Hyundai is looking to use its new model influx to shift its fleet business towards end-user customers in a move described by the company’s UK head of fleet Tim White as “turning round the tanker from too much short-cycle and small car business”.
The new Ioniq 5 electric car, plug-in hybrid Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs, plus the Bayon small crossover, make up an almost unprecedented new product assault, and will fuel the company’s aim to move from a true fleet market share of 1.8% in 2020 and 2.4% so far this year, to a 3% target by the year end.
In 2019, only 8% of Hyundai’s fleet business was end user customers, a figure that rose to 20% in 2020 and will climb again this year.
“We have ambitious growth plans and a focus on sustainable true-fleet growth,” said White. “We now have a very deliberate focus on fleet; we were retail focused when I joined the business, and fleet was daily rental, Motability, tactical – we weren’t focused on true fleet, but now we have a deliberate plan and a refocused sales team dedicated to true fleet end user relationships.
“Building awareness is the number one objective. We have to build the brand in terms of fleet credentials; the product stands up for itself,” he continued.
White said that the new Ioniq 5 EV and Tucson PHEV in particular will open up user-choosers to the brand, and described the models as a “one-time opportunity to ensure we create customer interest and desire”.
The Ioniq 5 in particular is tasked with changing perceptions of Hyundai, and the brand expects around a quarter of its fleet volume to be taken by its stylish EV.
“People that have gone for German premium brands will look at this car,” declared White. “Beyond any other car, it won’t sell if you don’t see it; I don’t think you really understand the size and appeal on the inside if you don’t see it.”
But Hyundai’s fleet boss is wary of putting too much emphasis on the plug-in products, given the brand is already well-known for its electric Kona crossover.
“Not getting all our eggs in one basket is helping, as every fleet is at a different stage of electrification,” he told CCT. “If you do focus on EV, you have to pedal twice as fast to hit your market share compared with those that are still selling petrol and diesel.”
Having the i20 and i30 in the portfolio also helps, he said, despite those models not being the biggest true fleet sellers compared with the likes of the Kona Electric and long-standing Ioniq model available as a hybrid, PHEV or full electric hatchback. “We need to show we have a whole range,” concluded White.