Hyundai's Vice President of Marketing, Jochen Sengpiehl, told CarAdvice this week that the all-new 2017 Hyundai i30 was developed to be the brand's "DNA car".
In Frankfurt for an in-the-metal preview of the new i30, CarAdvice got a strong sense of where Hyundai's hierarchy sees the South Korean manufacturer heading over the next decade.
"We have listened to our customers and their needs," Sengpiehl said. "Contemporary values are changing and, as such, we needed to redefine our offering.
"We see the new i30 as the people's car, made for everyone." Sengpiehl went on to explain that the contemporary desires of buyers, not just young buyers either, had shifted so much that manufacturers need to think outside the square, and quickly.
"Expectations, values and perceptions are changing, and changing faster than ever before, with more and more digital natives," he said.
"These people are interested in technology, they are flexible and individual and they have changed the way they interact. For instance, they use Uber rather than a taxi, Airbnb rather than a hotel and Snapchat rather than a traditional text message."
Hyundai sees the all-new i30 as the cornerstone toward moving into that more dynamic space. As it is in Australia, the five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty is a strong value proposition for European buyers, and one that sets the Hyundai brand apart from competitors. It's not all about the price point though, for Hyundai, in this move to a more tech-savvy car and buyer.
"Now more than ever, buyers value quality, safety and reliability," Sengpiehl said. "Hyundai has had a fast rise, but we have moved on from that starting point, with a focus on meeting customer needs."
With strong investments in European infrastructure, research and development, production, design and sales, it's hard to argue that Europe is now playing a huge part in influencing a staunchly South Korean company.
Hyundai employs more than 300 engineers and designers in Europe and runs a full-time test facility at the famed Nurburgring. Vehicles sold in Europe are manufactured at plants in Turkey and the Czech Republic.
"We have an ongoing commitment to design, engineer and test in Europe," Sengpiehl said. "We want to be the number one Asian brand by 2020 in sales, market share and customer satisfaction in Europe."
And the i30 will be the cornerstone of that lofty push for number one status.
"This new generation i30 is our new DNA car in Europe, and the reason we say that is it represents everything we stand for," Sengpiehl said.
"We want to make technology more accessible, more seamless. We want to deliver more product value, with better design, and a better car for everyone."