He expects retailers to sell 12,000 units of the new Getz upermini this year – 40 per cent of the comp-any's 31,000 sales target for this year. Last year, the Korean company sold 29,000 cars in the UK, which was up seven per cent against a market that grew four per cent.
The Accent will be repositioned and priced away from the volume sector with sales expected to fall from 8400 to 3500. And, for the first time, the 2003 Accent gets a 1.6-litre engine and saloon body.
But despite this moderate message, Walker is confident and ambitious when it comes to the future. “Consolidation is definitely the watchword for 2003 before our product programme starts again in 2004,” Walker says. “Nevertheless, we have between 10 and 12 important open points in metropolitan areas, which we aim to fill by the end of this year, taking our dealer network up to approximately 170 sites.”
On a cautionary note Walker adds: “Our real weakness is the supply chain. Dealers are experiencing delays of five to six months and the only solution to this is to manufacturer cars in Europe.” Walker also vowed to bolster Hyundai's historically poor residual values by increasing specification rather than prices.