Hyundai plans to boost production at Czech plant despite Europe’s financial problems

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 20, 2012

Hyundai’s rivals in Europe have reduced their production targets due to the economic challenges in the continent but the Korean automaker seeks to set a new vehicle production record at its three-year-old Nosovice, Czech Republic plant. Hyundai rolled out 250,000 cars at the plant last year but for this year, it aims to add a third shift and to have an expanded installed capacity of more than 300,000 units.

When interviewed by Automotive News Europe, Hyundai Europe Chief Operating Officer Allan Rushforth said that this year, Nosovice will have “an output of 45,000 units of the ix20, more than 90,000 units of the ix35 and almost 110,000 units of the i30 specifically for Europe with the remainder sold in neighboring markets.”

Rushforth was interviewed at the sidelines of the press launch for the new i30. This move is a stark contrast to most automakers. Because of the weak demand in Europe, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Toyota said last Friday that they will have a four-day workweek and from having three shifts at the joint venture plant in Kolin, Czech Republic, there would only be two as of May. The partners seek to produce 221,000 units of the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 minicars in 2012 – around 20% fewer than in 2011.

Hyundai has reinforced its product lineup with the addition of the i40 in 2011 and will launch the second-generation i30 beginning this month. Rushforth said that in 2012, the company plans to set more records.

He added that the company wants to increase its market share in Europe from 2.9% in 2011 to 3.5% this year. He chose not to give a precise sales target due to Europe's economic volatility. Rushforth said that predicting sales volumes is difficult so the focus is on market share, adding that this is the “best way” to compare its performance against its rivals.

Hyundai has a certain ‘fluidic sculpture’ design philosophy applied to its models, the latest being the Hyundai i30. Utilizing flowing lines, this kind of aesthetic effectively gives a three-dimensional impact on these Korean vehicles.

According to Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center’s Chief Designer Thomas Bürkle, the New Generation i30 is designed with strong, fluid lines that sculpt the car into an athletic vehicle while exuding a sense of motion even when at rest. The car has a bold stance and radiates a lot of confidence and attitude all the while sporting athletic characteristics and dynamic proportions – quite similar to the all-new i40. The new i30 and i40 shows that recognizable strength of the Hyundai design DNA.

The new i30 features a significantly increased track which is the key factor to its more athletic appearance. Its bodyshell is made wider by 5 mm while its front and rear tracks are wider by 17 mm and 27 mm, respectively – all these made possible by moving the wheels and tires outwards towards the wheel arches and at the same time improving the car’s overall aesthetics and road holding.

In addition to the changes in the i30’s looks is the base of its windscreen, moved forward and down by 84 mm and 26 mm, respectively. This allows the car to reduce wind resistance and aerodynamic drag, improving by 10% (with a resulting Cd of only 0.30). A chrome beltline moulding below the glass house (Style models) and new 16-inch alloy wheels are also featured on the new i30 for added finesse.

Finally, to add to the visual impact of the i30 are its raised LED daytime running lights – a standard on all models. The signature Hyundai hexagonal-shaped grille is also present in the new i30 and comes with a choice of trim bars in single body-color or twin-chrome.

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