Wandering around the Hyundai stand at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show was a wake-up call to the rest of the world. There were all kinds of concepts on display, as well as new models like this year’s ix35 and i20, and all were attracting their fair share of attention from the major industry players.
It seems that nothing that will stop this Korean Juggernaut from their ultimate goal of becoming the largest carmaker in the world.
Just a short drive to your local mall and back, is enough to notice the proliferation of cars, SUVs, and vans, proudly wearing the now familiar Hyundai badge. These guys are selling an awful lot of cars.
That said the company still has a long way to go. There are a large number of punters out there, who remain unconvinced about the integrity of the brand, or I suspect there's a little badge snobbery going on out there in punter land.
When that lot of skeptics finally come around to the fact that Hyundai build some of the best quality cars in the world in more than a few automotive segments (and they surely will), then my guess is you’ll be standing in the queue for whatever Hyundai you have chosen.
This year’s Paris Motor Show saw Hyundai’s stand grow 66 percent, with a total of 18 models on display. This is a company on the rise and the Japanese giants should be more than a little concerned.
The all-new sub-compact ix20 made its world debut in Paris. This is a great looking sports mini-van, which differentiates itself from the ‘boxy’ styles already in market. It’s designed and built in Europe and is said to deliver a class-leading package, with best in class fuel economy and ultra low C02 emissions of 114g/km, at least for the greenest variant (ix20 Blue).
Active and passive safety features high on the agenda of the ix20, which gains a segment leading five-star Euro NCAP rating.
Disappointingly, Australia will miss out on this vehicle, at least in the short term.
Also making its global debut in Paris, is the i10 Blue with an all-new super-eco three-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine, emitting a remarkably low 99 g/km of C02.
The styling of the latest i10 also brings it in line with the other vehicles in Hyundai’s stable, which have been penned under the ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language.
Another car on display for European consumption, is the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and what a treat this is. It’s a rear-wheel drive GT with euro spec steering, suspension and brakes and powered by a 154 kW 2.0-litre turbo or a naturally aspirated 223 kW 3.8-litre V6 engine. This is the car many of us in Australia are waiting for and the vehicle that will lend dynamic credibility and halo status to the brand.
Red Bull have even sponsored New Zealand born drift king, Rhys Millen, in a race spec Hyundai Genesis Coupe, which he drove to a world record run at the awesome Pikes Peak in 2009.
Hyundai have also built a new Pikes Peak contender, the PM580, looking more like an LMP1 car, also powered by Genesis, in an attempt to break the 10-minute barrier.
The fourth and final new model on display this year at the Hyundai stand, is the ix35 Blue with an extra efficient and brand new 1.7-litre diesel engine, which emits just 135 g/km of C02 as a benefactor of the company’s efficient ‘Blue Drive’ technologies.
Joining the ix35 Blue is a ‘mild diesel hybrid’ version of the SUV, which will emit even less C02 than it’s green ix35 sibling at just 117 g/km.
The irony is that today’s skeptics of this powerhouse Korean brand will most likely be tomorrow’s Hyundai drivers.