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Hyundai i40 to deliver a dash of large family style

Date: 01 March 2011   |   Author: Guy Bird

Hyundai UK's first fleet-focused large family car will be marketed for its style above all else, says MD Tony Whitehorn.

As he told BusinessCar: "It's a furiously competitive marketplace worth about 200,000 in the UK across hatch, saloon and estate variants, and what this segment wants is a bit of style as they're invariably company car user-choosers. Affordability is important - it's got to have good contract hire rates - but more important is style, and that's where we've really put the emphasis."

The i40 will launch at the Geneva motorshow in Tourer form first and it is the estate version that will launch in the UK first too, arriving in July before the saloon in October.

After a fantastic year of fleet sales in 2010 (Hyundai jumped nine places to number ?? [CHK]) Whitehorn hopes the i40 model will persuade even more fleets to consider the marque. "When we talk to corporate customers a lot want a one-stop shop, but currently we have nothing for their senior managers. They want a range."

Whitehorn expects to sell 2500 i40s in 2011 and 6000-10,000 in a full year (including saloon and estate), with the majority going to fleets.

2011 also sees the launch of Hyundai's first eco-focused models - badged simply Blue - that denote sub-100g/km CO2 status through stop/start, low-rolling resistance tyres and other tech, and that will be launched on the i10 in March and the i20 and i30 in July.

In September the Veloster coupe launches with a very unusual asymmetric USP featuring two doors on the passenger side for easier access but only one on the driver's side. And unlike the Mini Clubman's fixed doors, the brand is swapping the configuration to work for right-hand drive markets. 500-1000 UK sales are earmarked for 2011 with 4000 in 2012.

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