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Hyundai to increase separation with Kia

Hyundai is becoming more sophisticated, but it will not give up its ‘value' position says the company's European chief, Allan Ruthforth.

Ruthforth said the differentiation between the South Korean car company and its sister brand Kia is emerging and will accelerate over the next few years.

He said: "Kia will be more sporty and Hyundai more sophisticated.

"Both brands now have their own European factories and the cars we build, the Hyundai i30 and the Kia Cee'd are in healthy competition.

"They are both designed and developed for European tastes and roads but you will see the two companies developing their own definite identities and this process is accelerating - we don't want to spend 20 or 30 years establishing brands.”

Ruthforth said that the new i30 factory in the Czech Republic improves the availability of the car across Europe and also means customers can get their new car more quickly rather than having to wait for a ship from Korea.

He added that key to the success of the car is its penetration into fleets in Europe.

Ruthforth said: "Traditionally Hyundai has been seen as an SUV manufacturer and our Sante Fe and Tucson models have been very successful - but SUVs don't penetrate the fleet markets that deeply.

"With our new range of ‘i' models we are re-engineering the business to balance our product offering to be able to offer more mainstream models to compete with the likes of Vauxhall, Ford and Volkswagen."

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