By on September 14, 2010

This is the Hyundai ix20, a a European-style subcompact MPV in the style of Honda’s Fit. Or, more precisely, in the style of Kia’s Venga. In fact, the similarities between the new Hyundai and its Kia-branded predecessor are strong enough to hint at a future of GM-style brand differentiation issues for the Korean concern.  And here’s the real irony: both cars share a platform with the Kia Soul, an American-style B-Segment MPV (possibly the only car to fit that description). Couldn’t Kia have rocked the Soul and left the ix20/Venga segment to Hyundai? Or was the Venga simply too good-looking to die? Either way, these two taught twins are a bit close for comfort.

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9 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: The Korean Cannibals Edition...”

  • avatar

    This is kind of happening across the entire lineup.  There is a slightly differentiated Kia model for all the new cars in the Hyundai lineup…or one coming.  Most of them are much more differentiated than American rebrandings, like Ford/Mercury and Buick/Olds.  Not sure if different sheet metal over the same body is the best investment either way.

  • avatar

    Is Hyundai trying to go upmarket or down?  Is planned to be sold in the states?  It will be odd looking at a Genesis right there next to a ix20.

  • avatar

    We covered this with the VUE discussion.
    EVERYBODY is doing this.
    In fact, if you don’t…you die from economic suffocation..

    We bash Ford and GM all the time for this, then are reminded Toyota and Nissan and everybody does it.
    And engines as well.
    The 2.0 in VW/Audi is everywhere. Not a car comes out without it, or so it seems.

    The real test is the tuning, parts and other changes made to the platform for each vehicle. Major differences make for better, or worse, cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the difference in your Ford/GM – Toyota/Nissan reference is how egregious the duplication is for the respective brands. An oft-referenced Toyota badge job is the Camry/ES. While often referred to as an over-stuffed Camry, the ES actually has more sheet metal differentiation than, say, the 5th-gen Chevy Malibu/6th-gen Olds Cutlass. Or, as when Chevy used the Cavalier as 5 different models in the 80s/early 90s (including the Cavalier, Skylark, Cimarron, Firenza, Sunbird). Also, Ford’s duplication with Mercury and Lincoln has been especially heinous in recent years, what with the Fusion/Milan/MKZ differentiated by grilles and such. Ford did a better job with the 10th-gen Thunderbird/Cougar/Mark VIII trio (the 3.8L headgaskets notwithstanding). The Cougar and TBird shared mechanicals with distinctive bodies.

      Nissan also got away with a glaring grille/badge job with the Maxima/I30/I35 conversion. What Nissan (and other Japanese manufacturers) can get away with easier, though, is using JDM (or Euro) models as their luxury counterpart models in the US. I used to own an Infiniti G20, which was a tarted-up Nissan Primera. At least the de-contented Primera wasn’t sold stateside – not that it could have done much to hurt already dismal G20 sales.

      Platform sharing (and drivetrain sharing) is understandable and a necessity, I don’t think anyone can balk at that much. Grille swapping is just lazy. You can change just a few pieces of sheet metal and differentiate models without too much effort.

    • 0 avatar

      One interesting note his how often people refer to how badly GM and Ford used to do it, but today it is a different story.  GM has gotten much better at the practice.  Ford is getting there.  The Fusion/Milan were pretty close as was the Escape clone.  But, what you are talking about largely on the Ford/GM side is largely history.  And in the Vue discussion, the Captiva is really different than the Vue and the Opel version.  GM does continue to do this with Opel/Vauxhall/Buick cars.  But that is ok, because they are all in different markets.
      Personally, platform sharing is going to happen.  I am just not sure Hyundai needed this one unless it is for Europe.

  • avatar

    What’s a “taught twin”?

  • avatar

    It’s interesting to note that Hyundai and Kia are differentiating their product significantly more so in the US than in Europe.

    There is basically no sheetmetal shared btwn the Sonata and the new Optima, the Forte and the upcoming Elantra (don’t even share the same suspension set-up), the K7/Cadenza and the upcoming Azera, etc., however, for a no. of their offerings in Europe, such as the ix20/Venga and the i30/Cee’d, it’s basically the same sheetmetal w/ diff. front and rear fascias.

  • avatar

    Part of Hyundai/Kia problem is that their market share in the Korean market which necessitates selling the same vehicle under different brands. Also Kia/Hyundai are much more bottomfeeders than in the USA and they are also smaller so they simply need the extra number of cars to make it profitable

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