Hyundai Motor Co. said its new upper-medium car, called the i40, will play a key role in driving the Korean brand's image more upscale in Europe.
The i40 will debut at the Geneva auto show in March and will go on sale shortly afterward, competing against cars such as the Ford Mondeo, Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, and Europe's upper-medium segment leader, the Volkswagen Passat.
Hyundai said the car's dynamic design, quality, performance and technical features will help further shift European consumer perception of the brand to a more aspirational position.
“We have bold ambitions for Hyundai in Europe, and the new i40 will provide the momentum we need to achieve our goals in 2011 and beyond," Allan Rushforth, Hyundai Motor Europe vice president, said in a statement.
Rushforth added: "We expect the quality of the new i40 to continue the development of our image in Europe and attract new customers to the Hyundai brand."
Designed at Hyundai's European r&d center in Ruesselsheim, near Frankfurt, Germany, the i40 shares its underpinnings with the Sonata sold in the United States and Korea.
Hyundai says the i40 is the company's first D-segment model to be specifically developed for the European market.
Its styling follows the brand's new the ‘fluidic sculpture' design language, featuring a hexagonal front grille and rakish lines aimed at giving the i40 a dynamic, sporty appearance by connecting the front, side and rear profiles.
The i40 will be launched first as a station wagon, followed by sedan version later in 2011. Most European upper-medium car buyers choose station wagons.
Hyundai said the i40 will also be the brand's most innovative model on sale in Europe and will have the company's latest environmental technologies and a powertrain line-up with best-in-class performance and fuel economy and very low CO2 emissions.