News - Hyundai

Hyundai charging towards sales record

X marks the spot: Sales of Hyundai’s ix35 have risen 66 per cent his year, thanks to Hyundai’s Czech factory contribution.

SUV sales burst pushes Hyundai towards 100,000 mark and another record year

Hyundai logo11 Nov 2013

HYUNDAI is set to smash its Australian vehicle sales record for a fifth successive year as it rides its hot-selling SUV range to a new high of about 97,000 units by year’s end.

The South Korean company’s Australian sales are up 6.2 per cent this year, with most of that growth coming from its ix35 small SUV – up 66 per cent – and its larger sibling, the Santa Fe – up 40.8 per cent.

Most of the other major players in the Australian automotive industry are slightly down or line ball in sales so far this year, with Mazda up 0.7 per cent and Mitsubishi up 19.9 per cent.

With a refreshed ix35 just arriving on the market, Hyundai believes it can maintain last month’s 8000-plus sales rate over November and December to comfortably bust last year’s company sales record of 91,536 vehicles.

Hyundai Motor Co Australia chief operating officer John Elsworth said he expected the final sales tally to be about 97,000.

This is double the Hyundai volume of just five years ago, when the Korean car-maker and its sales network shifted 45,409 vehicles.

According to official VFACTS sales figures, Hyundai is now leading both Holden and Mazda in passenger car sales, with only the lack of a Hyundai utility seemingly holding Hyundai back from a higher ranking in the overall sales ladder.

Hyundai is currently ranked fourth in the market with an 8.6 share, and that is unlikely to change much by December 31.

Mr Elsworth said his company’s sales growth this year was mainly attributable to a decision to source extra ix35 stock from Hyundai’s Czech plant to supplement vehicles coming from South Korea.

He said the hard-pressed Korean factories had not been able to supply more production for Australia, forcing Hyundai Australia to look to Europe to satisfy demand for ix35.

Those extra stocks started to arrive in January this year in the form of the ix35 SE (Special Edition), allowing the small SUV to achieve its showroom potential and rise to number one in its segment against the likes of the Nissan Dualis, Mitsubishi ASX and Subaru XV.

In doing so, its volume has increased a staggering 66 per cent, making a major contribution to Hyundai’s record sales pace this year.

“It has been a stellar performer for us,” Mr Elsworth said. “The volume has been around the 1500-1600 mark in the last quarter.

“For a volume car that does about 1500 units to 2000 a month, to have a 66 per cent increase year-on-year is incredibly strong.

“It really doesn’t happen like that in the industry. Volume models might have a single-digit increase in volume, but to have 66 per cent for a model that has been around since 2010 … that is incredible.”

Mr Elsworth said that while the extra production from the Czech plant had been the main contributor to the increase in ix35 sales, other factors had included the growth in the overall SUV market, the greater awareness of Hyundai’s SUV range and the “pretty good” value proposition offered by the European ix35 SE.

“All the planets aligned and we had really good volume,” he said.

Mr Elsworth said he believed sales of the ix35 would remain about current levels into the future, but if they did rise, the Czech plant seemed to be able to step up deliveries.

“We tend to be able to get freer availability out of the Czech plant,” he said.

“We just know that every time we put up our hand for more production, they have been able to accommodate us.

“Certainly the move of the euro from 80 to 70 (euro cents to the Australian dollar) this year has not helped from a profitability point of view, but overall, it is still a good car from a volume and profitability point of view.”

Mr Elsworth said the Czech cars were still profitable at the current exchange rate.

He said his company had no plans to discontinue the arrangement, especially as supply from South Korea remained flat.

Hyundai is now holding a 7.6 per cent share of the SUV segment, up from 5.2 per cent at the same time last year.

Overall Hyundai sales growth this year come despite a lack of new-model activity, with most of its major models replaced in a model cycle coming to a crescendo with the new i30 – the company’s top seller in Australia – last year.

Hyundai Australia will kick off 2014 with a facelifted Elantra in January, to be followed by other, unannounced models through the year.

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