2011 Hyundai i40 ready to take on Europe’s midsize segment dominated by fleet sales

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 4, 2011

Hyundai’s trendy i40 has entered the midsized segment in Europe where it will attempt to attract as much sales as it could away from its rivals built by Volkswagen, Opel and Ford. The i40 was launched last July as a station wagon. Hyundai picked this body style since it makes up about 54% of the sales in the segment.

Towards the end of the year, Hyundai will launch a sleek, four-door sedan. The i40 is being relied on by Hyundai to raise European sales by 40% to 500,000 units by 2013.

Hyundai Europe CEO Allan Rushforth said that the i40 “perfectly combines” the four elements that Hyundai considers as its core values.

These are styling, efficiency, practicality and performance. Hyundai has set a target for i40 to achieve an annual volume of 60,000 units from 2012 with 45% of sales made up of business customers (fleet sales). The midsized vehicles make up the fourth largest segment in Europe. Its sales dropped by 12.7% to 745,550 units last year.

The i40 is built on the same platform as the Sonata model, which is available in the U.S. as well as in other global markets. Hyundai's European r&d headquarters in Ruesselsheim, Germany, had designed and engineered the i40. This model is actually a derivative of the Genus concept car presented at the 2006 Geneva auto show.

The Genus represents how Hyundai visualizes a midsized car that was practical and had an emotional design. It features a hexagonal grille, a feature that has been recognized as a part of the brand’s face in Europe.

Thomas Buerkle, Chief Designer at Hyundai's European technical center, said that they took the Genus concept and “matured” it into the i40, as the carmaker’s “vision of a truly unique European car.”

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