How Hyundai weaves its web through electrification

In five years, the Korean manufacturer has doubled its market share in France by surfing the growing electrification of the park. And this is likely to continue …

Some Get started burst onto the global scene and changed people’s lives in a matter of years. Other companies are patiently weaving their web… Now the third largest automaker in the world – behind Toyota and Volkswagen – the Korean group Hyundai Motor, which includes Hyundai, Kia and the new premium brand Genesis, belongs in the second category.

This does not mean that the progress of the results is slow. In France, the Hyundai brand doubled its market share in five years, from 1.4% in 2017 to 3.1% last year. Meanwhile, the manufacturer doubled Ford, Audi, Fiat, BMW or Skoda in the registration share. With 47,106 registrations in 2022, it is the fourth foreign brand in France behind Toyota, Volkswagen and Mercedes (excluding Dacia, driven by the Renault Group).

Tucson and Kona are featured

Behind this development, there are logical products. Starting with the midsize SUV Tucson, which appears today at 21e place sales in France in one of the few growing segments.

2022 registration in France – C-segment SUV

CCFA numbers

  1. Peugeot 3008 / 36 281
  2. Renault Arkana / 31 638
  3. Citroen C5 Aircross / 20 653
  4. Hyundai Tucson / 17,584
  5. Kia Sportage / 13 103
  6. Nissan Qashqai / 10,913
  7. Ford Kuga / 10,790
  8. Volkswagen Tiguan / 9,740

It benefits from its multi-energy offer (light hybridization 48V, classic hybrid, PHEV) that can satisfy all customer profiles. In this segment, the aging Peugeot 3008 and Volkswagen Tiguan only offer – in addition to their traditional engines – plug inmainly aimed at tax-free pros.

Hyundai managed to attract individuals who wanted to drive a traditional hybrid even though Toyota was strangely absent from the segment. The Japanese brand has arrived (finally) with its Corolla Cross. “60% of Tucsons are sold as hybrids,” confirms Lionel French-Keogh, president of Hyundai France. This makes the brand less sensitive to a possible PHEV crash in the coming years.

Hyundai France registrations by model

CCFA numbers

  1. Hyundai Tucson / 17,584
  2. Hyundai Kona / 12,693
  3. Hyundai i20/5775

Second pillar, the Kona. Designed especially for Europe, this urban SUV is also offered in a multi-energy format, increasing potential customers. To further develop in our continent, Hyundai did not drag to replace it. There will be less than six years between the launch of the old and the new. The hybrid will be launched in the second quarter, the electric in September.

“Our goal is to quickly market as many Kona as Tucson” refers to the boss of the brand in France. And the majority of sales must be 100% electric. Moreover, it is this version that will be built in Europe (at the Hyundai factory of Nošovice, in the Czech Republic, opened at the end of 2008) to minimize delays. The more international hybrid version will be imported from South Korea. Unlike the Kona, the Bayon, which is only available in light hybridization, is struggling to find its place in the market…

By combining hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, nearly 63% of Hyundais sold in France are electrified. And this, without counting the light hybridizations of 48 volts.

Long-term employment

As is the case with the emergence of SUVs, the transition to hybrid or electric often marks a creamery change for individuals. But Hyundai is also building more loyalty. The brand retention rate was 39% in 2018. It was 62% last year. The market average is 58%. “We are asking our network”, confirmed Lionel French-Keogh, referring to the 201 concessions present on French territory. Sales training, optimized after-sales service, creation of databases and contact points with Hyundai owners are part of their agenda. But logically, dealers get an increase in sales.

In recent years, the Korean group has also reached a critical scale that allows it to invest heavily in research. The Ioniq 5 (along with its cousin the Kia EV6) is the first mass-produced car to popularize operation at 800 volts, shortening charging times at fast terminals. In a video conference with investors in late January, Hyundai Vice President Seo Gang-Hyun announced a new €8 billion investment plan. This time, the group also hinted at a dividend revaluation… much to the delight of Korean retirees. The National Pension Service (Gukminyeongumgongdan) is indeed one of the main shareholders of Hyundai Motors.

The group also relies on design: the boldness of the recent Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 characterizes the brand, even if the volumes are smaller here. “We have 3,000 orders for the Ioniq 5 in 2022,” said Lionel French-Keogh. “With this car, I fight with my German or English colleagues to get the cars from Korea and deliver them to my customers”. Delivery times exceed 8 months. So don’t expect a big clearance sale in a short time…

The beginning of 2023 will be marked by the launch in our market of Ioniq 6 (on test next week at Automobile Propre). Isn’t it a bit brave to want to sell a 4.85 m sedan at the very moment when Europeans are eschewing low silhouettes? “I think in 12 to 24 months, the volumes of the Ioniq 6 will exceed the volumes of the Ioniq 5” explained Lionel French Keogh. Why? “All the methods are the same, but with its aerodynamics, this car is capable of offering up to 600 km of autonomy”. An unreachable number for “5” and which still counts psychologically among pros and individuals.

Moreover, the brand wants to reduce its reliance on SUVs. At the moment, the arrival in France of the maxii-adventurer Ioniq 7 is not confirmed. “We know that people come to us because we have SUVs, specified the manager, but for reasons of efficiency and price, we have to offer something else in the coming years.” In Ulsan, we’re working on a (relatively) accessible electric city car for mid-2020. Meanwhile, Ford has announced the impending death of its Fiesta and Renault is asking itself the question of replacing the Clio…

Globally, Hyundai plans to increase the number of registrations by 10% by 2023 to reach 4.3 million units.

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Hyundai Ioniq 6 – Simon Loasby, head of design, brings it to us

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