A QUIET year on the newmodel front is not stopping Hyundai from mounting a showroom challenge that could topple Holden from the podium in Australian motoring.
The Korean maker aims to reprise its 2015 tally of 102,000 sales despite the loss of its baby i20 — and believes that could be good enough for third behind Toyota and Mazda.
Its new model onslaught begins next year with the new i30 and Veloster, the Ioniq green car and a second Genesis model but chief operating officer Scott Grant remains bullish about this year.
“Last year we dropped i20 and that was worth about 10,000 sales. We would like to hold at the same level as last year but that’s a stiff challenge. Everything has to lift but it’s not easy to do in such a competitive market.”
The only new Hyundai this year is the Elantra, the sedan version of the next i30 hatch.
The brand has already had a month as overall market leader. Grant aims to capitalise as Holden winds down production of its locally made Commodore and Cruze.
He believes 102,000 Hyundai sales would bump Holden from third place but attaining such a result “will depend a bit on what they do and what they have planned. We’re really not that focused on any other brand.
“(In Australia) we’re looking to maximise what we do.”
Grant also reveals the company did not celebrate its No. 1 sales finish in April. “Celebrations? None at all ... we’re not that kind of an organisation. There is a continuous drive to keep moving forward. Any milestone is nice but it’s not the end of the road. There wasn’t any ‘stop and reflect’ moment.”
Even so, Grant doesn’t rule out eventually topping the sales charts for more than just a month and cites the continuous refreshing of the Hyundai lineup, extra models such as the Ioniq and baby Genesis and greater commitment to customers and dealers here.
“It’s not the be-all or end-all. It doesn’t make sense to focus on one particular outcome.”
Hyundai’s scenario doesn’t get a lot of traction with Holden. The brand will get a sales boost soon with the arrival of a new Colorado ute in August and the return of the Astra later in the year.
Boss Mark Bernhard says the brand won’t be blindly chasing volume at all costs but will be looking to grow sales.
“We’re certainly not happy with where we are from a share perspective so far this year in particular. We’ve got a lot of work to do around making sure we’re treating the customers the right way, rejuvenating the brand and launching new products. So we’re absolutely doing all those things for the long term. ... we’ll be chasing sales as hard as we can in June.”