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Hyundai’s strength in numbers

Getting bigger: The Hyundai i30 has been a star for Hyundai - but not the only one.

i30 has plenty of help as Hyundai zooms up the sales charts

Hyundai logo14 Aug 2009

HYUNDAI’S Australian sales are booming, and it is tempting to lay all the credit on the i30 hatch which has been gaining momentum since its launch in October 2007.

However, it is the fact that the i30 is not the only star model for Hyundai that has allowed the importer to make such strong gains in the past few years.

Back in 1998, Hyundai sold 57,219 cars which gave it fifth position in overall sales and made it the most popular full-line importer. That works out to a monthly average of 4768 cars.

The small and cheap Excel hatch, which rode the wave of a $13,990 drive-away deal that left wafer-thin margins, made up 76.9 per cent of Hyundai’s sales.

Fast forward to 2009 and Hyundai has sold 36,161 cars to the end of June, which means it’s on track to give the 60,000 barrier a nudge by the end of the year. The monthly average is 5165, a number boosted by a massive July in which it was the third best-selling brand in terms of private sales.

Hyundai’s most popular car this year is the i30, but it makes up only 33 per cent of Hyundai sales.

 center imageFrom top: Hyundai Excel, Hyundai iLoad, Hyundai Getz.

The Getz, which has filled the hole left by the Excel, shares the load with 32 per cent of sales.

Hyundai’s compact SUV, the Tucson is the next most important model with 17.2 per cent of company volume.

Then there are the models that aren’t huge in terms of volume, but add important sales. These include the up and coming iLoad and iMax vans which account for 6.7 per cent of sales, the Elantra with 4.5 per cent and the Santa Fe with 1.8 per cent.

If you count the Tiburon and Granduer, which are selling so poorly they can’t be long for this world, Hyundai now has 10 models.

Back in 1997, it had four, including the Excel, Coupe, Sonata and Lantra (the forerunner to the Elantra) which was the second biggest model with 13 per cent of Hyundai sales.

Everything was then dependent on the success of the Excel, which was the first Hyundai to be brought into Australia back in 1986 by short-time importer, Alan Bond.

The shapely hatch was the third best-selling car in Australia for a time behind the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, but customers started to fall out of love with it from 1999 and it was killed off in 2001.

While Hyundai introduced two cars to replace it, the Accent and Getz, both struggled to replicate the success of the Excel.

Hyundai sales nosedived from 57,219 at the Excel’s peak to 40,056 in its last year on sale and then dropped to a low of 30,921 in 2003.

With the strengthening of the Getz, the arrival of new crossover models and a greater investment in marketing made possible by Hyundai taking over local distribution in 2003, Hyundai sales started to rise again in 2004 and have been on the up ever since, apart from a blip in 2008.

Hyundai hasn’t matched Toyota’s ability to have winners in almost all classes, but at least its future is no longer dictated by the fate of one car.

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