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Hyundai adds i20 to battle Fiesta

Date: 01 October 2008   |   Author: John Challen

The new i20, will be "the most significant Hyundai vehicle for the coming years", according to Allan Rushforth, vice president at Hyundai Motor Europe.

Rushforth believes the replacement for the Getz will succeed thanks to both the changing face of the supermini segment, and Hyundai's recent crop of new small cars.

"Our whole business model is changing," he said. "Off-roaders are under pressure, and as 20% of our business is 4x4s, this presents a big challenge for us. But in the next 12 months we will see growth, but it will be in small cars, not 4x4s."

Rushforth admits that with 80% of its sales in retail, Hyundai has plenty of work to do in the fleet market.

"We offer products that appeal to the business community because of the competitive pricing and the low levels of vehicle taxation on our cars. But we haven't had the structures in Europe, to move the fleet business forward. While it has been better in the UK than in some other markets, we have a long way to go.

"We have to reach our target for the fleet market of a 40% mix over the next five years. We've introduced three new products to market in the past 12 months (i20 follows the launch of i10 and i130) and they all need to find a home in the corporate sector."

Rushforth is aiming high when talking about that possible home: "People could choose a Volkswagen Golf and pay more in tax or choose i20 and go on holiday. The decision is theirs."

Despite prices not yet being finalised, Hyundai said that with i10 leading its class, and i30 performing strongly, the i20 could be the most competitive car in its class for prices and RVs. Expect to pay around £1000 under the equivalent Fiesta of Corsa model.