GENEVA –Motor Co. Ltd. presented its cars and ambitions at the annual auto show here, confirming the company remains on track to become one of the world’s top five auto makers.
Europe President Ken Um presented the Tucson SUV and the
EQ Concept car, which presages an upper-middle entry due later this year.
“The SUV segment has an important potential in the European market,” he says. (See related story: Tucson Small SUV Bows at Chicago)
Hyundai’s larger Santa Fe SUV is among the leaders in Europe, although well behind theRAV4 and X-Trail. SUVs make up close to 6% of the market here.
|Hyundai Tucson SUV|
The Tucson, first unveiled at February’s Chicago auto show, will be offered with three engines in various markets. They include a 173-hp 2.7L V-6 with automatic transmission; 141-hp 2L with 5-speed manual; and 111-hp 2L diesel with either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
The all-wheel-drive system delivers power to the front wheels in normal driving, with up to 50% diverted to the rear wheels when wheel-slip occurs. The Tucson will arrive in dealerships in September, with a goal of 50,000 sales in Europe for the first full year.
Hyundai also previewed the E3 (E-cubed) concept, with the auto maker’s new 2.2L direct-injection diesel engine. Designed by Hyundai’s European design center, the car is a squat hatchback with the B-pillar integrated into the doorframe.
Chief European designer Micahel Fink used light-emitting diodes for the front and rear lights to reduce the size of the lamps, allowing them to meld into the lines of the body.
With a wheelbase of 104 ins. (265 cm) and overall length of 167 ins. (425 cm), the car is slated to go against competitors such as the Citroen C4 andGolf.
Um says Hyundai is on course to meet its goal of being among the five largest auto makers by 2010. He says sister company Kia Motors Corp. is not a competitor of the Hyundai brand, and that the two brands can grow together. “We are win-win with Kia,” Um says following his presentation.
Hyundai’s goal for 2004 is to grow to 2.27 million units, up from 1.97 million last year. In Europe, the goal is 330,000, up 64,000 from the prior year.