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People-mover sales reach for new Hyundai Staria
Hyundai confident Staria will recover lost ground in people-mover segment
8 Sep 2021
By MATT BROGAN
HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) says it is confident its new Staria will help it to recapture a greater percentage of sales in the people-mover segment.
The new, eight-seat Staria replaces the outdated iMax in Hyundai’s line-up, rejuvenating a product offering that has been on sale locally since 2007.
That model’s design age, commercial van underpinnings, and related lack of safety technology and amenity levels saw its sales slump to just six per cent of the segment in 2018 and nine per cent in 2021; numbers considerably lower than the model’s peak market share of 22 per cent in 2014.
This year, sales of the Hyundai iMax are the lowest in its class. The dated model fell well short of segment-leading Kia Carnival’s 56 per cent segment share, as well as various others, including the Honda Odyssey (14%), LDV G10 (11%), and Volkswagen Multivan (9%).
“The people-mover segment in Australia is very small, and it has been severely impacted by COVID-19 related travel restrictions,”HMCA head of product panning Simon Bartnik told GoAuto.
It’s a segment which is largely driven by business and rental fleet sales, so it’s not an exaggeration to say COVID cut the segment in half.
“Until COVID began to affect segment sales, it was a segment which was relatively consistent over the past 15 years, and that’s despite a lot of cross-shopping – and a great deal of market taste – for SUVs locally.
“For those reasons, it’s very difficult to predict where Staria sales will go in the future, and we have to be realistic in our expectations.”
Australian buyers clearly favour comparable sized and priced SUVs over people-movers.
Sales of medium (five-seat) and large (seven-seat) SUVs dominate the passenger car market. Over the past 12 months, just 8795 people-movers have been sold nationally against a year-to-date figure of 40,981 new SUV sales (or 50.5 per cent of the market overall).
And with international travel off the table for the foreseeable future, it’s unlikely a new people-mover will attract the sales levels Hyundai needs to dominate the segment – despite the model offering driveline, safety and technological improvements that render most in its segment obsolete.
HMCA says it believes incremental volume increases areachievable, but admits it is facing a difficult road ahead.
“We do expect increment sales on top of what the iMax sold,” Mr Bartnik said.
“We believe we could see higher sales numbers than we did at the peak of the iMax’s popularity, and obviously we’d like Staria to achieve that. But there are certain limitations within the segment itself.
“That said, we believe we have a very strong value proposition in the Staria versus other market entrants and SUVs, so we’re hoping to pick up some volume there.
“But at this stage, in terms of market share and in referencing what the iMax achieved over its lifetime, we think that’s a reasonable position to be in.”
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