Hyundai may not disclose its sales figures in South Africa, but the fact that it had to find a new factory to satisfy ix35 demand locally gives you an indication of how well the brand is doing.
We joined the Korean carmaker on a recent trip to a Hyundai manufacturing plant near Ostrava in the Czech Republic, and saw not only a world class facility, but sampled the facelifted ix35 which our market will be getting in March.
It’s a minor facelift, with changes including a revised front bumper, different head and foglights, and a new, bolder radiator grille. The roof rack is now also sleeker and sits flush on the roof.
On the safety front most of the range, excluding the two-litre diesel 4x4 auto, now have electronic stability control.
ONLY FOUR MODELS
The range also gets Bluetooth hands-free capability, telescopic steering, Isofix-enabled seatbelts and an Eco switch for greener motoring - which will cut the engine when the SUV is stationary.
The range will be rationalised slightly, too, with the 2.4-litre petrol falling away. This means the revised range will consist of four models – the two-litre petrol GLS 4x2 in manual and auto, the two-litre diesel 4x2 manual, and the two-litre diesel 4x4 auto.
The new Czech factory primarily delivers cars to Hyundai’s European dealers and produced about 127 000 ix35s in 2012. The South African operation will now be switching its supply of ix35 models from Korea to this facility.
Stanley Anderson of Hyundai SA said: “The delivery period is also shorter than from the Korean plant, which enables us to plan and control our stock levels and flow of vehicles to our dealers better.” said .
The ix35 – and other Hyundai model ranges, for that matter – will receive more mechanical than design tweaks as lifecycle improvements going forward. - Star Motoring