Currently reading: Hyundai boss admits surprise at success of Ioniq 5
Sharply-styled SUV was pitched above Hyundai's normal offerings but market has not faltered

Hyundai’s European chief Michael Cole has admitted the firm has been surprised how successful the Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV has been at winning over customers from premium brands.

The sharply-styled SUV is the first in a line of models from the Ioniq sub-brand that uses the Hyundai Motor Group’s bespoke electric E-GMP platform. It was joined last year by the Hyundai Ioniq 6 saloon, with the larger Ioniq 7 SUV set to follow next year.

Due to the higher cost of EVs, the Ioniq range is pitched above where Hyundai has traditionally been positioned, but has been a sales hit.

Asked if there was a limit to how premium a future Hyundai could be pitched, Cole said: “Our experience with Ioniq 5 would almost suggest no. It’s brought such a rich conquest mix, and it’s probably a higher ratio of customers from premium brands than we’d anticipated. There is not necessarily a limit.

“With Ioniq 7 there was a bit of hesitation a year ago prior to Ioniq 5 about whether it was a car for Europe – but after the success of the Ioniq 5, we now 100 per cent think it’s a car that we can sell in Europe, and we will capture some premium brand customers with it. Brand loyalty doesn’t seem to be as strong in EVs.”

But Cole ruled out a wholesale premium switch for Hyundai, adding: “We want to keep the customer base we’ve got, we’re not trying to change our whole outlook, but we believe we can reach a whole new customer as well with EVs.”


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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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XLR8 20 March 2023

Proof that if you get the product proposition right, customers will come. I also believe that consumers (and not necessarily solely BEV consumers) are less concerned about brand of late - witness the growing success of MG. Some food for thought for Volkswagen and other obvious-choice "mass premium" brands?

Mutters 20 March 2023
Success? I have been a hyundai owner for the past 15 years, I ordered the i5 and was told 6 months for delivery, no worries.6 months later got told another 6 months!!! I am now the proud owner of a Tesla .
Nice one Hyundai you successfully sold a Tesla
Shrub 20 March 2023

The term SUV has become meaningless these days. We could blame manufacturers and their marketing departments but I don't, I blame motoring journalists for not exercising any rigour in their reporting (not that I have seen Hyundai market the 5 as an SUV).