Correction: A previous version of this story included the name of model that is not offered.
PARIS -- Hyundai may add a station wagon version of its i20 subcompact hatchback in Europe to compete against cars such as the wagon variants of the Skoda Fabia and Renault Clio.
Hyundai Europe design boss Thomas Buerkle said the automaker is considering adding new body styles for the i20 that could include a wagon.
Buerkle said the subcompact segment is becoming increasingly important as buyers downsize from compact cars and Hyundai is responding to customers' demand for more choice in the segment.
Buerkle said an i20 wagon could be a traditional wagon or a mix of station wagon and shooting brake in three- and five-door variants.
Buerkle declined to comment on whether Hyundai will launch a i20 crossover. Sales of subcompact crossovers such as the Renault Captur and Opel Mokka are booming in Europe. Hyundai unveiled the Intrado subcompact crossover concept at the Geneva auto show in March.
Adding a new body style would help the i20’s comparatively weak performance in the key subcompact segment. Hyundai sold 52,612 units of the i20 in Europe in the first eight months, down 4 percent, according to JATO Dynamics. Europe’s top-selling subcompact through August was the Ford Fiesta with sales of 204,507.
A Hyundai spokesman said the i20 accounted for about 18 percent of the brand's sales in Europe, compared with an industry average of about 22 percent for mass-market brands that offer subcompacts.
Hyundai will introduce a new generation of the i20 in Europe. Sales of the five-door model start early next year with a sportier three-door called the i20 Coupe arriving later.
Buerkle said his design team, based in Russelsheim, near Frankfurt, got involved at the start at the creation of the i20’s new platform to make sure the proportions were right. “We decided to make it wider, lengthen the wheelbase and lower the roof to give it better proportions and make it more substantial looking.”
The i20 now looks sportier, Buerkle said. “The car was a bit shy before,” he said.
The i20 will be offered with the brand’s new 120-hp 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine.
Paris-based researcher firm Inovev forecasts that the new i20 could achieve annual European sales of 100,000 and 120,000 units, up from 80,000 last year.
At 4.03m long and 1.73m wide, the new i20 is among the largest subcompact cars in Europe and is a similar size to the Renault Clio, Inovev said.