The idea is to create a vehicle that’s smaller and cheaper than the Sonata but which is roomy and upmarket enough for the growing Chinese middle-class who want to trade up to bigger cars.
Although we don’t know prices yet, the ‘Sonata-lite’ is speculated to have a choice of 1.6 litre turbo or 1.8 litre engines and be positioned against Nissan’s Sylphy, which Nissan itself developed by turning the Tiida (Latio in Malaysia) into a bigger car. The Sylphy sells for 119,000 RMB (RM59,500) in China, so there’s a ballpark figure for you.
Hyundai is the fourth-best selling passenger car brand in China so far this year, behind Volkswagen, Nissan and Toyota, according to research firm LMC Automotive. However the company lost some market share at the end of the first half of 2012. The ‘Sonata-lite’ should help regain some of that when it’s launched in 2014.