The contract allows all police forces in the UK to purchase Hyundai cars and vans and is expected to give the company a substantial share of the 7,800 vehicles purchased annually for police work outside of London, plus around 2,000 acquired by the Metropolitan force in the capital.

The most popular Hyundai vehicles are expected to be the i20, i30, ix35, Santa Fe and iLoad van. Several are already on trial at forces around the country, including London’s Metropolitan force, the biggest in the UK.

Hyundai says that low-emission versions of the i20 and i30 are a good choice for "beat" patrol cars, the ix35 4x4 is perfect for rural constabularies while the new 194bhp Santa Fe 4x4 is powerful and spacious enough to replace the larger off-roaders that have traditionally been the first choice for traffic police.

Hyundai UK's managing director, Tony Whitehorn, said: 'Anyone buying a car needs to make sure that they are getting the best possible package for their money. That’s especially true when you are buying thousands of vehicles and spending taxpayers’ money! The quality, reliability, resale value and performance of Hyundai vehicles has shone through and they’ve been given the green light to carry a blue light.'

Like all Hyundai cars, any sold to police forces will be covered by a Five Year unlimited mileage warranty.