Ashley Andrew interview
Hyundai's Ashley Andrew: offering choice of powertrains across new SUV range
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HYUNDAI relaunched its SUV range in Barcelona, Spain, with an all-new Santa Fe, new diesel engines for Kona and refreshed Tucson, plus a 48v mild hybrid diesel.

Still to come is Kona EV and the fuel cell SUV model Nexo. The latter, unlike its ix35 Fuel Cell predecessor, will be right hand drive.

To embrace these new SUVs, Hyundai Europe VP for Marketing, Andreas-Christoph Hoffman, unveiled the company’s new slogan: ‘feel unlimited’.

“We are looking for the word or words that describes the brand,” he said about the global number five brand. “We want customers to feel unlimited when they drive a Hyundai.”

How will ‘feel unlimited’ translate to the UK market I asked UK Sales Director Ashley Andrew?

“Our SUV marketing will be on a sector by sector basis,” explained Andrew.

“But in terms of our design and technology we can comment as a family and that’s where ‘feel unlimited’ is appropriate.

“As a brand we are relatively young. We have certainly gone from being a follower to a leader in technology such as our fuel cell.

“But it’s also about giving consumers choices. SUVs offer lifestyle choices, whether it’s towing a caravan or a more outdoor lifestyle.

Santa Fe to get a PHEV petrol-electric powertrain

“And we have a selection of powertrains. Today we have launched the new Santa Fe with a 2.2 diesel engine. But in 2020 we will be expanding this with a PHEV model.

Hyundai SUV range
New Nexo fuel cell takes hydrogen to the next level

“Next year we have our hydrogen powered Nexo SUV model, and we expect take up to much higher than ix35, thanks to it being right-hand drive.

“Speed of take up is dictated by hydrogen availability, but we expect businesses to consider it where it’s appropriate for them and the infrastructure is supportive.”

Refreshed Tucson is key model

In terms of the SUVs in the revised Hyundai line up, the refreshed Tucson, which features signatures Hyundai ‘cascading grille’ and tauter rear styling, is the focus model.

“For business users the key model is the SE Nav model,” says Andrew. “It combines an excellent specification with low P11D.”

Company car buyers will now be able to choose the Tucson with a brand new 1.6-litre diesel engine. This will be available in two power trims – 115PS front-wheel drive six-speed manual; and 136PS front-wheel drive seven-speed DCT auto.

The new Hyundai Tucson
The new Hyundai Tucson: refresh of styling, plus new diesel engines, including 48v mild hybrid

The lower powered engine offers CO2 of 130g/km, placing it in the 31% company car tax bracket; the higher power engine has lower emissions of 126g/km and is one band lower on the company car tax banding.

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Andrew said he expected diesel to take 45% of Tucson sales; petrol 55%. There will be no plug-in hybrid variant in the current Tucson lifecycle. However, a new 48v mild hybrid diesel is available, but with CO2 emissions over 150g/km it’s unlikely to feature highly on leasing choice lists.

Current Tucson sales split evenly between retail and fleet.

New Kona ramps up sales

Launched last year with 1.0-litre petrol and 1.6 litre petrol engines, the Kona engine choice has been expanded with the new 1.6 diesel engine also found in Tucson. In summer, this will expand further with an EV option with up to 300 mile range.

Hyundai insiders are confident that the new Kona will really achieve this mileage.

The Hyundai Kona
The Hyundai Kona – new diesel added to petrol range; 300 mile EV version to follow in early 2019

Andrew says Kona sales have been extraordinary, with a 60/40 split in retail to fleet.

“The montly ramp up in Kona sales is vertical. We already have a 4% market share in segment. As a brand we have a 4% market share, so to have 4% within the segment is a fantastic performance.”

The new powertrains – and availability of the 1.6 T-GDI petrol engine with front-wheel drive for the first time (CO2 from 112g/km) – will help sustain and expand such strong market share in the compact SUV segment.

The Hyundai Santa Fe
The new Hyundai Santa Fe – full seven seater gets diesel engine to start, PHEV model added 2020.

All-new Santa Fe goes seven-seater standard

The all-new Hyundai Santa Fe is only being offered as standard with seven seats; the third row can be folded flat to expand luggage space.

Andrew says most Santa Fe models are acquired through leasing, often on PCH to avoid benefit in kind taxation implications.

“Whether acquired personally or through business lease, the majority of Santa Fe purchases are backed by business money,” says Andrew.

But the key to improved RVs has definitely been the standardisation of seven seats for improved RVs.

“The RV setters give you better feedback with seven seats,” explains Andrew. “If you have the choice of five and seven seats, then they tend to set residuals based on the five-seater. But the seven seater has better RVs, and this we hope to capitalise on with all-new Santa Fe.”

The best-selling Santa Fe from the previous generation was the Premium SE. Andrew said he expected that to continue.

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Distinctive SUV range

Andrew says that design is the key element in the new SUV range from compact Kona SUV to large seven-seater Santa Fe.

“It’s all about design with SUVs. But they are distinctive vehicles. And while they share the same design language they are defined models within their own right.

“Our proposition is to have a range of vehicles and powertrains in play, so that whatever the Chancellor gives us, we have the answer.”

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