Hyundai Motor tries to appeal to young buyers

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Hyundai Motor tries to appeal to young buyers

Hyundai Motor said it will boost marketing efforts to attract young customers to reverse a decline in sales in the domestic market.

At the Brilliant Motor Festival in Songdo, Incheon on Sunday, the company said it will hold diverse events like the motor festival to reach out to customers in their 30s.

“An event like this motor festival is something we wouldn’t even try if the company were sticking with an old-fashion marketing strategy,” said Kwak Jin, executive vice president of Hyundai Motor’s domestic sales division, at a press briefing.

“We started organizing this event as part of our mission to improve the communication channel with young customers. We spent about 10 billion won ($9.11 million) last year, the same amount we would spend if we offered one million won-discounts on 1,000 cars. We thought such an event would help us find out what young customers are really looking for rather than just offering some discounts.”

The combined market share for Hyundai and Kia Motors has been consistently falling over the past few years, mainly due to an increased popularity of imported cars like BMWs and Audis, which are considered better quality cars. The falling prices of imports have also contributed to the rising popularity of imported cars.

The market share for Hyundai and Kia in 2012 was 74.6 percent, which dropped to 71.4 percent the following year and to 69.3 percent last year. The figure dropped to 65.9 percent in January, but bounced back to 69.4 percent in April thanks to some new models including Hyundai Motor’s new Tucson SUV, according to the company.

The motor festival held at Songdo was in its second year. Over the past two years, Hyundai Motor Group invested 5.3 billion won to build the circuit and also spent 10 billion won to build seats and other facilities.

“Other motor racing events were held in places that are too far away from metropolitan areas like Yeongam in South Jeolla,” Kwak said. “This event held in Incheon was much easier to access. We’re aware that many young customers have bad feelings about the Hyundai brand. We will try to find new marketing strategies to change such feelings.”

Beyond the domestic market, the nation’s two auto giants are riding high in China. They are now the no. 2 car sellers in China after Volkswagen, beating GM. New SUVs developed for China appeal to young customers, Hyundai said.

According to local industry data Sunday, Hyundai and Kia Motors sold 146,294 units in China in April, a 2.5 percent rise from a year earlier. Hyundai Motor sold 90,288 cars, a 0.8 percent drop from a year ago, while Kia Motor sold 56,006 units, an 8.4 percent rise from last year.

That figures gave the two auto giants a combined market share of 10 percent, beating GM, which sold 138,795 cars. The two reclaimed the no. 2 spot for the first time in nine months when they sold 125,191 cars in July last year. A total of 1,457,941 units were sold in China this month, a 6.9 percent rise from a year ago.

Small size SUVs that the companies developed exclusively for China led the sales. Hyundai Motor said it sold 8,489 ix25 SUVs while Kia Motor sold 5,437 units of KX3 SUVs.

BY KWON SANG-SOO, KIM YOUNG-MIN [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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