Hyundai using soccer stars to reach European customers

Article by Christian A., on June 22, 2012

Hyundai wants to reach out to consumers in Europe and to do that, it has acquired the services of soccer stars. The automaker has been increasing its sponsorships in soccer. Germany's Lukas Podolski and France's Karim Benzema are now part of Hyundai’s marketing campaign that focuses on the European championship, the biggest tournament in the region.

Hyundai is hopeful that with this move, it could connect with Europeans. Mark Hall, head of marketing for Hyundai in Europe, said that one of Hyundai’s challenges is that people don’t get attached emotionally to the brand since it’s considered Asian. Hyundai thinks that by getting involved in these people’s passions, it could help close this gap.

Hyundai and Kia are strengthening their moves to reach European consumers in order to extend its expansion. Its methods include low prices, long warranties and low-cost manufacturing. Due to these efforts, Kia is the only volume automaker to record a sales increase in this region this year, taking some of the sales away from local brands, according to auto industry lobby ACEA.

Through May, Hyundai's sales increased by 9.8%. Meanwhile, Kia rose by 24.6% in the same period. Fiat Group experienced a 16.6% decrease while French manufacturers PSA/Peugeot-Citroen fell by 14.9% and Renault had a 19.4% decline.

General Motors' European sales, which include the Opel brand, fell by 11.2%, while Ford dropped 8.2%. Volkswagen sales, the biggest carmaker in the region, recorded a 1.9% decrease. Tim Schuldt, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Equinet, said that Kia and Hyundai are reaping gains because of the lower costs while being vastly improved when it comes to quality and technology.

Hyundai Motor UK is positive that its new generation Hyundai i30 will be able to build on the original model’s success. The carmaker will maintain its sales in the market’s most hotly contested segment by offering customers a more refined and stylish alternative with better packaging, improved comfort, lower emissions, and more standard features.

Hyundai i30 was designed and engineered at Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and will be produced at the company’s manufacturing plant in Nošovice, Czech Republic. It is the latest Hyundai model to be specifically developed for the European market. Its original model paved the way for a new era for the company when it was launched. Meanwhile, the new-generation model is going to play a big role in raising more brand awareness.

According to Tony Whitehorn, Hyundai Motor UK President and CEO, the original Hyundai i30 has grown its market share in the UK each year since it was launched in 2008. Now, the i30 appeals to young, progressive customers who want a great-performing car that also looks great. This, he said, is going to ensure greater sales success and will grow brand awareness as well as enhance the perceptions of British consumers with regards to the Hyundai brand.

The i30 will be on sale starting March 12, 2012. Prices will start from £14,495 and will rise to £20,795. It will be spanning four trim levels – Classic, Style, Active, and Style Nav – and 16 models across its range.

Topics: hyundai, europe

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