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201331 May

Watch out GM, VW and Toyota; Hyundai is Coming


Hyundai has come a really long way. From a car company which began operations in 1967 (its first car, the Pony, was a cheap and cheerful compact car which borrowed Mitsubishi running gear), it is today the world’s fourth-largest car-maker if you combine sales of Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia. The three car-makers which sell more are GM, VW AG and Toyota, with Hyundai-Kia today selling more cars than Ford and Renault-Nissan.


Hyundai today is the fastest-growing car maker in the world, and with good reason. Its recipe for success is simple: ample features and good value, all wrapped up in a neat body. In every market that Hyundai sells its products, it has been successful.


Of course, there are many who have derided the Korean company’s products as being bland, or without much substance, but Hyundai has taken these on the chin and responded effectively. A common complaint has been that Hyundai still doesn’t make cars ride and handle in the sophisticated way that many of its rivals do.

But all that is set to change.


Following on from the company establishing an R&D base in Russelsheim, Germany, Hyundai has now opened its test centre located just off the Nurburgring. The import of this is simple; all Hyundai cars will now be fine-tuned for ride and handling on the notorious ‘green hell’. Hyundai’s return to the World Rally Championship with the i20 WRC is also intended to show just what its products are capable of. Success in the WRC will be the ultimate stamp of approval.


Value-for-money pricing: check
Quality control: check
Sexy styling: check
Ride and handling: check


With all the ingredients in place, and with a systematic approach to responding to well-qualified criticisms, Hyundai is sure to break into the top 3 ranking by volumes. Aiming for the top spot doesn’t seem impossible either. Large markets like South America and Africa haven’t been fully tapped yet. Having successfully conquered North America, and with a strong performance in Europe, don’t count against Hyundai doing so once again in these future growth markets.