Text and photos by Iñigo Roces
While passenger vehicles are expected to take a dip next year, it’s full steam ahead for the commercial vehicle sector. Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), distributor of Hyundai passenger and commercial vehicles in the country, hopes to capitalize on the current infrastructure building spree with its timely expansion into trucks and buses. What it has to offer is a broad and specialized menu of vehicles, as exhibited in the annual Hyundai Truck and Bus Mega Fair held in Seoul South Korea.
HARI flew members of the media to South Korea to tour its commercial vehicle factory as well as visit the vehicle fair to get a sense of what the brand has to offer.
Korea’s leading brand has all logistical needs covered, starting with the Porter series for light duty needs, moving up to the HD – series and Might lines for Medium duty, while the Mega and Xcient lines answer heavy duty needs. The Xcient is easily one of its most impressive platforms with tractor head, dump truck, car carrier, cab and chassis, as well as other customizable configurations.
Its passenger vehicles start with the H350 extra large van (already assembled and offered in the Philippines). The bus line starts with the County mini-bus, City medium bus and ends with the Universe full size bus.
The Truck and Bus Mega Fair features all Hyundai commercial vehicles, ranging from compact light trucks and buses to heavy duty or specialized vehicles for emergency services or construction. The fair is held on a large outdoor area to better showcase the wide variety of vehicles and their abilities. It serves as a veritable one-stop shop for clients, showing off not only the broad line up of trucks and buses, but partner body builders, coachbuilders and aftermarket suppliers as well. The event is organized like any international motor show, though exclusively featuring Hyundai vehicles and its partners. Nonetheless, the event featured some 200 vehicles on display, a truck test drive track, interactive booths featuring upcoming technologies, food trucks, and even games and activities for kids.
Like any motorshow, Hyundai also dedicated space to feature its upcoming technologies like magnetorheological suspension systems (ferro-fluid shocks), automated driving systems and car-to-car communication, as well as remote vehicle monitoring systems.
Standing in the spotlight was its prototype zero emission Elec City bus. This renewable energy vehicle is equipped with 256kwh lithium-polymer batteries and boasts of a range of 290 kilometers per charge. The bus is set to be released in South Korea next year.
Hyundai’s commercial vehicles are manufactured in its 440,000 sq-m Jeonju plant, the world’s largest facility dedicated to CV production with an annual capacity of 103,000 units. The high-tech factory is highly automated, with robots doing majority of the building under human oversight.
HARI president and CEO, Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, is optimistic about the company’s entry into the commercial vehicle segment.
“Trucks and buses in the Philippines is a growing market, even if it’s just 10 percent of total volume, you can see a growth in that segment. Trucks and buses will be the next viable solution to the growing traffic, they will help in more efficient road and traffic management,” said Agudo.
“We’re looking at 10-percent market share in five years’ time and hope to double it in another five years. We call it the ‘Ascent’ strategy to contribute to Hyundai’s vision of being Top 5 globally in 2020.”
Despite being a new player in the commercial vehicle segment, Agudo remains confident that Hyundai will be able to penetrate a field dominated by more established players.
“We have a more complete product mix. We have the logistical support of body building and can customize to the requirements of the clients. When it comes to quality and engine displacement, we are very competitive.”
Judging by the variety of offerings and configurations at the Hyundai Truck and Bus Fair, it is evident that the brand is more than capable of meeting even the most specialized requirements. Hyundai Motors has the support of the Hyundai conglomerate behind it, with subsidiaries like Hyundai Steel, Dymos, Everdigm, Mobis and Glovis offerings solutions in the related fields of auto parts, construction, infrastructure development, advanced driving technology and global logistics.
In the Philippines, HARI is already equipped to make its presence felt and more accessible with seven commercial vehicle dealerships already established across the country and more to follow.
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