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Hyundai focuses on brand recognition

Despite the scrappage schemes in many countries that followed the 2008 banking collapse and led to a huge surge in Hyundai sales, brand awareness has barely improved. ‘

We're back where we were five years ago,’ said the company's European COO and senior vice-president, Allan Rushforth.

‘It's probably because we've invested more in the fabric of the business than in marketing, but unaided awareness is instrumental in increasing sales and market shares.’

The depth of customer knowledge varies from country to country, said Mr Rushforth. ‘We have been most successful in what I call the secondary markets – Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium. In the Netherlands our brand awareness is 25%, and it's the same in Poland. In the UK it's 20%, but in France it's only 11% and in Germany 16%.’

The company is hoping its involvement in the World Rally Championship from next year, along with its continuing support for football's World Cup and European Cup of Nations, will change that but is also taking action to raise brand awareness to an average of 30% across Europe – the targets will vary from country to country.

‘They will be dependent on the investment we are prepared to make,’ Mr Rushforth admitted, ‘but one thing we will certainly be doing is increasing our digital presence.’

Even being associated with major sporting events is no guarantee of lasting awareness, he cautioned. ‘Our association with FIFA (football's governing body) is great, but it's time-bound. The peak is not long-lasting. There's obviously greater awareness in the countries that enjoy success. In Spain (the home of the European and world champions) it's massive. All I can hope for is that the World Rally Championship will balance out the chronology a bit. It would be nice if we could just make something out of being there and taking part.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.