HYUNDAI plans to double its UK sales to 70,000 a year by 2012 once the tap is turned on at its new European production plant.
Tony Whitehorn, managing director of Hyundai UK said that since the South Korean company took control of its UK distribution two years ago there was now a clear vision for Europe with a head office in Frankfurt and a new factory opening in the Czech Republic.
Whitehorn said: ‘Europe is clearly a focus area for the Hyundai Automotive Group with Kia’s factory just 40 miles away from ours. We are now looking to kick on, particularly in the UK where we effectively want to double sales to 70,000 vehicles a year by 2012.’
Hyundai’s Czech Republic factory will build the i30 and the Tuscon, mirroring Kia’s Slovakian production of cee’d and Sportage. Whitehorn agreed there was still work to do in terms of differentiating between the sister brands.
He said: ‘If you like, we are VW and Kia is SEAT, younger and more sporty. For example, unlike the Kia ceed, there will be no three-door Hyundai i30. We will be more expensive and have more equipment. We will also continue with our 5-year unlimited mileage warranty as against Kia’s 7-year, 100,000 mile.’
Whitehorn said he expected sales to grow to around 32,000 this year in the UK, up from 30,000 in 2007 then up to 40,000 in 2009.