Hyundai’s Model Naming Conventions: From 0 to Fubar in Just 4 Years

Hyundai is one of the world’s biggest automakers, and the most visible of South Korea’s business and industrial acumen. So you would think a company that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Toyota and pre-bailout GM would be pretty consistent with its model naming conventions, right?

Well, not exactly. When Hyundai first launched the i30 hatchback in Europe, Australia and other markets, it seemed that familiar nameplates such as Elantra and Sonata would soon be dead and buried. Not so. In fact, the i30 CW (basically, the station wagon version of the i30), is still sold in the U.S. as the Elantra Touring.

And there's another thing. When the “i” and “ix” naming convention was introduced by Hyundai, it seemed to me that the “i” names would be for cars and the “ix” for the brand’s SUVs. This too was not to be. In Australia, the Hyundai Sonata is sold as the i45 and the upcoming ix20 is a B-segment MPV, not a mini SUV.

So what gives, Hyundai? Why can’t you keep the names internally consisted? Audi never had this problem. A’s for cars and Q’s for SUVs. Oh, I forgot about the TT and R8. Damn it, guys! It can’t be that difficult to stay consistent. It irks me, as I’m a pedant and a stickler for uniformity.

So that’s my two cents. We now return you to your regular scheduled blog.

By Tristan Hankins


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