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Matrix to tackle Renault Scenic

Renault

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Hyundai will launch the Matrix, rival to the Renault Scenic and Daewoo Tacuma, in the UK at the end of the year with a target price of £11,000.

The newcomer is part of a complete product revival for the Korean carmaker which has ambitions to be among the world's top five carmakers within the next decade.

At the Frankfurt show in September, Hyundai will reveal its new coupe and this model, plus the next version of the Sonata, will debut in 2002.

Hyundai has also developed its first B-sector car to challenge big sellers like the Ford Fiesta. It will be unveiled at the Tokyo motor show in October with a European debut set for the Geneva show in March.

Seok-San Jang, general manager for Europe in Hyundai's international business team, said he hoped this car would help increase its share of the European market from 1.4% to more than 2%.

The B-segment accounts for about a quarter of all cars sold in the UK and one third in Europe. “Not competing in this sector has been a stumbling block for Hyundai,” said Mr Jang.

Sales ambitions for Matrix in the UK are 2,000 a year which would help Hyundai push annual sales above 30,000 – last year its registrations totalled just under 29,000 units.

The Matrix is an all-new car designed by Pininfarina in Italy to make sure it has genuine appeal to the European market.

When it goes on sale in the UK it will have a choice of 1.6- or 1.8-litre petrol engine. A new family of diesel engines has also been developed by Hyundai and Matrix will be first with the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder unit which will also be fitted to the Accent from the middle of next year.

Matrix is a five-seater with good rear legroom and luggage space. Rear seats fold flat without the headrests having to be removed.

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