Hyundai Motors New Zealand has bravely launched a new range of light trucking vehicles in a stagnant market that also places heavy pressure on companies to cut emissions.
The new HD diesel series was unveiled at National Fieldays this year and is Hyundai New Zealand’s first real foray into the light trucking market.
Ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 ton, the new trucks have been designed to meet current European Emissions Standards with a Euro 4 compliance rating.
This is achieved using the recently introduced exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and particulate matter catalyst (PMC) technologies that work together to re-circulate exhaust gas and burn exhaust dust before it exits the muffler.
Hyundai commercial sales manager Errol Riley, originally from heavyweight Southpac Trucks, said that the Euro 4 engines are part of Hyundai’s wider strategy to offer vehicles that are more environmentally friendly.
“Consumers and governments want a clean, green world to live in, so we are doing what we can to decrease emissions. One way we can do that is being more efficient with the exhaust system,” says Riley.
“We’re world leaders in New Zealand when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint, so it’s only logical that Hyundai follow suit and do what we can for the environment.”
Euro 4 is currently the benchmark emissions standard for new vehicles, but come January next year all vehicles must meet Euro 5 expectations.
But Riley isn’t worried about the European standards.
“Our Euro4 is already at the Euro 6 acceptance as far as emissions are concerned, so we’re ready to go into the future.”
Hyundai is introducing these vehicles into New Zealand at a time when the truck market is in an extremely poor position.
The number of commercial vehicle sales has slumped over the recession period. Registration data shows a 28 per cent decrease in commercial vehicle registrations in 2009 from 2008. Close to 19,000 new and used commercial vehicles were registered in 2009 compared to 37,000 in 2007, the lowest number since 16,600 was recorded in 1988.
“We realize it’s a big step launching the range now, but we have confidence that the market will bounce back very soon. When it does we will be ready and willing to push our product,” says Riley.
“Launching these trucks is a step-up for us. But it is a natural step to take, based on the success of Hyundai’s passenger vehicles sales in New Zealand over the last 30 years.
“Hyundai trucks are used successfully throughout most of the world already. The qualities will be recognized by New Zealand operators and they will quickly become a leader among New Zealand truck sales.
“Hopefully we can work off the success of our light trucks and start introducing some medium trucks as well.”
The HD series are part of a new push from Hyundai engineers in Korea to build right-hand drive vehicles for the New Zealand market. Medium trucks are still a way off however, currently being constructed only as left-hand drive and meeting the Euro 2 standard, too low to be accepted in New Zealand.