Saturday 25 October 2008

i-popping news: Hyundai set to expand MPV range

Hyundai’s European president believes his firm’s future lies in MPVs and more derivatives of its existing models.

Kun-Hee Ahn, chief of the Korean firm’s European operation said: "The world is currently a very unfriendly place for SUVs. For us the future has two directions. We will do more MPVs: our smaller B and C segment i20 and i30 will each have a people carrier version built on their platform." The i30 MPV is reportedly very close to the i-Mode concept from earlier this year, is expected to be unveiled in 2010. A vehicle based on the newly launched i20 supermini will follow it.

Ahn added: "We don’t think the future is in opening new niches. We’ll let other companies do that. We will offer people more choice with our existing cars. So each model will have a larger number of engine sizes and trim levels."

Despite the global downturn Hyundai and sister company Kia still have ambitious sales targets. Ahn claimed: "Currently our worldwide sales are just below four million annually and we want to sell six million cars a year by 2010 – and make money on those we sell. We think it’s possible because we’ll achieve growth through emerging markets such as India."

"In America (where the i50 is called Genesis) we are stealing customers from Mercedes, BMW and Lexus. But people aren’t as brand sensitive there. Here, if we price a car at more than €30,000/£23,600 at todays rate, customers can’t handle it so we still have some thinking to do."

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