The new Hyundai i40 has made its world public debut in Geneva this week. In a recent news release from the BBC, Hyundai is looking to venture into the European fleet market with its new i40 series eco-friendly vehicle.
The i40 model and has been developed specifically for the European market and maintains the signature features from the i-range. In terms of performance Hyundai has placed a 140 HP 1.6L GDI engine for the entry level, while the top of the range i40 will feature a 177-hp 2.0L gasoline engine.
On the interior, the i40 boasts heated and reclining front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and an active de-mist system that automatically detects and clears mist on the windscreen. These characteristics are now classed as standard within the mid range fleet vehicle and if Hyundai wanted to be seen as a potential contender it needed to match those interior options available from the competition. All great features for the European climate!
Hyundai has forged ahead with making its cars greener as it see this as a major feature when competing against the stiff competition within the fleet market.
Hyundai is steadily moving forward with the development of environmentally-friendly cars of the future. As a result of lengthy research and investment in eco-positive cars, Hyundai’s green technology will present a new standard for tomorrow’s automobiles. The Diesel version will get a 1.7-liter diesel engine, codenamed ’UII’ that only emits 113 g/km of CO2 – a (best-in-class) figure that also demonstrates the advances the company is making towards global leadership in eco-technology.
The fleet market is crowded in Europe with a lot of successful cars such as the Mondeo, Insignia and the Passat. Hyundai believes in the i40s features, eco-technology and light-weight performance that it has come up with the right vehicle at the right time. Hyundai has put together an extensive package that will make it a potential contender against its closets rivals, but time will tell if the i40 will become a dominant player in the fleet car arena.
Hyundai is aiming for a 5% share of the fleet market by 2015 as it pushes into new market segments. "There's a common misconception that fleet vehicles equals lower profit margins, but it doesn't necessarily have to be the case," says Mr Rushforth, pointing out that "bigger cars have bigger margins". "We've achieved critical mass with the i-range and that visibility has momentum of its own, and if we can improve the awareness of our brand and our product, we can grow even more," he believes.
Last year, car sales in the Europe fell 5.5%. Hyundai meanwhile saw sales rise 4.4%, with its Korean alliance partner Kia gaining similarly with a 3.9% rise in market share. Hyundai has already overtaken Toyota within retail sales - "We’re predominantly a retail-oriented manufacturer at the moment” said Mr Rushforth. Hyundai’s cars are already considerably more refined than they were in a few years ago, and given time they might well start giving more upmarket players a run for their money. Mr Rushforth believes that once the company has the fleet market conquered, Hyundai will be eyeing up the elusive luxury car segment, where profit margins are even greater.
It will be interesting to see if indeed the Hyundai i40 will become a fleet managers vehicle of choice. It has much to offer and will take the fight to its rivals, but time will tell if it really does become a fleet force to be reckoned with. The international release of details and pictures for the i40 appears to have caught Hyundai Australia by surprise - the company today issued a release stating it couldn't confirm whether the i40 was coming to Australia or not.
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see…
Do you think Hyundai’s new i40 has what it takes to become a fleet contender?