Hyundai Accent global launch in Toronto is 'vote of confidence' in Canadian market

Hyundai Accent global launch in Toronto is 'vote of confidence' in Canadian market

  • April 21, 2017
  •   371

Good timing, market significance and good feelings in South Korea about Canada combined to give Hyundai Canada the global launch of the next-generation Hyundai Accent subcompact sedan at the 2017 Canadian International AutoShow in February.

It was a natural fit since the Accent is a volume seller here, said Don Romano, president and CEO of Hyundai Canada.

“It’s one of our bigger-volume vehicles, as opposed to in the U.S., where it’s insignificant. It’s a major car in Canada if you look at its sales as a percentage of our total business,” he said in an interview.

Romano asked Hyundai’s head office in Seoul for the launch, which became the first global premiere for the Canadian division. “The timing worked in our favour.”

The Accent comes out this fall. “There’s only a certain time when a car is ready to be presented and there aren’t that many auto shows left,” Romano said.

“It was a vote of confidence from Korea,” Romano said. “With small cars in decline in most markets, [the Accent] still represents an important part of the Canadian market.”

Unveiling it at the New York auto show wouldn’t have made much sense, given the subcompact’s low sales volume there, while Hyundai had already planned a new i30 wagon and a concept vehicle for the March show in Geneva, Switzerland.

An Accent hatchback will follow in about three months, and Romano expects the sales will split evenly. While American dealers will sell the Accent sedan, they won’t get the hatchback.

LAST-MINUTE SECRECY

Having a global premiere was also a triumph for the Toronto show.

“When we broke the news to [show organizers], they were ecstatic,” Romano said. It was the show’s first global launch in its 44-year history.

“They offered all sorts of support. The car had to come in last-minute and in all kinds of secrecy. We didn’t want the show to release that we had a world premiere until we had our hands on the product, but a lot of things came together and the show helped tremendously.”


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