Hyundai is well placed to become the market leader of alternative fuel vehicles in the fleet sector, said its new fleet director Martin Stewart.
The company currently has only one electrified vehicle – the Ioniq – but the forthcoming launch of the Kona Electric small SUV and the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell car will push the brand to the forefront, Stewart claimed.
Ioniq, which is available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicle, was last year named best plug-in car (0g/km) at the Fleet News Awards, while Hyundai won the green fleet manufacturer category.
Stewart said: “I think (the alternative fuels sector) is an area for us to take a lead in.
“We have a real opportunity. We have a very real desire and responsibility to talk about some of our new technology which will enable fleets to drive down emissions and meet some of their environmental requirements.
“We already have Ioniq. We bring to market Kona Electric in the summer and then we have Nexo coming at the beginning of next year.
“This will be small volume but it gives us the opportunity to talk about our credentials in that space and then we can introduce the rest of our range and how we have the vehicles to meet the wants, needs and demands of most fleets.”
He added: “Ioniq is up for best lower medium car at this year’s Fleet News Awards, which I think is a great testament that we now have an alternative fuel vehicle that is actually competing for an award in a traditional segment.”
Kona Electric will offer a range of up to 292 miles, while Nexo, which succeeds the ix35 Fuel Cell – the first mass produced hydrogen-powered vehicle – will have a range of 498 miles.
Ioniq is already popular and last year the manufacturer sold 3,733 into the fleet market, helping the brand to a record-breaking year.
Overall in fleet, Hyundai registered 52,570 vehicles (4% market share): year-on-year growth of 9.8% in a sector that shrunk by 4.5%.
Within this, Hyundai’s true fleet registrations grew 16%, Motability 14% and bluelight and government 7.7%.
The Tucson SUV was the most popular model with 20,157 registrations, with the i10 the second best-selling fleet car with 9,049 sales, a year-on-year increase of 34%.
Stewart said Hyundai also had its second best year with its contract hire white label product that it runs through Hyundai Capital and ALD.
The brand overall also bucked the UK new car market trend: in 2017 it grew 1.06% to 93,403 in a market which fell 5.7%. This growth gave it a 3.7% market share – its highest yet.
Hyundai wants to achieve a 4% market share this year, and although Stewart would not disclose the specific fleet ambition, he is looking for “sustainable, profitable growth”.
He added: “We are not looking for huge growth, which is a challenge to manage. It is much more about adjusting the mix slightly and being more mindful about how much goes down the direct channels.
“We do see a growth opportunity in true fleet. I want to see us grow our customer base and speak to more customers directly.
“We also want to improve our relationship with the funders in general. That’s not to say we have bad relationships with funders – we don’t, but we are a young business, certainly in fleet, so we have some catching up to do.
“There are a lot of opportunities for us to work much more closely with funders of all sizes.
“A big part of this is telling our story and making funders and fleets of all sizes – small, medium and large – aware of what we are capable of, what we have to offer and how any number of those solutions can meet their needs and on, top of that, really take the lead in the alternative fuel space.”