Hyundai’s UK unit has reiterated that the Veloster three-door coupe launched at the Detroit show in January and on sales later this year will be specially engineered for right hand drive markets.
The coupe has one door on the driver’s side and front and rear doors on the passenger side – and it will switch them round for RHD markets, unlike BMW’s Mini which kept the same (LHD) configuration for all markets in which it sells the Clubman.
Tony Whitehorn, managing director of Hyundai UK said: “This shows how important the UK market is to the South Koreans. Britain will be by far the biggest market in Europe for the Veloster.”
Whitehorn said the decision to switch the doors also shows a commitment by Hyundai to promote the coupe as a ‘halo’ product for the rest of the company’s vehicles.
He added: “The cost and re-engineering involved is quite considerable given the relatively small number of right hand drive markets where Veloster will sell – such as the UK, South Africa and Australia.”
Whitehorn said the Veloster will appeal to people who want a sporty coupe but who also have a family.
“This car can fulfill both roles – it’s a full four seater with a rear passenger door, wrapped up in a coupe body. It’s both sporty and practical.”
Also debuting at Geneva and coming to the UK later this year is the Hyundai i40, a stylish new wagon.
Whitehorn said: “This again gives us an insight into the way Hyundai is developing its new models. The i40 is an estate, yet it is very stylish. The way the rear rakes down gives it couple-style appeal.
“There may be some compromise in terms of cargo room with the sloping back, but then people rarely fill their estate car up on a regular basis. Again this car is stylish and practical.”
Hyundai is looking to sell between 5,000 and 6,000 Velosters annually in the UK and 8,000-10,000 i40s.