per cent so there is even a chance that the frenetic 15 per cent gain in domestic production will have continued in December, pushing the worldwide 12-months total comfortably past 5.2 million vehicles.

Of more concern than production and deliveries totals is profitability. Lee Won-hee, the CEO of Hyundai Motor Group, stated in January 2016 that the drop in profits during CY2015 was not acceptable, especially as the numbers fell to the worst they had been for five years. Intense competition in China was blamed for the result. It remains to be seen if HMC will have been able to turn things around and begin lifting RoI for itself and its contribution towards the returns for HMG. 

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.

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