Hyundai is mounting an assault on the fleet market after securing sales success in the retail sector over the past couple of years.
Scrappage helped the carmaker to just over 2% of market share in 2009 putting it in 12th place overall with 57,000 vehicles.
The sales figures show that it only achieved an unremarkable fifteenth place in fleet.
“I think if you look at our sales profile during 2009 we were very reliant on retail – around 90% of our sales are retail not fleet – and we recognise that’s a weakness,” explained the company’s UK managing director Tony Whitehorn.
“Ultimately, what I want to get to is around 60:40 retail fleet – it might even get to 55:45 - but if you’re going to be a top 10 manufacturer you have to have that split and you have to have a fleet proposition.”
In seeking fleet sales success, Hyundai has first bolstered its fleet team, by doubling the number of field sales staff and putting more resource into administration.
In addition, it has launched the ix35, which Whitehorn believes will be key to strengthening its fleet proposition by offering a suite of vehicles, especially with the new D segment i40 being launched in 2011.
“What we’ve got now is the i10, i20 and the i30 – great volume vehicles – and what corporate customers are saying to us is that’s really good, but we need something to offer our senior managers and the ix35 does that for us,” said Whitehorn.
“It’s a vehicle that has style, a good price, phenomenal RVs and good SMRs, and when you get that combination it starts appealing to the fleet customer.”
The ix35 goes on sale this month at £16,495 with a sales target of 3,000 vehicles this year. Key rivals will include the Toyota RAV4, Ford Kuga, VW Tiguan and Nissan Qashqai.
It comes in two and four wheel drive specification and will be initially equipped with 2-litre petrol and diesel engines. A smaller 1.6-litre GDI petrol and 1.7-litre CRDi diesel engine, plus automatic versions, will arrive in September. The 1.7-diesel has a CO2 figure of just 139g/km.
However, Whitehorn recognises fleet sales success will rely on changing people’s perceptions. “What we’ve got to do is convince the user-chooser that this a car he’d like to be seen in and I think the ix35 goes a long way to doing just that,” he said.