Hyundai i30 to win over brand-conscious fleets
19 March 2012
Author: Hugh Hunston
Hyundai's campaign to overcome "residual stigma and negative history" within the "brand-conscious" business car sector will be consolidated by the new i30 hatchback and estate car.
That is the verdict of the company's UK president Tony Whitehorn, who said: "In the corporate market those misconceptions about the Hyundai brand are harder to correct.
"The retail sector is quicker to adapt, more receptive, because in fleet you must convert the fleet manager, the board and the person who drives the car."
He continued: "Hyundai's lack of a real corporate presence is changing. Our people are being asked to come in by companies, and historically we have struggled to get through those doors. Benefit-in-kind and running costs are now taking precedence over brand. Your pocket speaks more loudly than your heart."
Whitehorn forecast that 60% of 14,000 i30 volumes this year would be business sales, including the Tourer variant, due for release in June, which he claimed has generated particular interest among police forces. He expects 1500 police vehicle sales this year, maintaining the brand's position as a leading blue light provider.
Last year, Hyundai's fleet factor was 40% including captive demonstrators, rental, corporate and Motability, whereas Whitehorn pointed out the industry average was 55%.
He admitted: "We have some catching up to do, but we have with the i40 saloon and i30 hatch plus their estate car counterparts provided a proper portfolio, which national fleet sales manager Martin Wilson will use to good effect."
The facelifted i20, with a 1.1-litre three-cylinder diesel engine generating an 84g/km CO2 rating, is due in May with the first three-door i30 believed to be arriving by the end of this year along with a new Santa Fe SUV.
The company has also recently won its largest-ever business deal with a 500-car fleet order from Enterprise PLC, a Lancashire-based service and maintenance provider for local authorities and public utilities.
Covering i40s and the new i30, the contract is the result of Enterprise's previous experience with i40s. Whitehorn said: "Word of mouth endorsement from staff pleased with their i40s has contributed to this contract, which demonstrates our extended reach in the fleet sector."
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