Korean giant Hyundai (who also owns the popular Kia Motors) is getting very serious about the Fleet market. Not surprising really given that the brand is experiencing phenomenal growth throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
At a presentation in Frankfurt last week, Hyundai's Senior VP and COO Allan Rushforth was enthusiastic about the company's growth. In 2011 over 4 million Hyundai cars were sold globally with 403,000 of those going to European customers.
Today the company has a market share of 3.3% in Europe but it is confident of making the 3.5% target by the end of the year. A focus on "Design and Desirability is Making a Difference". The company's sales are up 9.8% in a market that's down 7% it appears that new car buyers are responding well to the sleek modern look of the brand's line up.
European at Heart?
When talking about the quality and reliability of its vehicles Hyundai is keen to stress its European credentials. The company has its own R&D centre in Russelheim, Germany and is proud to claim that the new i30 Wagon was "Designed, Engineered and Produced in Europe". Top executives can be heard referring to the brand as a true 'European Citizen' and its recent sponsorship of the European Football Championship certainly brought the brand closer to that audience.
Hyundai Fleet Sales
Hyundai recognises that the company has some work to do around its fleet brand awareness. A competitive sector that's dominated by German brands, a successful fleet sales strategy needs to recognise that fleet buyers will focus on factors such as Residual Value, Reliability and Overall Total Cost of Ownership.
The company certainly has a keen understanding of what the fleet sector requires. In 2011 Hyundai fleet doubled its sales to leasing partners and is hoping for similar growth in 2012. A focus on residual values has brought about the introduction of 'i-Best'. A scheme for Hyundai's used cars that certifies and approves each used car sold through the programme. We can expect to see this programme launched in Ireland later this year.
The latest car to be offered by Hyundai that's sure to do well in fleet sales is the i30 Wagon. The C-Segment car is designed to offer value in Price, Warranty and Roominess.
Although prices weren't available at the time of our visit I can testify to the impressive boot space offered by the 'Wagon' configuration. Increased by 27% on the last model I can see this being a strong contender for the sales rep / merchandiser who needs plenty of room and a comfortable drive.
We were given the keys to a 1.6 Litre DCI and took to roads around the Rhine valley to experience its drivability. Once you get used to the engine's gear ratio we found that it could comfortably hold its own on the Autobahn and overtake without too much fuss. It handled well on the smaller roads too and all in all offered a very pleasant drive with plenty of features to keep the company car driver comfortable throughout the day.
It's not surprising that Hyundai was already shortlisted for the Motorcheck Fleet Car Awards and with product as impressive as the i30 Wagon (and the upcoming Santa Fe) I would expect future company car owners to be looking closely at the brand.