Hyundai Australia has “ambition” to climb sales charts

Hyundai Australia is aware of gaps in its product portfolio as it eyes a higher position on the sales leaderboard.

Toyota and Mazda have long dominated the sales charts after Holden started fading, but Hyundai says it is nearly ready to renew its attack on the biggest automotive players in Australia.

However its biggest challenge may not be the Japanese brands positioned above it, but its sister company Kia – and its new diesel Tasman ute due in 2025.

Asked if the South Korean brand wants to move up the sales charts in Australia, Hyundai Australia General Manager of Corporate Communications Bill Thomas told Drive at the media launch of the Ioniq 5 N: “It’s natural to be ambitious, but you need to have a realistic outlook as well.

“I don’t think we would ever be driving home a message where we’re looking for number two or number one on the market, but we have to be ambitious.”

Last year Hyundai finished the sales race in fifth position with 75,183 sales, trailing compatriot fourth-placed Kia which notched a 76,120 tally and Ford on a 87,800 total.

Mazda was a clear second with 100,008 sales to its name, while Toyota was again the top-selling brand with 214,240 new vehicles sold – the 21st consecutive year it has taken out the title.

However, the gulf between Hyundai and Mazda is quickly disappearing, with the former’s sales up 4.9 per cent – or 11,865 sales – to the end of February this year, while the latter is down 9.1 per cent, or 15,515 sales.

Hyundai and Mazda field vastly different products, while also adopting differing market strategies, but in some segments where they do go head-to-head, the South Korean brand is coming out on top.

The i30 hatch and sedan, for example, was the best-selling passenger car in Australia last year and so far this year, is outselling the rival Mazda 3 nearly three to one.

The new-generation Kona – now available in petrol, hybrid, and all-electric flavours – that launched last year is also outpacing the CX-30.

The crucial mid-size SUV battle will also heat up later this year as Hyundai readies its facelifted Tucson, which will be offered as hybrid for the first time to better compete not only against Mazda’s best-selling model, the CX-5, but also the supply-struggling Toyota RAV4.

That leaves the Mazda6 and CX-3 that are managing to stay ahead of the Sonata and Venue respectively.

Hyundai also offers a Staria people-mover, all-electric Ioniq 5 and 6, and Palisade large SUV that Mazda does not have an answer for, but Mazda’s march upmarket has also seen it add the CX-60 and CX-90 to its arsenal, with the CX-70 and CX-80 expected to launch later this year.

Hyundai also has its N range of high-performance variants offered across its i30 hatch, i30 Sedan, i20 and Ioniq 5 model lines, whereas Mazda points enthusiasts towards the venerable MX-5 at showrooms.

However, the ace in Mazda’s deck is the BT-50 workhorse, which is now based on the Isuzu D-Max, which added 17,526 units to the Japanese brand’s bottom line last year.

Hyundai has confirmed it is working on an answer to the BT-50 ute that will also take on the three-top-sellers last year, the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, and Isuzu D-Max, though details are scant and the brand is remaining tight-lipped for now.

Hyundai Australia Product Manager Andrew Tuatahi admitted there are holes in the brand’s line-up that are looking to be filled.

“Anybody that is ambitious in this industry is going to have boxes they need to tick, and want to tick,” he said.

“N is an example of something that we had our eye on that we wanted to achieve, we wanted to deliver, and you can see the fruit of that work.

“If you look at our portfolio at the moment, there are certainly gaps and opportunities, so we’re looking at all options.

“And anything that can deliver what our customers are interested in, we’re looking.”

It is believed the Hyundai ute will share its underpinnings with the Kia pick-up, expected to be called Tasman and teased earlier this week, but might still be at least a few years away.

Currently, it is unclear if Hyundai will offer a diesel-powered version like Kia has already confirmed, or solely launch its workhorse as an all-electric model as it has recently applied for the ‘Ioniq T10’ trademark in Australia.

The post Hyundai Australia has “ambition” to climb sales charts appeared first on Drive.

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