Frankfurt auto show: Hyundai’s new i10 signals new product assault
Korean brand is happy to poke fun at the VW giant on its home turf
Hyundai’s new i10 city car at its launch at the Frankfurt auto show
“Look Dr Winterkorn, there is no clanging.” So said Allan Rushforth, Hyundai Motors Europe chief operating officer at the launch of the firm’s new i10 supermini. He was making reference to an off-guarded comment made by the chairman of VW Group on a visit to a Hyundai stand at the Frankfurt show two year’s ago where he was unknowingly caught praising the build quality of the Korean firm’s i30 to other VW executives. “There is no clanging! Why can they do it? BMW can’t do it, we can’t do it... No clanging!”, he was filmed saying.
There’s no clanging at Hyundai but there is a sense that there is a certaing clinking of glasses as the firm continues its ascent. And it’s not afraid to poke fun at its bigger rivals. Launching its small new model, Rushforth made several comparisons to how the car is better than its VW equivalent, the UP.
Hyundai is continuing its product assault, with the Korean brand adding a new small car - or city car - to its ranks in the form of a larger and better equipped i10.
While it carries the same moniker as the firm’s older city car, in reality this is a very different proposition, both in terms of interior space and production values. For a start it looks more of a rival to larger superminis, while it’s also able to accommodate two tall adults in the back without too much complaint.
Arriving in Ireland next January, the new i10 comes with either a 65bhp 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine capable of 0-100km/h in 14.9sec or an 86bhp 1.25-litre four-cylinder diesel 12.3sec 0-100km/h acceleration.
The car shares many of its components with the “Grand i10” launched in India last month, but European versions have minor aesthetic differences, come with a much higher equipment level and will be built at the firm’s longstanding plant in Turkey.
Standard equipment includes central locking, electric front windows, a six-speaker stereo and there are some upmarket options including a heated steering wheel, cruise control and climate-control air conditioning.
It’s hoped the i10 will help push the brand towards its goal of a 5 per cent market share in Europe by 2020. The target date was meant to be 2015 but the global recession and its impact in Europe has delayed matters. Rushforth now sees signs of recovery towards 2015 that should lift European car sales, but even Hyundai is cautious about growth targets.
In Ireland the brand has established itself as a top five brand, one of the few to record growth in the depressing sales market of last year and this. Across Europe there are now 3.3 million Hyundais on the road, and 75 per cent of these are seven years or younger. That, according to Rushforth, offers them great hope for the future, bother in terms of securing market share and gaining further conquests. The five year unlimited mileage warranty has paid off for the brand at a time when consumers are looking for some reassurance when making a new car investment, he says, while the model improvements and expansions has helped as well. The brand plans 22 new models/derivatives between now and 2017 that is likely to include a small SUV to compete with the likes of the Peugeot 2008, Nissan Juke and Ford Ecosport.
In the meantime they are content to poke at the giant that is VW Group and soak up some praise from its CEO.