2023.01.19 Hyundai Motor Group

Strengthening Global Presence: Local Models of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Group
Even high‒quality products won’t be appreciated unless they consider the local culture and customer needs. Therefore, Hyundai Motor Group must develop a local model that delicately considers the tastes of each market.

Hyundai Motor Group sold a total of 6,848,198 vehicles in the global market in 2022 ‒ an increase of about 2.7% compared to 6,667,095 units in 2021. This is due not only to the fact that popular models such as the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage have boosted the performance of all subsidiaries as global best‒selling cars, but also to the spread of eco‒friendly models such as the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6. Here, local models developed according to the tastes of consumers in each market also led to good results. Local models actively met the needs of specific markets where it was difficult for global models to thrive.

A local model refers to a vehicle developed by considering the characteristics of a market that is slightly different for each country and continent. In addition to environmental factors such as topography, climate, and road network, other factors such as family members, travel patterns, purchasing power, and road conditions are complexly intertwined to affect car purchases. Therefore, Hyundai and Kia are expanding their brand power by introducing local models tailored to each market, including Europe, China, North America, South America, and Asia. Then, as for which models have been trending lately, here are all local models from Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors, which were outstanding last year.

Hyundai i10: Raising the bar for India’s compact car market

The i10 is a local model for India and Southeast Asian countries. They are manufactured by Hyundai India Plant, and are also the third most popular model in the Indian market after Creta and Venue. The current model is the third generation introduced in 2019, and is sold in India under the name ‘Grand i10 NIOS’. Also highly popular is its sedan‒type predecessor, the ‘Aura’; Both models are also adapting to India’s rapidly growing compressed natural gas (CNG) market.

Currently, the driving force of the Indian automobile market is compact cars. It is loved by many thanks to its reasonable price. But just because it’s a small car doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cheap. Like the i10, we need to understand and respond to customer needs. The i10 is said to have raised the bar in the small car market locally. It is loved for its marketability that goes beyond conventional compact cars, such as dynamic design, luxurious interior, and various convenience and safety specifications. That’s why the i10 has been able to beat other compact cars that only focus on price.

Hyundai Creta: small but big compact SUV

The Creta is a compact SUV sold in India and Russia. The current model is the second generation, released in 2019, and is the flagship model of Hyundai Motor India’s plant. Creta’s sales in the Indian market from January to November 2022 were 130,690 units, and exports were 22,205 units. It is loved so much that it accounts for 23.7% of Hyundai India Plant’s production.

Here’s the secret to Creta’s popularity; In the Indian market, which was dominated by small hatchbacks and small sedans, compact SUVs are currently the most popular vehicle type. Among them, Creta is preferred by young families thanks to its spacious interior that can accommodate 5 people and various convenience specifications. Creta’s long‒wheelbase model, ‘Alcazar’, is also popular. Alcazar offers either a 6‒ or 7‒seater model, and the 6‒seater model features independent second‒row seating. Just as Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento boosted the popularity of six‒seater SUVs in Korea, Alcazar is expected to do the same in India.

Kia Sonet: From India to Southeast Asia

The Kia Sonet is a small SUV in India, and along with the Seltos, drives Kia’s sales in the Indian market. However, Kia plans to launch Sonet in a broader market in the future. The automaker has already launched a 7‒seater model, the ‘Sonet 7’, in Indonesia and Vietnam. Indonesia, like India, has a large family‒oriented culture. In addition, consumers prefer SUVs a lot because of poor road conditions. The Sonet 7 has ample interior space for 7 people and a high minimum ground clearance that allows it to run stably even on rough roads. Of course, the automaker also offers a variety of convenience features that take into account the local situation ‒ like ceiling air vents. Sonet directs air through the third row through large ceiling vents, so passengers can enjoy a cool journey no matter where they sit.

Kia’s signature model captivated Europeans: CEED

Kia’s European model, CEED, boasts strong competitiveness; The 3rd generation facelift model, introduced in July 2021, beat Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus in a C‒segment hatchback comparison conducted by Auto Motor und Sport, a German auto magazine.

The most competitive category in the European automotive market is the C segment. Hatchbacks are especially popular. The influence of the narrow streets and alleys of the old town cannot be ignored, but the biggest reason Europeans prefer C‒segment hatchbacks is their lifestyle. Long‒distance car trips are common in Europe. It should be a compact body that is convenient for everyday life, but also capable of handling long trips. This is why compact and practical hatchbacks are much preferred.

Together with the Sportage, CEED drives most of the production at Kia’s plant in Slovakia. Production and sales from January to November 2022 were 73,965 units for CEED and 50,474 units for Xceed, a derivative of CEED. During the same period, it accounted for 42.7% of Kia’s Slovakia plant production. To respond to demand for CEED, Kia is also conducting subcontract production at the Avtotor plant in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Compact hatchback loved in Europe: Hyundai i20

The Hyundai i20 is one of the popular compact hatchbacks in the European market. The current model is the 3rd generation, introduced in 2020, and is loved by many as a drivetrain tailored to the tastes of European consumers who want affordable cars. The i20 offers a 1.0 turbo engine and a 1.2 gasoline engine, and a 48V mild hybrid system can be added to the 1.0 turbo engine. And here’s more; The i20’s 6‒speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) reduces emissions and increases fuel efficiency in a ‘Coasting’ mode when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal while driving. It is well known that European consumers value not only practicality but also economy. So, in a way, it is natural that the i20, which has excellent utility, performance and fuel economy, is popular in the European market.

The Bayon, a small SUV exclusively for the European market using the i20’s platform, is also gradually expanding its presence: Hyundai’s Turkey plant manufactured 188,334 units from January to November 2022, of which the i20 80,389 units, Bayon 42,803 units. The two models accounted for 65.4% of the factory’s production.

No.1 in Brazil: Hyundai HB20

Hyundai Motor Company’s ‘HB20’ was separately developed by Hyundai Motor Company for the South American market, where several automobile brands are competing using low‒cost compact cars. The current model is the second‒generation facelift model unveiled in July 2022, and is currently the best‒selling passenger car in Brazil. This and the HB20S are key models in the Brazilian plant. From January to November 2022, Hyundai Motor’s Brazil plant produced a total of 187,891 cars, of which the HB20 and HB20S accounted for 126,678 units, accounting for 67.4%.

Affordable first car for young Chinese: Kia Pegas

Recently, small sedans with low prices and marketability are popular in the Chinese market ‒ like the Kia Pegas. Pegas shows the standard of a small car using a 1.4 Kappa engine with a 6‒speed manual transmission or a 6‒speed automatic transmission. As such, here’s why compact sedans are trending in China; Currently, the main customers in the Chinese automobile market are in their 20s and 30s. As the income of young people increased, so did their buying power. Then, readily available compact cars started to become popular. Currently, Pegas is marking the highest sales volume among Kia models produced in Chinese factories.

MPV for the Chinese market: Hyundai Custo

Debuting in 2021, Hyundai’s ‘Custo’ is a 7‒seater MPV for the Chinese and Taiwanese markets. It is also an important model that features the luxurious and cutting‒edge image of the Hyundai brand in the Chinese market. Custo’s charm lies in its interior space ‒ the futuristic design and large vertical monitor in the center of the dashboard, for instance. This vertical large monitor is what the Chinese like; Chinese consumers prioritize the center monitor in the cabin, which is a symbol of high‒tech image. That’s why Custo, too, puts a large monitor at the center of its cabin design.

The fact that Cousteau listened to the needs of Chinese consumers can also be found in the powertrain lineup. Cousteau’s engines are 1.5 turbo and 2.0 turbo, and the transmission is an 8‒speed automatic. This combination is only available on Chinese local models. China imposes a consumption tax of 1% for vehicles with engine displacement less than 1,000cc, 3% for engines with engine displacements between 1,000cc and 1,500cc, and 5% for engines with displacements between 1,500cc and 2,000cc. In other words, Cousteau reduced the burden on consumers by putting a 1.5 turbo engine with a lower displacement. This is possible because we understand and reflect the characteristics of the Chinese local market.

The new star of the 7‒seater SUV market in the US: Kia Telluride

Kia Telluride is a model for North America launched in 2019, and has gained sensational popularity in the US market thanks to its generous size and outstanding marketability. Kia’s competitiveness is demonstrated by its stellar awards: ‘2020 SUV of the Year’, 2020 ‘North American Car of the Year’ in SUV, and ‘2020 World Car of the Year’, awarded by American Auto magazine ‘Motortrend’.

For reference, Kia’s US factories produced 316,678 cars from January to November 2022: 99,121 Telluride, 82,259 Sportage, 73,626 Sorento, and 61,672 K5. Telluride alone accounts for 31.3% of Kia’s total production in the US. This shows that one well‒made single model can drive the sales of an entire brand in a region.

North American model full of personality: Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai Santa Cruz is a North American model and is a pickup truck based on the 4th generation Tucson. Hyundai Motor’s US plant has mainly produced popular models in both the domestic and US markets, such as the Elantra, Sonata, Tucson, and Santa Fe. But recently, Santa Cruz, a US‒only model, has been added.

As is well known, large SUVs and pickup trucks are popular in the US market. America’s lanes are wide enough to fit a large car, and pickup trucks are very advantageous when people live in the suburbs and occasionally carry a lot of luggage. This is why SUVs and pickup trucks are preferred regardless of age. Unlike conventional pickup trucks, Santa Cruz attracts young consumers with a style that combines an SUV and a pickup, and the comfortable ride quality of an SUV‒based body.

MPV reflecting the Indonesian market: Stargazer

Debuting in 2022, the Stargazer is an MPV for the Southeast Asian market. It is an attractive model with a spaceship‒like design similar to that of Staria. The Stargazer is a compact MPV, but thanks to its clever design it can seat up to 7 people. It offers two options: a 6‒seater model with two rows of independent seats, and a 7‒seater model. It also has a host of advanced features: you can start the engine and adjust the cabin temperature before departure using Blue Link, theft notification, automatic collision notification, emergency assistance and more.

The vehicle design reveals a deep understanding of the Southeast Asian market, including Indonesia. The market is characterized by a high proportion of large families and poor road conditions. That’s why Stargazer is the right mix of minivan and SUV styles. Perhaps for these reasons, the Stargazer is currently the most popular Hyundai model in the Indonesian market. It has been available since August of last year, and sales for about 4 months were 13,062 units and exports were 4,408 units. The role of stargazers is expected to become more prominent this year.

As mentioned above, Hyundai Motor Group is offering local models for automobile markets around the world. These cars took into account the local culture and lifestyle of local customers. It would have been impossible without the will of the automaker to put joy and comfort into every process of using the car, rather than just creating a means of transportation. We hope that Hyundai Motor Group’s various models will continue to run with people’s dreams and happiness all over the world.

HMG Journal Operation Team


Pursuant to the Creative Commons License (CCL) 2.0, all users can copy, distribute, and transmit Information available on the Hyundai Motor Group Newsroom, or use it for exhibitions and performances. Please note, however, that all information is protected by copyright. Information users must use the information available on the Hyundai Motor Group Newsroom for strictly private/personal purposes only.

HMG Operation Policy