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Hyundai broadening appeal with new Tucson

Net gains: Hyundai is aiming for a broader customer base for its new Tucson medium SUV.

Lower entry point, higher specification to bring in new Hyundai Tucson customers

15 Aug 2018

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has positioned its new Tucson medium SUV to appeal to a broader range of customers, with a lower entry point aimed at budget conscious buyers, as well as a more expensive flagship variant pitched at the premium set.
Its recently-released Santa Fe large SUV has been repositioned as a more premium offering with higher levels of specification, but Hyundai was keen to appeal to a wider demographic with the updated Tucson.
Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the Tucson, HMCA senior product planning manager Andrew Tuitahi said the goal of the refresh was to encourage more potential customers to look at the car.
“I think what you see with Tucson is us actually stretching it a little bit, so sure the Highlander increased in price, it got a whole bunch of spec and features which we think represents good value but we’ve also got a cheaper entry car than we had before,” he said.
“So for Tucson it’s not so much about positioning the car as a premium alternative or anything like that, it was really just about stretching and making it available to more people.”
Point of entry is reduced by $440 over the outgoing range, while the top-spec Highlander diesel is $1350 dearer.
The updated Tucson range is now offered with the base Go, previously rolled out for the i30 small hatch and set to be introduced with the Kona small SUV. Mr Tuitahi said the company decided to replace the Active trim with the Go after feedback from dealers and customers.
“Active is our traditional entry model, and customers and dealers have an expectation of what the specification, features will be on that trim level across the different models and our range, and we were getting feedback that we would need to achieve or hit a lower price point to maximise the income in customers in that price band,” he said.
“So having that cheaper entry price to the medium-SUV segment will help us capitalise on customers that are already shopping in there, and also some customers that are possibly willing to step up from a smaller car, but at a cheaper price to make sure they can get more metal for their money.”
He said he expected the mid-spec Active X trim to be the most popular, paired to the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel/all-wheel-drive powertrain.
Mr Tuitahi also suggested there could be room for special-edition variants in the future. The company has done this in the past with variants including the ‘30’ Edition in 2016.
When asked if Hyundai could further broaden its appeal with the addition of a seven-seat variant, he said customers would likely have to wait until at least the next-generation model.
“In the current generation, no,” he said. “Looking to the future, we’re seeing a little bit of a transition in the segment to some competitors offering a seven-seat option – Tiguan, CR-V. So in the future we’ll have to consider it, look at what customer feedback is and how they use the seats, the value of having seven seats in a car that size – we’ll look at it.”
Hyundai’s current SUV line-up has meant that the Santa Fe plays the role of medium seven seater by global standards, but given the new one has grown, the brand will consider a seven-seat Tucson in the future.
“It’s a difficult thing for us in that dimensionally when we look at Tucson, Santa Fe and … Grand Santa Fe in the United States and Korea, the positioning of those cars don’t specifically translate to the Australian market, so in reality for much of the world, the Santa Fe that we sold in the last generation really took the position of a medium SUV with a seven-seat option,” Mr Tuitahi said.
“So in the current generation of Tucson it’s not really a consideration of a seven-seater, so with the new Santa Fe growing a little, we can probably make that consideration with the next Tucson.”

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