Hyundai’s slogan for the new i30 is ‘the people’s car’.
Cheeky, yes, but also a fine piece of opportunism from the ambitious Korean brand.
As VW’s name has quite rightly been dragged through the mud this past year, Hyundai has sensed an opportunity to promote itself as the kind of clean, wholesome, classless brand, and to borrow a couple of slogans VW may choose to avoid using for a while in the process.
Although Jochen Sengpiehl, Hyundai’s European marketing boss, told me there was no intention of cashing in on VW’s dieselgate misery, the inference is clearly there.
“Maybe another competitor is not the people’s car anymore, especially in Europe…” he said. “Are people really prepared to spend 10% more for something? On our way to grow, we need to get to the heart of Europe, and offer a car for everyone. In English, that’s the people’s car.”
He admitted it was a slogan to get the media talking (and here I am doing just that…), “not a slogan for end consumers”. He said Hyundai wanted to “spice up and show our aspirations”.
So, can the i30 fill the gap of the Golf as that classless car able to be driven by all? “What the Golf has achieved, we won’t be able to, as it’s an icon. The Golf is a status-less car, driven by students and rich people. It’s so strong in Europe.
“We don’t want to fight it, but get some of the nuggets from it, be the alternative for people saying it’s not accessible anymore. People can want it, and not pay that much for it. With a family of i30s coming and lots of powertrains, we can attract a big audience.”
Would you really bet against them?