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Hyundai's basic instinct

Hyundai showed off the TB (think basic) concept car at the Tokyo motor show, a virtually production-ready version of the supermini to be launched at the Geneva motor show next spring. It will reach UK showrooms in September.

The South Korean company is targeting the booming European B segment market with the unnamed model filling a gap between Hyundai's Amica micro MPV and the Accent.

A spokeswoman for Hyundai Car UK said: "We'll be sent a short list of names from the factory, and in the context of what our European colleagues prefer, a decision will be made."

Planned as a basic value-for-money rival to undercut Ford's new Fiesta, VW's Polo and Vauxhall's Corsa the TB's production successor should have a £7,000 starting price.

The baby Hyundai will be equipped with an all-new 1-litre engine and current 1.3-litre power units. The three-cylinder, 1.5-litre turbo diesel, soon to be used in the Accent and currently fitted to the Matrix compact MPV, will also be fitted.

While the car will initially be built in South Korea, the company's Indian production plant is also being considered. It shares the platform used for the futuristic Clix concept at September's Frankfurt Show.

The TB is less than four metres long, 1.6 metres high and under 1.5 metres wide. Larger-engined models will be available with an electronically-controlled, four-speed automatic transmission.

Its introduction next year will follow the facelifted Hyundai Sonata and the all-new Coupe plus diesel variants of the Accent and Elantra. (November 12, 2001)

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