The pragmatic managing director of Hyundai UK told Car Dealer he’s worried a combination of the end of scrappage, a general election and predicted tax rises could hit car sales in the second half of the year.
The car firm – which has been battling Ford as the number one seller under scrappage throughout the scheme – was one of the first to reveal its post-scrap offers.
Most car makers have remained tight-lipped about after scrap, but not only has Hyundai announced them but it’s already got them up and running.
‘The thinking was to get our Happy Returns and Trade & Upgrade offers out there as soon as possible,’ Whitehorn told Car Dealer.
‘Scrappage is coming to an end and we need to capitalise on the end of the scheme as best as possible. That means leveraging the most sales out of it and adding additionally to it with our offers.
‘We came out with them early because I honestly think the second half of 2010 could be very tough. Many are predicting a market of 1.8m registrations but I think it’s going to be more like 1.6m.
‘We’re not out of the woods yet – yes, the year has started strongly, and I think it will carry on like that into quarter two, but after that things are not going to be easy.’
Whitehorn was speaking to Car Dealer at the launch of the C-segment ix35 SUV in Rome – a car he said his dealer network is very much looking forward to getting its hands on.
‘The ix35 is priced to compete with a Focus but offers so much more,’ he said. ‘When you look at the fuel economy, the practicality and the tax implications of the SUV it’s a very nice surprise.
‘New products like the ix35 will play an important part in keeping sales positive as the year progresses.’
A full road test of the ix35 will appear in the next issue of Car Dealer – don’t miss it by subscribing now. It’s just £17.24 for 12 issues.
by JAMES BAGGOTT