Hyundai says that, despite recent disparaging comments from local Volkswagen chief Michael Bartsch on the appeal of Korean cars, Australian motorists do aspire to buy into its range.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the Hyundai Tucson 30 Special Edition in Canberra last week, Scott Grant, Hyundai Australia’s chief operating officer, dismissed Volkswagen Australia boss’s comments, suggesting that the company’s sales success speaks for itself.
“We don’t comment on comments made by other car companies, but at the end of the day we sit very solidly behind being… we sold eight million cars in the group last year, the fifth biggest car company in the world, so I tend to think that there are people waking up and are interested in buying our products.” Grant told CarAdvice.
Volkswagen Australia’s CEO, Michael Bartsch, told CarAdvice earlier in August: “I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning saying they’re aspiring to own a Korean car or a Corolla".
Hyundai Australia is having its best sales year on record, up about six percent compared to this time last year. Grant promises that things are going to get bigger from 2017, but that the last few years of Hyundai product has built the brand’s aspirational appeal.
“I think with every generation of product, particular in the last five years or so, the quality and the types of products we’ve brought into the market have been very aspirational," he said.
"There has been plenty of examples of that. The i30 would be one of them, Santa Fe would be another, Tucson and some others… so I am not concerned by that kind of comment, to an extent, and I think there are plenty of people that love our products and continue to repurchase them.”
Hyundai will launch nine new or updated products from January 2017 to mid 2018, with some of those new products to come from the South Korean brand’s new performance arm, N.
The N brand will follow that with an onslaught of six other performance cars, some of which will be based on the company’s Tucson or Santa Fe SUVs.
No doubt the addition of N performance cars will help raise the aspirational appeal of the Hyundai brand as a whole, but for now, do you aspire to own a Hyundai?