The growth of South Korea’s most prominent car maker, Hyundai, has been considerable over the past few years – and over the next few it could be even more so. This new i40 will form part of Hyundai's expansion, now into D-segment family saloons.
Riding on a wave of interest ignited by various scrappage incentives and fuelled by a raft of consistently improved models, Hyundai doubled its UK market share in the three years since 2008. By 2014 Hyundai is aiming for 100,000 sales a year in Britain and half a million across Europe. That could put it on a par with the likes of Toyota, BMW and Audi for volume.
You need look no further for a symbol of the maturity and stature of the Hyundai brand than the i40. Forget any memories of Sonatas, XGs, Grandeurs or other big Hyundais that have gone before; this car was designed by a team of Europeans, developed in Russelsheim and, on paper at least, would appear to meet or exceed every European class standard.
The i40 has all the makings of Hyundai’s first truly credible and competitive entrant in the family-orientated D-segment. But should the makers of the Mondeo, Insignia, Passat and others really be concerned?