South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and its sister company Kia Motors Corp. have showed off their high-performance cars and compact sport utility vehicles (SUV) at the world’s biggest auto show with hopes that the European market can help to offset its losses in China and the United States.
At the 67th International Frankfurt Motor Show that kicked off on Tuesday at the Frankfurt Messe in Germany, Hyundai Motor unveiled its five high-performance cars including the i30N. As the first model of the company’s high-performance N series, the i30N is powered by the 2.0-liter gasoline turbo engine. Its revved-up engine offers 275 horsepower in maximum and 36 kilogram-force meter (kgf·m) torque, which is 33 percent higher than the general 1.6-liter gasoline engine-powered i30 model.
Its smaller sibling Kia Motors also presented its hot hatch Proceed concept. Hot hatch, shortened from hot hatchback, refers to a high-performance hatchback vehicle that delivers the performance of a sports sedan but also boasts of everyday usability. Kia’s new hot hatch will compete with Renault’s Megane RS and Volkswagen’s Golf GTI Clubsport in the European auto market.
The Korean auto makers, famous for their value-for-money cars, have turned aggressive in promoting high-performance cars in Europe amid intensifying competition from Chinese peers armed with more affordable price tags and Japanese brands with greater brand awareness that are also expected to lower the selling prices of their cars in the market following the Japan-European Union Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA).
Their efforts to win the hearts of European consumers didn’t stop there. At the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the two Korean automakers also showcased their compact SUVs that are gaining popularity among European drivers.
Hyundai plans to roll out its compact SUV Kona models powered by a 1.0-liter gasoline turbo GDi engine and 1.6-liter gasoline turbo GDi engine first in the European market and then add the 1.6-liter diesel engine-powered model next year. Electric vehicle-version Kona that can drive 390 kilometers on a single charge, or two times longer distance than IONIQ by Kia Motors, is also expected to hit the market next year.
Kia Motors’ compact SUV Stonic also made debut at the show. Fitted with a diesel engine and seven-speed DCT transmission, the car boasts fuel efficiency of 17.0 kilometer per liter (km/ ℓ). The company’s European design center participated in designing the car to reflect the taste of Europeans.
The compact SUV market is growing fast in Europe. Compact SUV sales in the market have nearly tripled from 364,916 units in 2013 to 977,790 units in 2016, while the overall car sales have increased 22 percent from 1,233,000 units to 1,512,000 units over the same period.
By Park Chang-young
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]