Hyundai is joining the expanding group of  manufacturers offering eco sub brands when it launches its European i-Blue series at the London motor show next week.

The mainstay of the, more tax friendly model green branding programme will be a 113PS, 1.6-litre diesel, i-Blue version of the i-30 lower medium model, due on sale in September, with a 119g/km CO2 rating.

A spokesman emphasised that, unlike Ford’s Econetic and Vauxhall/Opel’s Ecoflex, the i-Blue i-30 will not add a price hike as the only technical changes to the hatchback involve re-homologating it with revised gear ratios. He said it had particular relevance in the UK among the tax sensitive business driver community.

Eco-badging will initially apply to all sub 120g/km Hyundais including the i-10 (sub B) mini car, which will later appear with a new 1.2-litre petrol engine, also achieving around 119g/km.

Hyundai’s Getz replacement, the new i-20 supermini, due in five-door and three-door forms next January and March respectively, will also feature in the i-Blue range within a range.

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Sub 120g/km Hyundai models could be joined in the green brand portfolio by “technically innovative lower mpg and C02 cars” said the spokesman, who added: “If we did a Santa Fe with stop-start and regenerative braking then it would logically become part of this group.”

Meanwhile Hyundai Motor UK executives, led by managing director Tony Whitehorn, are considering if there is sufficient demand for an exclusively LPG, sub 100g/km, 70mpg Elantra saloon, currently on sale in South Korea.

Although the company concedes that the number of LPG pumps is limited, it believes that even without the normal back up of a petrol tank, the Elantra’s potential long range removes the logistical problem.

It is not know if Hyundai’s corporate cousins at Kia, whose cars share platforms and components, plans to respond with an eco initiative as the duo’s nominally more sporty brand.

Hugh Hunston