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Hyundai makes long-term commitment to fleet

Date: 27 March 2009   |   Author:

"We need to upgrade dealers to understand the corporate market as they do retail," says Whitehorn

Hyundai is ploughing £10,000 per dealer into the first five of its new small business centres as the brand begins to gets serious about corporate market.

The firm has a 2.5-3.0% market share in the retail sector, but only 0.5% in fleet, so is looking to the business car market for growth.

"We're 70% retail so we've got a huge opportunity in the fleet market," UK boss Tony Whitehorn told BusinessCar. "We've set up the infrastructure to try to get dealers to invest. We've got five, we'll go to ten and we want to get to 30 to go to smaller SMEs, not big fleets."

The £10,000 is to cover salaries, marketing support, demo vehicles and prospecting system.

"Every manufacturer wants to get into the local market - you can either get dealers to do it or try themselves, which costs a mega amount of money," he said. "But we need to upgrade dealers to understand the corporate market as they do retail."

Whitehorn also claims Hyundai has an opportunity in the contract hire and leasing market, as firms look to spread their RV risk by expanding the number of brands on offer. And he claims a small amount of rental volume is also helpful to the brand: "We're short on used cars, we have hardly any so we're interested in small numbers - less than 1000 on rental buyback," he said. "Nobody is wanting to do buyback because they've all got too much inventory. Rental is a good opportunity when it's on your terms."

The Hyundai UK boss also confirmed that the ix-onic concept car is close to reality, and will arrive in the UK in early 2010 as the new ix35, replacing the Tucson small 4x4.

"The concept is pretty close to reality," said Whitehorn, who said the engine range will comprise 1.6 petrol and either a new 1.7 diesel, or the existing 2.0 diesel.

The firm is developing a new 1.7 diesel with CO2 of around 150g/km in the new 4x4.