Hyundai Australia has made it its mission to take the crown of number one importer from Mazda. The revelation came at the launch of Hyundai’s light car, the i20, when Roland Rivero, Product Planning Manager revealed his plans for the brand.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Mr Rivero said that there was little point in trying to beat the top three manufacturers selling in Australia – Toyota, Holden and Ford. However he said that next in the firing line was Mazda.
“There’s a big battle for number four at the moment,” said Mr Rivero. “We’ve got the product range, the quality and an outstanding warranty to back it all up. We want to be Australia’s largest importer. Once we do that, we’ve got a shot at being number four.”
But to achieve this goal meant a few sacrifices. After being grilled as to why Hyundai’s i20 base model, the Active, had been brought to market with only two airbags, Mr Rivero conceded it was to get some runs on the board.
“We’ll be introducing six airbags in September, but we needed to launch the car to build sales. Our plant in Chennai couldn’t supply that trim level with six airbags so we’ve had to make do with two,” said Mr Rivero.
He was at pains to stress that it was still a safe car with excellent intrusion protection as well as ESC and traction control. However if Hyundai didn’t bring the Active to market at its price point of $14,990 right now, it would mean a potential lack of 1000 sales. Mr Rivero claims that difference could be enough for Hyundai to clinch the title of largest importer.
The i20 Active’s additional airbags will also come at an additional cost. CarAdvice understands around $500 extra will be the asking price, but for extra safety, it’s not a lot to ask.
As for the plucky South Korean company, it has the budget and will-power to get where it’s going.
The underlying message is clear – Mazda had better watch its back.