It was an up and down year for Hyundai, much of it driven by what deals (and models) were in the market.
The death of the i20 in 2015 was always going to leave a hole and, despite trying to plug it with Accent, there was a net drop in volume. The return of the Hyundai Tucson nameplate only held pace with the ix35 it replaced and, while i30 grew impressively, it was on the back of massive discounts that saw sales leap and dive throughout the year. The mega deals were all about battling through a year in which new product was minimal (the Elantra early in the year was the biggest news); market share dropped as a result, although sales volume was about even.
2016 SALES: 103K
2016 YTD RESULTS: 94,503 sales, down 0.4%, 8.8% market share
2017 FORECAST: 105K
Hyundai desperately needs a small SUV, something set to arrive around September. That promises a kick in the second half of the year, albeit one that could come at the expense of other models, including i30, a new model of which, pictured left, is due around April. The i30 is by far Hyundai’s biggest-selling model so is crucial to any big sales play in 2017, and the new model promises big improvements to driving nous and a new Euro-designed interior that ups the game for a company that’s had some plasticky presentations on recent efforts. Hyundai will also make its foray into the eco-friendly hybrid market with the Ioniq plug-in, which is not about big volumes but will add some incremental sales and help establish the brand as more than a maker of good-value cars.
Reducing the reliance on Hyundai i30. Sales of small cars dropped almost five percent in 2016, so it’s a declining market, yet one that accounts for 42 percent of Hyundai sales (once you include the Elantra sedan). Also, Hyundai has made it clear the new i30 will be sold more on merit than price, something that will see it fight more fairly with Golf, Corolla and Mazda 3 – which will make life a lot tougher for it. Hyundai is also under pressure from multiple levels; Mazda and Toyota keep applying pressure from above, while sister brand Kia and keen-to-recover Holden are charging hard from below.
Big sales, but many of them as a result of big discounts. Hyundai now needs to rely less on the deals and more on the cars, something that will provide plenty of challenges over coming years.