LONDON -- Hyundai hopes that a sporty three-door coupe version of its i20 will give it a boost in Europe’s key subcompact segment, where the automaker’s current-generation offerings have lagged behind competitors.
The i20 accounted for just a one-fifth of Hyundai sales in Europe last year. With a first-half European volume of 40,661, the model line ranked 12th in subcompact sales behind the Skoda Fabia and Fiat Punto.
Allan Rushforth, chief operating officer at Hyundai Europe, said the brand has an opportunity to improve in the segment with the i20 coupe.
A sketch of the i20 coupe released by Hyundai shows a more sharply raked rear pillar than in its hatchback sibling, helping the coupe provide a small, sleek, emotional alternative to the five-door variant.
The i20 coupe also represents a shift change for the segment, where most three-door subcompacts are cheaper, more basic clones of their five-door siblings. Offering a sporty coupe derivative, however, is common in Europe’s compact segment, where models such as the Opel/Vauxhall Astra GTC and the Renault Megane Coupe compete.
The i20 coupe is expected to go on sale after the new generation of the five-door hatchback launches in November. Both versions of the i20 were designed and engineered at Hyundai’s European headquarters near Frankfurt.
Both versions of the i20 will be built on a new platform at Hyundai’s recently expanded factory in Izmit, Turkey, where the automaker also makes the i10 minicar.