Hyundai’s 2010 Goal in the US is 500,000 sales and 4.5% Market Share
Korean automaker has seven new model launches in 2010, plans aggressive marketing campaigns this year, and, although this wasn’t in the plan, is also benefiting from Toyota’s troubles
By Brendan Moore
Hyundai sales went up in a decidedly down US market in 2009, and the company sees blue skies in an improving market in 2010. Their sunny prediction is that Hyundai will go from 4.2% percent market share last year to 4.5% this year. To do so, the Korean manufacturer will need to hit 500,000 unit sales.
Hyundai sales in the US jumped 8% last year, going to 435,064 units in a market that crashed downward 21% overall. The company jumped an amazing 1.2% in market share, going from 3% to 4.2% in a single year.
Company officials are quick to say that they don’t think they can match that sort of market share growth this year, but that they feel that there is a “really good chance” that they will hit 500,000 sales this year for the first time ever, according to Dave Zuchowski, US sales chief of Hyundai.
Zuchowski went on to say that, “The 500,000 number is a magical number for us.”
However, Hyundai may make its numbers and then some, due to the stumble of the 800-pound gorilla that is Toyota. When the company was putting together its more modest forecast for sales increases in 2010, it factored in a stronger GM and Chrysler, two competitors that were in an eviscerated state in 2009 due to their respective federal bankruptcies. But it did not factor in a Toyota staggered from recalls and a drop in consumer confidence.
Zuchowski stated that before the recalls, around 6% of Hyundai’s trade-ins were Toyotas. Since the recall, that number has jumped up to 11%. Toyota is the brand most Hyundai buyers shop against, he said.
“In the past few weeks, we have virtually not lost anyone to Toyota,” Zuchowski said.
The Hyundai executive went on to say that their data shows that Hyundai is benefiting most in terms of “intenders,” people who are now considering both Toyota and Hyundai together when starting their car shopping process. Zuchowski claims that percentage has really spiked since the start of Toyota’s recall troubles.
Although it may seem that company officials are being a bit too giddy, this may actually be a case of undue modesty and restraint on their part. Hyundai dealers are already running out of certain vehicles, most notably the new Sonata and the Tucson. Dealers say that some people are buying the Sonata without even driving the car – their only concerns are color, options and date of arrival.
Its difficult to envision a scenario in which Hyundai won’t make its sales goals this year, given their strong product lineup, the planned marketing push, and the unanticipated (but welcome, from Hyundai’s point of view) meltdown by Toyota. It is widely believed that the competitors that will benefit most from Toyota’s stumble are Honda, Ford and Hyundai. The only question is how the numbers will pan out at the end of the year in terms of which company records the greatest benefit, courtesy of Toyota.
Given their recent history, I wouldn’t bet against Hyundai.
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