2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
Hyundai Germany has risen to third place among importers. In an interview with Autogazette, managing director Werner Frey speaks of new goals, the shrinking distance to Skoda and a big eight.
At Hyundai, things are continuously improving. The car manufacturer from Korea has overtaken Fiat and Peugeot in Germany and is currently in third place behind Renault / Dacia and Skoda in the importer ranking. “It may seem as if success falls into our lap, but it is hard work with our dealers,” says Germany managing director Werner Frey in an interview with Autogazette, “and you don't know how he is Market is developing. I'm more in favor of solid construction, that makes the whole thing weatherproof."
Frey expects to sell at least 80,000 vehicles this year. "Maybe a big eight will come out." In the coming year, the three percent hurdle is to fall after Hyundai Germany had reached the number in three months. Frey cannot currently imagine an attack on Renault / Dacia. “Reaching 100,000 quickly and saying we made it is not our business. It's not about being in third place. I know that Hyundai will grow accordingly."
Distance to Skoda is shrinking
However, the gap to Skoda is shrinking: "There are days in the course of a month when we are very close to Skoda," says Frey. Even a possible crisis will not keep the company off course: "I think we are very well positioned."
Even worldwide there are no targets in the battle for the largest automaker. "We are now in a completely different focus," says Frey, "and it is clear that we want to continue growing." The manager also limits the fact that the tasks have to grow with the size, if the critical size of between eight and nine million units sold worldwide is reached each year. “Who knows, maybe Hyundai will come into this size one day. I don't know whether we'll be second or third."
Hope for the big eight
Autogazette: Mr. Frey, can you sleep for joy at all at the moment ?
Werner Frey: I can actually always sleep well and eat well. That should be the case, because then a job is really fun. But of course it's not bad at all when you're so successful.
Autogazette: Hyundai has moved up to third place among the importers in Germany. Are you starting the attack on number one now?
Frey: We didn't set out to do that, but we want to keep growing. That's why I'm very calm and I'm not worried about the number of pieces. I don't know if the others will make it, but I will make it.
Autogazette:Almost 59,000 vehicles were sold by August. What is the goal for 2011 as a whole?
Frey: There will be an eight, we won't change that either. But maybe there will be a big eight.
«The three may fall in 2012»
Autogazette: In February you said you wanted to achieve a market share in Germany of over three percent by 2015. Half a year later, Hyundai is already close…
Frey: …we even had three months this year in which we were over three percent.
Autogazette: When does the three percent hurdle fall?
Frey: It could be that the three will fall next year.
Autogazette: That would be three years ahead of the actual goal. Where do you want to be in 2015?
Frey:I haven't changed my goal. A lot of things have to be mastered, from production to sales and deliveries, where the ix35 has previously been a bit of a problem. The problem should be resolved by the end of September. It may seem like success falls into our lap, but it's hard working with our dealership together. And you don't know how the market will develop either. I'm more in favor of solid construction, that makes the whole thing weatherproof.
Autogazette: Which measures led to the success?
Frey:Our steady growth, even if there are jumps as with the environmental bonus. Solid growth makes us fundamentally very strong and more resilient when the wind blows harder in our faces. Reaching 100,000 quickly and saying we made it is not our business. It's not about being in third place. I know that Hyundai will grow accordingly.
We are now in a difficult phase
Autogazette: So the attack on the title of the strongest importer after all ?
Frey: I always look up. There are days in the course of a month when we are very close to Skoda. And Skoda is number two.
Autogazette: VDA President Matthias Wissmann said before the start of the IAA that the German manufacturers are robustly positioned. Should Hyundai fear a possible crisis?
Frey: I think we're very well positioned. We last proved that when we continued to grow during the crisis. And we grew profitably. There is only one group that has managed to do that and that is Volkswagen. And we are growing on all continents, that is the strength of Hyundai.
Autogazette:Are you expecting a new financial crisis?
Frey: If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have answered: No, nothing comes of it. But we are now in a difficult phase. I don't know if one will come, but there will be certain setbacks.
Autogazette: In times of crisis, Germans are also more reluctant to buy a car…
Frey: … and before the crisis occurs, people worry and wonder whether they should buy a car or put the money aside. Others say, before it all goes bad, I'll buy a car. But they are more in the minority. There will be a certain reluctance.
«Kia competitor like any other»
Autogazette: also for Hyundai?
Frey: My sales manager came to me two weeks ago and gave me the results of a study that forecast the total market at 3.25 million units. I am more cautious and assume 3.1 million new car registrations for 2012.
Autogazette: During the crisis came the scrapping bonus. Did the program change the image of Hyundai?
Frey:We used the scrappage bonus as an opportunity and were particularly well positioned in the A, B and C segments. The new vehicle tax accelerated this. At that time we had five models that had less than 120 grams of CO2 emissions. That worked. As a result, there was a different presence and perception of our models and the value of our products was recognized. There was also good word-of-mouth advertising. We are now on a wave and are perceived as winners. And of course we would rather be among the winners than the losers.
Autogazette: You could win even more if Hyundai - like Renault and Dacia, for example - publish joint numbers with Kia…
Frey: … this is practiced with certain statements. Together we sold 5.74 million cars worldwide each year. But Kia is also a competitor on the German market like any other, a competitor that we take seriously.
Never immune to recall
Autogazette: But technically there are many similarities between the different models…
Frey: … that's good too, because it puts us in a position to shop better or to develop better. Other companies have a very high proportion of the same components in their various vehicles. We are still in the process of differentiating.
Autogazette: But just under 84,000 vehicles of both brands sold together in the first eight months would not sound bad either.
Frey: I don't know if that would bring anything to Kia or us.
Autogazette:Even if Hyundai is growing constantly, the pace was set at a pretty good rate. How long can such a pace be maintained without mistakes - as was the case with Toyota, for example, which then had to initiate mass recalls?
Frey: You are never immune to recall. At the moment we were and are lucky. But mistakes can always happen, we are only human too. We have to keep our feet on the ground and not take off. I always tell the dealers that too.
Meanwhile in a completely different focus
Autogazette: Hyundai has also shown a high pace worldwide and is seen as a competitor in the battle for the largest automobile manufacturer…
Frey: … we are now in a completely different focus. But you are also exposed to greater competition.
Autogazette: When will you take over the top?
Frey: There are no targets for the group. It is clear that we want to continue to grow, even with a certain degree of aggressiveness and cleverness, in order to win people over to Hyundai.
Autogazette: But making it into the top five was given as a goal in 2002 as well.
Frey:We will continue to work and who will be next will be seen. But there is also critical size…
Auto Gazette: … which is between eight and nine million vehicles sold per year…
Frey: … It's a huge challenge. Toyota saw that with the mass recalls last year. You have to grow with the size of the task. Who knows, maybe Hyundai will come of this size. I don't know whether we'll be second or third.
Funding for electric cars is needed
Autogazette: More and more people are willing to do without their own car. Some manufacturers are tinkering with mobility concepts or already have them up and running. When is Hyundai going mobile?
Frey: First of all, I see the very big cities like Beijing or Shanghai having an obligation to set up networked mobility and develop concepts. We manufacturers can help with this.
Autogazette: When will the first electric vehicles be launched?
Frey:I take a very pragmatic view of the electro hype. In Germany we could offer a car in the next. However, there are still many questions about the right battery concepts, recycling, and so on. And in Germany I would have to train the dealers and mechanics to have parts and tools ready and, if necessary, to carry out repairs, a huge investment for very few vehicles that are sold.
Autogazette: Why is it that the hype in Germany is not yet so high?
Frey: We need funding, a boost that doesn't have to be there forever. In general, I am a representative of the diversity of drives.
Autogazette:The first fuel cell vehicles should appear in 2015. What are the effects of joining the Clean Energy Partnership so late?
Frey: It's a collaboration, being there and benefiting from it.
Autogazette: And when the partnership expires in 2016, will it continue under competitive conditions that you want to leave as the winner?
Frey: That could be (laughs).
The interview with Werner Frey was conducted by Thomas Flehmer
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