Fleet News

Hyundai growth to slow this year

Hyundai is only planning to sell 700 more cars in 2013 than it did last year in the UK as president and chief executive officer Tony Whitehorn is faced with a shortage of supply.

Whitehorn said: "70 per cent of the cars we sell come from our factories in the Czech Republic and Turkey and they are at full capacity. We can't source from elsewhere because other massive growth markets such as China, India and the US are crying out for our products."

Additional capacity for the UK will become available from the Turkish plant which is to take over right-hand-drive production of the i10 and i20 which are currently made in India - but this will not be until sometime in 2014.

Hyundai sold 74,285 vehicles in the UK last year, a record number giving it an all-time market share high of 3.63 per cent and a place in the Top 10 sales chart - the first time ever for a South Korean brand.

Just four years ago, the South Korean brand was selling under 30,000 a year here.

Whitehorn said: "Four years ago we said our target was the top 10 by 2012 and we made it - just. Now we will be pushing for top five in the medium term despite the fact that we only expect to increase sales by around 700 this year to 75,000."

The slowdown this year will allow Hyundai to consolidate after four years of strong growth and to concentrate on building the brand in Europe, added Whitehorn.

"2013 will be a plateau year and it is an opportunity to invest in the brand. It is not a bad position to be in given the over capacity issues faced by other manufacturers in Europe.

"Much of our sales success has been with the new ‘i' models which have been conquesting customers from other brands. As we start to replace these models we have to concentrate on retaining customers."

Andrew Cullis, Hyundai's UK marketing chief, added: "We are now a mainstream brand and that is a dangerous place to be because it means we will have to work even harder on the customer experience. They now expect so much more from Hyundai."

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