Fleet market becomes vital to Hyundai
Forthcoming models will include the new ix35 C-segment crossover, which goes on sale this spring and will be followed later in 2010 by facelifts for the i10 and i30 plus the introduction of a new B segment MPV on the i30 platform.
Next will see the introduction of the company's three-door coupe – two doors on one side and one on the other – based on the Velosta concept car seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show two years ago. Hyundai has confirmed that the doors will be switched round for right-hand-drive markets.
Also in 2011 will be an all-new i30, the Genesis Coupe and the new D-segment i40 to replace the Sonata, initially in estate form followed later by a saloon. Meanwhile the company's UK managing director Tony Whitehorn and his team are still debating whether to import Hyundai's hybrid model, due out in 2012, into the UK.
Backed by such models, Hyundai is looking to gain entry to the top 10 sales list in the UK this year but admits that the fleet market will be critical to this.
Mr Whitehorn said: 'In 2009 we had just over 2% market share which put us in 12th place. If we can lift our share to 3% then we should be able to creep into the top 10.
'To do this we need to be stronger in fleet – by that I mean company vehicle fleets, not daily rentals. We are making progress with driving schools and that is important for us because it means we can potentially capture younger customers.'
At the same time, the Hyundai image will be upgraded to portray a more quality image, backed up by the dealers.
'The brand was introduced as a budget brand and to be honest we probably stuck with that image too long. Hyundai is now moving more upmarket and that is reflected in the vehicles we now produce.
'We also need to reflect that in our dealer network. There have been a number of terminations in the past 18 months and we have appointed six new dealers already this year.
'We have told the network the direction we are going and that it requires some investment by them. We are moving away from the small, family-run businesses, particularly in metropolitan areas, and appointing more regional groups,' concluded Mr Whitehorn.