Korean brand Hyundai continues to make inroads into the European market. As it launches its new C-segment i30, European Fleet & Remarketing Director Adrian Porter reveals some exceptional growth and very lofty ambitions.
What exactly is the current situation in terms of sales, and what are you targeting?
Hyundai has very high ambitions. The company is 50 years old this year, and appeared in Europe less than 40 years ago. By 2021 – in just 4 years time – we are aiming to be the top Asian car brand in Europe. Already in 2016 we sold more than 500,000 units in Europe, and this is clearly helped by the fact that 90% of our cars are designed, developed and produced here.
How were fleet sales for Hyundai in Europe in 2016?
We managed to increase true fleet sales by over 16% during the year. This was our target, and we even slightly surpassed it. Part of the reason for that was the exceptional response from fleets to the new Tucson, which opened more doors for us than we were expecting. We will be capitalising on this in 2017 of course with the new i30.
Do you have a target for penetration into fleets?
We are aiming for 25% true fleet sales, just below the current EU market average of 28%. But our private market is so strong that achieving this will not necessarily happen quickly. The growth in True fleet sales means we have successfully reduced our rental share, by nearly 22% in 2016 in an aim to improve our fleet portfolio and protect RVs.
Why do fleets and individuals buy Hyundai’s?
Hyundai is known for value for money, and with style as a second pillar. We put a huge amount of emphasis on design, which research shows is the number one criterion of choice for Hyundai buyers. But along with design, the 5-year unlimited mileage warranty which comes with all of our cars demonstrates the confidence we have in their quality too. Alongside this guarantee, we provide a free map update for the navigation system for life.
Tell us about the new i30 which you have just launched.
This is what we refer to as our ‘DNA’ car. It is at the heart of our philosophy inasmuch as it is totally European, it has all of the intelligent systems we have developed, and it has up-to-the minute powertrains. These include the 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine which pumps out no less than 120hp. An astonishing amalgamation of figures for a C-segment car!
We will follow the 5-door version with a wagon and a high powered version carrying our sporty ‘N’ badge later this year.
I would just add that the i30 is innovative in other ways too – it is, for example, one of the first C-segment cars to come with wireless smartphone charging. On top of this, it is one of the safest cars in its segment with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist and the all-new Driver Attention Alert coming as standard.
Does this 1.0 litre engine represent a sort of revolution for fleets or for the market in general?
From a TCO point of view it is obviously very appealing to fleets. It has very low CO2 emissions and also very low fuel consumption. But along with this, the 120 hp also come with very good torque – 171 Nm from 1,500 revs, and a six speed manual gearbox. So driving pleasure is also a strong feature of this engine too. We are therefore expecting it to be very popular with fleets which are looking to reduce their TCO, emissions etc., but still provide their drivers with the driving pleasure they are looking for.
What about electric powertrains?
We are putting a great deal of focus on electric mobility. The new Hyundai Ioniq was launched a short while ago, the first car to offer a range of electric-based powertrains including full EV. We will be unveiling an all-new fuel cell vehicle in 2018 – to be previewed at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. And by 2020 we will be offering 14 fully electrified powertrains.
You were recently voted top brand worldwide for initial quality by J.D. Power. Are you capitalising on this?
The J.D. Power rating has a very strong effect for us, particularly in the USA. We don’t push it from an advertising point of view in most markets, but for us customer satisfaction is our key priority going forward. We have reached a position in Europe where we can focus on customer satisfaction, and this will drive sales. But it is clear that this is great recognition for us, and something we need to maintain and build on. We look at our own internal standards which are extremely high and that’s how we measure ourselves. We are probably more critical internally than the external bodies.
Copyright pictures: Hyundai Motor Europe