Hyundai sets sights on UK LCV market

Date: Thursday, June 28, 2007

South Korean vehicle manufacturer Hyundai is to launch a new van in the UK from early 2008 — six years after the withdrawal of the H100 panel van — which could herald a whole new range of LCVs from the brand.
The new model, codenamed TQ and shown originally at the April 2007 Seoul motor show is a bigger proposition than the current H1 it replaces (not available in the UK) and will come in both van and minibus formats. Standing 5,125mm long, 1,925mm wide and 1,920mm high with a wheelbase of 3,200mm it goes on sale in South Korea in October.

The first model brought to the UK next January will be powered by an all-new 289 lb/ft, 170 bhp 2.5-litre turbodiesel made by Hyundai and sold as a niche 'halo' product. A more mainstream 110 bhp version will arrive in August 2008 and lead, hopes Hyundai, to 5,000 UK sales per annum by 2010.

Hyundai's UK managing director Tony Whitehorn, who has already driven the new vehicle and admitted “it goes like a rocket,” said it will be pitched at owner/operators looking for a highly specified van and a more car-like interior. It may even launch with an automatic gearbox with the option of 'manual' sequential 'changes.

A 50-strong specialist LCV sales network is being sought by Hyundai UK although Whitehorn said all of its current 150 dealers would be able to service the vehicles.

Most intriguing of all, Whitehorn said that if sales of the TQ van go well Hyundai would definitely look to launch further LCVs in the UK, from car-derived models to light vans, to help Hyundai's well-publicised global ambition to become a top five vehicle maker by 2010.

The new van will make its European debut at the Amsterdam CV Show in October.

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