Hyundai will focus more on retention of existing customers rather than on aggressively growing its European market share during 2014, according to the firm's Europe boss Allan Rushforth.
The Korean company is on course to maintain a 3.5 per cent market share in Europe in 2013, and wants to grow to 5 per cent by 2020, but the immediate priority is ensuring existing customers stay loyal to the brand.
“Our primary aim is to continue enhancing the quality of our operations, even if that means we are unable to sustain our market share,” said Rushforth.
“Over the past five years we’ve done a really good job of being in the right place at the right time with the right products. European scrappage schemes gave us an opportunity to conquest many new customers; now our challenge is to keep the customers we won.”
About three-quarters of the 3.3 million Hyundais on the roads of Europe are less than seven years old, and Rushforth said improving brand loyalty would create a solid sales base for the long term.
“In 2012 our loyalty rate was just 36 per cent, but now it is above the industry average at 49 per cent. If we increase our loyalty by, say, another five per cent, that will give us an additional 34,000 sales every year,” he said.
Rushforth said customer retention could be achieved by offering “the right models for Europe built in Europe” and by increasing the number of people using ‘captive finance’ – where customers buy their cars from the manufacturer’s own finance subsidiary. Hyundai’s research suggests such customers are more loyal and buy higher-spec models.