South Korean carmaker Hyundai announced it has sold five million vehicles in Europe since the first Hyundai Pony was imported in 1977. The five millionth vehicle was an i30, which was launched in 2007 and has sold a little over 320,000 units on the continent. From the five million sales, the last million was achieved in just three years, a proof of Hyundai's accelerated growth in Europe.
The first million sales mark was reached in 1996, nineteen years after the brand's introduction to Europe. The second million mark was achieved in 2001, with the brand hitting three million sales in 2005 and four million in 2008.
The Korean automaker gained momentum with the introduction of the “i” range, starting with the i30 in 2007, the first Hyundai product designed and engineered for European customers. Built at the company first European plant at Nošovice, Czech Republic, the i30 was followed by the i10, i20, the ix20 compact MPV and the ix35 crossover.
“Hitting five million sales is a wonderful achievement for Hyundai, and it marks us out as a major player in what is the world’s most competitive car market. But this is just the beginning for the brand. We are planning for further sales growth during 2011, to take us to 3% market share in Europe,” said Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe.
In order to achieve these ambitious targets, Hyundai will increase the output of its Czech plant to 300,000 units a year, with the company also counting on the success of the all-new i40 sedan and wagon, set to launch in Europe during the last quarter of 2011.
By Dan Mihalascu
- Hyundai milestones in Europe:
- 1977: First Hyundai imported into Europe
- 1996: One Hyundai millionth car sold in Europe
- 2000: Hyundai Motor Europe GmbH established
- 2004: Opening of R&D and Design Center in Rüsselsheim, Germany
- 2006: Opening of Hyundai Motor Europe in Offenbach, Germany
- 2008: Opening of first European Production plant in Nošovice, Czech Republic
- 2011: Hyundai launches new brand slogan “New Thinking. New Possibilities.”
- Hyundai’s top five european markets by sales volume since 1977 have been:
- Germany: 714,260 units
- UK: 661,328 units
- Italy: 633,670 units
- Spain: 550,401 units
- Netherlands: 365,207 units