Intriguing news about Hyundai from Our Man in Brazil this week.
Group CAOA, which assembles the Tucson and, soon, the ix35 SUVs, together with the HR light truck, and handles the full import line, will not be entitled to market or service the upcoming HB, effectively Brazil's i20, which will be assembled by Hyundai itself in a brand-new factory and sold and serviced through a brand-new dealer network.
Want an HB dealer to service your Tucson? Tough. And don't go taking your HB to a CAOA dealer, either.
I have a feeling this is going eventually to blow up in Hyundai's face. In the consumer's mind, the oval H badge on the tin and over the shop door are the one and the same. So, why can't your dealership sort my warranty claim or service?
Closest parallel I can think of is when my native New Zealand, late in the '80s, thought it would be a good idea to let any old Joe Bloggs Used Car emporium to grey-import used cars for sale in competition with the franchise's officially imported used stocks. Customers would roll up with some oddball car never intended to have left the Isles of Nippon fully expecting the franchise shop to have the parts, tools and manuals to fix it. "It's my car's brand name on the door, isn't it?" Some 'used import' cars did, at least, look more or less the same as the export version but, often, parts for the locally-assembled or officially imported equivalent wouldn't fit. Official distributors initially swung between offering as much support as possible to 'go away' until the aftermarket boys made hay, the official dealers squawked about all the parts and service business they were losing and the official distributors gave in. Some 20 years on, ye gods, distributors like Toyota even import their own used models from overseas, as well as brand-new cars; the long-defunct local CKD plant has been revived as a used car processing facility.
So it'll be interesting to see how the Brazilian household fancying a Tucson and an HB will react to having to shop at two completely different dealers...
First-half, second quarter and first fiscal quarter results have begun rolling in and, as usual, range from pop-the-champagne (Volkswagen), European caution ahead (Ford) to just-go-on-holiday-and-worry-about-it-in-autumn (PSA). As usual, we have grouped 'em all in one handy take-home pack for you.
Just ahead of its Q2 results announcement, there was an interesting report about Ford's capacity, utilisation of, in Europe and a suggestion from analysts that losing a plant or two might be an idea. With a US$1bn loss forecast for this year, a hard decision will have to be taken soon. Genk, which makes Mondeo and will soon start on the new one, effectively our version of the Fusion, has a labour deal good out to 2014 which puts Ford roughly where Opel is with Bochum and I don't much like Southampton's chances now that almost all Transit production is in Turkey.
Both moves would make sense, of course, but Belgium has already lost GM Antwerp and Southampton is the last Ford vehicle-making outpost in England - there would be huge local outcry in both countries. Bags not being the PRs having to explain the closures to locals and media...
Have a nice weekend.
Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com