Special Coverage

Paris
Auto Show

PARIS – Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. takes another step into European territory with the introduction at the auto show here of the ix20, a B-segment multipurpose vehicle sharing a platform with sister-brand Kia’s Venga.

The ix20 already has started production at Hyundai’s plant in Czech Republic, and sales will begin in the coming weeks in Europe.

Hyundai is on a roll, with its 5-year warranty and entry-level pricing attracting attention during the region’s ongoing economic crisis.

The brand has increased its market share from 2.4% to 2.6% since the start of 2010, and the Korean auto maker expects to increase that to 2.8% by year’s end.

Hyundai Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun says global sales grew 19% in the year’s first half . He credits “never losing focus to put top priority on customer satisfaction.”

The Korean press says Chung visited dozens of competitors’ stands at the show here before headlining his own press conference. He is the son of Hyundai Kia Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo and heir apparent for taking over the group, which sold 3.1 million vehicles last year.

“We are always aiming higher, striving to build a perfect car,” he says. The Korean market leader is achieving success, moving up on the top-100 global brands list for the last several years to its current 65th position, with a value of $5 billion.

Hyundai calls the ix20 a cross/utility vehicle – between a useful family car and a sporty, fun- to-drive vehicle.

The ix20 Blue, the most fuel-efficient version, emits just 114 g/km of carbon dioxide. The vehicle was developed at Hyundai’s Russelsheim, Germany, research and design center and has personality, using Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture design language that first appeared on the larger ix30.

Mark Hall, new marketing director for Hyundai Motor Europe, says the sales goal for the ix20 is 55,000 units annually.