Hyundai Australia is forging ahead with plans to sell cars using three different business models in Australia across its Hyundai, N Performance, Ioniq, and Genesis brands.

    The new car industry is currently grappling with shrinking margins, price pressure from a growing crop of Chinese upstarts, and the looming switch from internal combustion to electric power.

    As a result, the model of how they sell cars in Australia is being called into question.

    Hyundai is hedging its bets on which business model will carry it forward.

    The regular Hyundai line-up is currently sold through a dealer franchise model, where stock is sold wholesale to dealerships who can then negotiate with customers on the final sale price.

    The Ioniq range is sold through a hybrid, where prices are fixed by Hyundai Australia but a pool of franchise dealers are responsible for delivering the cars to customers. Those same dealers will soon have demonstrator stock on the ground allowing them to more actively sell, but pricing will remain fixed.

    Finally, the more luxurious Genesis range is sold using a full agency model. Hyundai Australia owns all the stock, operates all the brand’s showrooms, and delivers the cars to customers.

    Hyundai Australia chief operating officer John Kett told media the three business models are essentially being trialled side-by-side as the brand looks to 2030.

    “The brands that are doing agency at the moment obviously have a volume ceiling. We don’t think we have one, and we can’t succeed without our dealers,” Mr Kett said.

    “We’re going to keep working through that. We’ll have three models, and whatever that fusion is in 2030 or 2035, whatever works best, works best.”

    The current business model hybrid is part of a broader plan to drive Hyundai back past 100,000 sales in Australia – but doing it in a way that still allows for dealers and head office to make money.

    Mr Kett earlier this year expressed caution about chasing numbers purely for the sake of it, arguing Hyundai “nearly killed everyone” to hit 100,000 sales in 2016.

    “No-one made any money, and no-one can remember us for it – especially consumers – because they were all sold to fleets,” Mr Kett said.

    Hyundai’s best seller in 2016 was the i30 hatch (starting price $21,450), followed by the Tucson SUV ($27,990) and Accent ($14,990).

    Next time Hyundai celebrates 100,000 sales, Mr Kett says it’ll be in a way “that the customer felt like they got some value” and “our [dealer] network felt like they made some money”.

    Although unwilling to commit to a firm deadline, the executive earlier this year said he’s hoping to return to 100,000 annual sales by around 2026.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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