The Korean maker has made the decision following changes to the EuroNCAP crash test scheme. From this year, only cars fitted with ESP as standard will be able to earn a 5 star score.
Hyundai has therefore made the bold decision to fit the anti-spin electronic aid to every variant of its Ford Fiesta-rivalling supermini, which launches in dealers this month – even the £8195 1.2 Classic model.
‘It wasn’t an easy economic decision,’ said a spokesman. ‘But Hyundai wants to make the safest car in the supermini class, so we had to do it.’
Prices will rise by £200 to accommodate the change. This will take the form of a £100 list price increase. ‘We’re effectively discounting today’s car by £100, too,’ says the spokesman. This will ensure the first batch of 3000 cars remain attractive.
Cars delivered to dealers from April will feature the standard ESP device.
Where available, ESP is an expensive cost-option on most rivals. It costs £300 on a Ford Fiesta, £350 on a Peugeot 207 and £400 on a Vauxhall Corsa.
Hyundai admits that, left to buyers, only around 2-3 per cent choose the option. ‘That’s why we made it standard,’ added the spokesman.
The carrot of a potentially class-leading 5 star EuroNCAP crash result, though, cannot also been far from the company’s mind…
By Richard Aucock