Getz tops class; Hyundai up 72%
21 January 2005
Getz tops class; Hyundai up 72%
It’s official, Hyundai’s brilliant little Getz is New Zealand’s most popular car in its class.
Hyundai sold exactly 1,100 of the little stunner in 2004, outpointing Honda Jazz and all other cars in the micro / light sector.
The cute, practical and reliable Getz is one of several stars which sent the South Korean brand’s sales soaring in 2004: Hyundai is up a massive 72 percent on the previous year, on official figures just released.
Hyundai sold 1,131 more passenger vehicles last year than in 2003, easily topping the growth charts among major brands in New Zealand.
Meanwhile Hyundai is riding the crest of a wave worldwide, set to break into the top half-dozen global carmakers this year.
“We know none of the other mainstream brands can match anything like our growth in New Zealand, and more is coming,” commented the General Manager of Hyundai Automotive NZ, Philip Eustace.
“What’s noticeable is the growth is continuing, it’s no flash in the pan. We expect another year of sharp rises in 2005, in individual models and overall.
“Clearly New Zealand is switching on to the Hyundai promise of reliability, safety and value for money.
The success of Getz is clear in the numbers: its 1,100 units is more than double the 542 sold the previous year.
It should not have caught its competitors on the hop, as the car has been selling well since its introduction, however Hyundai has pulled off a coup to oust other brands which long considered the class their own.
And there’s more to come. The Getz is due for a re-styling later this year and Hyundai will also introduce the diesel-engined version which caused such a stir on the recent EnergyWise economy rally.
Another passenger model to more than double its sales was the much-admired Elantra sedan and liftback, which jumped from 222 to 476 sales.
Meanwhile in the hard-fought SUV sector Hyundai’s success was just as remarkable, perhaps even jaw-dropping.
The introduction of the widely respected Tucson compact SUV did not take sales from its larger brothers, on the contrary it boosted them.
Its closest stablemate Santa Fe increased sales from 251 to 314, while the larger Terracan nearly tripled its sales from 65 to 173.
Hyundai tips Tucson as the star SUV: its 195 sales since its launch in August 2004 were severely limited by supply constraints which are still not fully freed.
“We expect to land enough Tucson to meet existing orders over the next couple of months, then hopefully you will be able to walk into a Hyundai dealership and buy the model of your choice,” said Mr Eustace.
“And this year we will have more surprises in store for the SUV sector.
“On the whole we are very confident for the future, with several models arriving with revised styling … and by mid-year we will have the all-new Sonata sedan which is getting rave reviews from its pre-release at an American auto show this month,” he said.
Mr Eustace attributes part of Hyundai’s success to its pricing policy, which assures buyers the published recommended price is already competitive considering the high level of specification and the opposition’s high retail price position.
“One look at our pricing compared with competitors’ confirms we have really sharpened our pencil,” he said.
This will likely be the year Hyundai climbs to sixth among global carmakers.
No less than Japan’s auto industry publication Nihon Keizai concedes Hyundai is likely to leapfrog Nissan in 2005.
South Korean giant Hyundai has set a sales goal of 3.7 million units, chiefly through increased production in the United States and China.
Together with its Kia subsidiary, Hyundai sold 3.18 million units worldwide last year, a 13 percent increase over 2003. The group raised production in the United States, Europe and China, offsetting a poor domestic market at home.
"It seems as though the Japanese newspaper reported the news as a wake-up call to Japanese companies about Hyundai Motor Group's recent progress," said a Hyundai official.
Hyundai has stated that it is planning a 55.7% rise in production at its overseas plants.
And the fast-rising brand has loftier ambitions still. It aims to surpass Daimler Chrysler to be among the world's five largest car sellers by 2010, producing 3 million vehicles in South Korea and 2 million units abroad.
"It's really a matter of time before Hyundai Motor Group … becomes one of the top five carmakers," said Kang Sang-min, an analyst at Tong Yang Investment Bank. He expects that target to be reached in two to three years.
While most carmakers seem to have had a not-so-good time in Europe's 2004 decreasing car market, Hyundai clocked up its best sales result in history. Hyundai's efforts to raise brand awareness by sponsoring events such as the UEFA EURO 2004 and the Summer Olympic Games in Athens clearly paid off. Nearly 340,000 Europeans bought a Hyundai in 2004, increasing Hyundai sales by 21 per cent.
And last year was a record-breaker for Hyundai Motor America, selling 418,615 vehicles for an increase of 4.6 percent over 2003. Now the brand is aiming for sales of 484,000 vehicles in 2005, an increase of 65,000 vehicles, as production at its new assembly plant in Alabama begins in March.
Hyundai was one of only two or three brands to make good in a very tough market in China last year.
In Australia Hyundai sales soared by 37.5 percent over 2003, to 42,510 passenger vehicles, in one of the biggest trend turnarounds in the local car industry for some years. Hyundai’s share of the total Australian vehicle market went from 3.4 to 4.5 percent.
In passenger car sales, Hyundai overtook Mitsubishi to claim fifth place and increased its market share to 6.4 percent from 4.7 percent in 2003.