PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 September, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 September, 2002, 12:00am


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There's a new arrival in Hyundai's new showroom (tel: 2527 2777) in the Sun's Group Centre on Gloucester Road. The two-litre, four-door 2003 Hyundai Sonata has the double-headlight 'eyes' of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class and a rear so similar to the Jaguar S-Type that Foot Down cannot help wondering whether those two saloons have had a romantic shunt in a golf-club car park. The Sonata looks pretty sleek in metallic silver and from the side, and at speed, you might be forgiven for thinking the South Korean car was of German descent. 'Cliff' (below), a representative of distributors Taikoo Asian Motors, showed the Sonata has a plush interior that's spacious up front and with as much room in the rear as the E-Class, (which isn't hard), and the racier, 150ps Mazda 6 ($168,000). Capable of 133ps at 6,000rpm and a top speed of 183km/h, the Sonata still has 'enough power for Hong Kong', says Cliff, and we agree. The saloon might come across as Hyundai's shameless reproduction of German substance and British growl, but it is easy on the eye, worth a look and cars are available now, says Damian Yip, the dealer's spokesman. The Sonata could worry the Toyota Camry, Nissan Cefiro and Honda Accord, but not the zippy Mazda 6. Few two-litre boss' cars offer European-saloon finish at this price and the Sonata can turn heads in any car park.

We are intrigued to hear BMW Group China is providing 70 new BMW 7-Series 735i limousines for the 2002 Forbes Global CEO Conference, which is expected to attract 350 of Asia's and the world's biggest, swinging corporate Richards to Hong Kong on Tuesday. 'This co-operation between Forbes and BMW has many synergies,' BMW Concessionaires (Hong Kong) managing director Guenther Seemann is quoted to say in an SAR government press release. 'Both Forbes and BMW appeal to the same target audience and we both target successful business leaders and CEOs who contribute significantly in their respective fields.' And, says Cynthia Lockeyear of event public-relations firm Weber Shandwick, the magazine and the marque clicked so well at last year's bosses' bash in Singapore that their collaboration continues in the Convention and Exhibition Centre and Grand Hyatt hotel this year. But Foot Down wonders whether BMW's 'official-car' status has boosted the bottom line of the marque's local distributors, BMW Concessionaires (HK). According to the dealer's marketing executive, Stephen Chan, all the conference's $810,000 735i models will be sold off as 'slightly used' at $688,000 after the two-day event, which is a $122,000 'hit' per motor for the local outlet. Foot Down also hears BMW Concessionaires (HK) has had to find drivers and ensure they are trained to government chauffeuring standard for the Invest Hong Kong conference, which means many of the visiting corporate honchos won't actually get a chance to drive the saloon. But locals can snap up a good 7-Series deal by Friday, particularly, Lockeyear points out, as the saloons will be ready to drive away. Hong Kong's roads, traffic and any more appalling weather should keep the visitors' mileage down this week and the cars' 15 per cent price reduction could tempt the canny or even buyers of hotel or ministerial fleets.

A couple of marques have found an art in sales. Arts-loving Volkswagen has long enjoyed the fast lane at the Fringe Club, where it sponsors an exhibition of the works of Christopher Doyle, which runs until October 5. Spotted among the culturally sensitive were (above from left) Fringe Club director Benny Chia, the artist Doyle, Harmony Motors managing director Peter Mak and Harmony Motors general manager Wilson Mak.

Toyota is also revving up behind the Cadaques Orchestra, having sponsored classical music performances across the region since 1990. Yvonne Kwok of the marque's local distributors, Crown Motors, is offering 10 tickets to the Cadaques Orchestra's performance 'of an eclectic mix' of classical music at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall, at 8pm on October 7. To win your tickets, answer these questions:

1. What nationality is the Cadaques Orchestra?

2. What nationality is Toyota?

Please send your answers by e-mail to: 'Toyota Concert Draw' at