Hyundai unveils the Lafesta, an all-new, China-specific compact sporty sedan aimed at the country’s burgeoning youth market, at the Beijing auto show.
Hyundai describes the new entry, produced by its Beijing Hyundai Motor joint venture with local automaker BAIC at their newly launched Chongqing plant, as a sport sedan.
It’s powered by a 1.6L GDi turbo 4-cyl. mated with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Detailed specs have not been released and the focus, for now, is on the vehicle’s styling.
According to Hyundai China design chief Simon Loasby, the Lafesta exudes the automaker’s “sensuous sportiness” design philosophy and will attract new generations of buyers.
“China is evolving quickly and so are Chinese people’s attitudes. They are more self-confident, positive and creative. The Lafesta will help us reflect this shifting trend,” Loasby says at the unveiling.
The new entry, which won’t hit the market until fourth-quarter 2018, is aimed at China’s enormous buyer population born in the 1985-1995 era and now are in their early 20s and early 30s.
The Lafesta name had been a hallmark of Nissan since 2004, when it unveiled its compact Lafesta MPV, built on the same platform as the Renault Legane. It was retired in 2012 following the 2011 launch of the Nissan Lafesta Highway Star, which ended its sales run in March.
Also at the Beijing show, Kia’s China JV, Dongfeng Yueda Kia Motors, debuts another all-new, China-specific vehicle aimed at young buyers, the Yi Pao urban crossover.
“In designing Yi Pao, the main goal was to come up with a young, dynamic, practical car rooted in Kia’s DNA,” says Oleg Son, chief of Kia Design China. “Crisp structural lines and a Targa-style C-pillar are key features that are designed to appeal to a young generation.”
Kia reveals no information about the powertrain or other technical details. It does note the Yi Pao badge in English means “One shot.”