Hyundai Kona ‘unlikely’ to top CX-3 in sales race
Slow burn: Hyundai Australia believes supply constraints will naturally limit the Kona’s ability to knock off Mazda’s dominant CX-3.
New compact Kona SUV won’t push Hyundai to front of small SUV crowd, says HMCA
16 June 2017
By TIM ROBSON in SEOUL
DESPITE being one of the most highly anticipated products in the company’s
recent history, Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) believes its new Kona
compact SUV will not dislodge the dominant Mazda CX-3 from the number one
position in the category – a spot it has held virtually since its launch in
The Kona was previewed this week at an event in Hyundai’s latest MotorStudio
facility in Goyung, Korea, and will go on sale locally in September this year.
While price and specification is yet to be announced, three variants will be
available at launch in two powertrains styles, including a 2.0-litre
front-wheel-drive petrol and a 1.6-litre turbocharged all-wheel-drive version.
HMCA’s chief operating officer Scott Grant told journalists via video link that
the CX-3 will be hard to beat over a full year on sale, given that projected
sales volumes into the Korean and US markets are likely to impact HMCA’s
ability to source sufficient stocks.
“To beat the local leader we'd have to get about 15,000 sales through on an
annual basis,” he said, “and I don't think that, with the supply constraints
that we believe we're facing at the moment and what our allocation is likely to
be, I don't think we'll get to that sort of level.
“I don't think we'll get to a market leading position with the car.”
While he would not be drawn on a figure, he suggested that the Kona could
figure towards the front of a pack that includes Mitsubishi’s ASX and the
“I think we'll be a few thousand away even at best, but our final allocation
isn't set at this point and obviously the price is not set, so there's quite a
few variables,” he said. “It's not a number one play; that's really not what
our intention is.”
The CX-3 sold 18,332 in 2016, and is on target to achieve a similar number this
Mr Grant agreed that the Kona has youth on its side, in light of products like
the 12-year-old ASX and eight-year-old Nissan Juke.
“It's too early to talk about pricing and so forth, but I think it will be a
competitive product,” he said. “It will be, obviously, a modern and new
product, so it'll have a few more features, and I think a bit more capability,
perhaps than some of those ones you just mentioned.
“I think it will still represent, but in a different way, a good value for
money because the car is very well specced and will perform very well,” he
said. “I'm confident of that.”
He also pointed to the Kona as further evidence of the company’s push towards a
more premium market position.
“I think it's another example and a continuation that Hyundai is on in this
country, launching more premium products that arguably our brand might
represent to many people,” he said, “which equally gives us an opportunity to
speak to people that hadn't considered us in the past.”
Mr Scott denied that the new Kona’s relatively radical styling in comparison to
other Hyundai products would divide opinions amongst traditionally conservative
“I think Aussie tastes are changing,” he said. “I wouldn't agree that (the
Kona) is quirky in any way. I think it’s like a Nissan Juke, or something of
that sort of nature. I think it's more a continuum for us. I don't think it's
unusual. And I think its packaging and drive capabilities will be pretty good.”