Needless to say, Hyundai has a lot of plans in the Philippines this year.
As you may well know, there will be a new company responsible for the Hyundai brand, and it will be reporting to Hyundai Motor Company in South Korea because it won't be an independent distributor. The new company is going to be very busy accomplishing all the paperwork and requirements needed to set up its operations and reach out to existing Hyundai dealers.
Some may be wondering why it's taking such a long time, but keep in mind that there is a lot of paperwork, forms, and requirements necessary to launch just one model, much less launch an entire lineup. It's not just a matter of bringing cars in through a port, paying fees, washing the car, and sending it off to the dealer for sale. And given that this is in effect an entirely new company, everything has to be set up from zero.
But what does Hyundai have planned for the model range? What models will we see in local showrooms? The first four models are already confirmed: the all-new Staria minivan, the all-new Tucson, the Santa Fe, as well as the all-new Creta.
The Staria is basically the latest evolution of the Starex van; actually, the model has already been sold in the gray market for a while. The Tucson will be the striking new design that had its world premiere in 2020 while the Santa Fe will be the updated model.
The Creta is the interesting one because, well, HARI didn't push through on launching that nameplate a few years back. And from what we gather, the all-new Creta (yes, it's now on a new generation) will be the replacement of the Kona. Yes, you read that correctly: our sources tell us Hyundai will likely discontinue the Kona in the Philippines and the Creta will take its place. The probable reason will be the source of the model: Hyundai produces the Kona in South Korea, but the Creta will be produced at the new plant in Indonesia, meaning it can take advantage of ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).
That is also the probable reason why Hyundai will be participating in the Philippine market as part of the larger Hyundai group. The Creta and Santa Fe are both already being produced by Hyundai in Indonesia. As far as we know, the Tucson and Staria will still be built in South Korea, so these models will not be able to maximize AFTA's zero-tariff benefits, but will likely be able to use ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) for a tariff of only 5%.
Hyundai Santa Fe
But the other model that can use AFTA is the Palisade, and that will be the fifth model of the new Hyundai Motor Philippines, Inc. (HMPI). The Palisade used to be offered by the previous distributor for an SRP of PHP 3.24 million, but that was the Korean-made model. When they switch to the Indonesian-built model, it's possible that the price could go down a bit, or they could add some nicer features.
We were also told that the Hyundai Venue will remain in the lineup, perhaps as the most affordable offering of Hyundai. Currently, the Hyundai Venue is the most affordable crossover in the Hyundai lineup at under PHP 1 million. As to whether the pricing will change with the new distributor, we're still not sure.
Hyundai Creta (Indonesia spec)
Some may be wondering where the sedans are, as all the models mentioned are crossovers and a single minivan. Well, Hyundai is basically changing strategy. There were no mentions of Accent, Veloster, Ioniq, or even Reina. The market has greatly shifted towards SUVs, and thus reorienting the strategy towards a more crossover-heavy lineup makes sense.
Veloster is really more of a niche vehicle, but the Accent is the surprise. The Ioniq is likewise niche, but that may change in the future as hybrids and EVs become more popular. As for the Reina, well they stopped production of the model over in China last year.
Hyundai Elantra N Line
But Hyundai will supposedly have one sedan next year, and that will be the all-new Hyundai Elantra. The popular sedan hasn't been in the market since the sixth-generation model; the last one we reviewed was in 2016. The seventh-generation model debuted in 2020, and that will be the one that Hyundai will launch in the Philippines.
And what we have learned is that Hyundai is planning to launch it with the N Line variant. That will be interesting to compare against models such as the Corolla GR Sport.
What do you think of Hyundai's plans for their model range? Drop us a line below.