BERLIN -- Hyundai unveiled its new Tucson with an agile and dynamic design that the automaker hopes will help the model gain ground in Europe's ultra-competitive compact SUV segment.
Hyundai has revived the Tucson name in Europe after selling the SUV as the ix35 since 2009.
"We want to give the brand a face," Jochen Sengpiehl, Hyundai Europe's marketing boss, said at an event here on Tuesday to show the model to journalists. "We want customers to see Hyundai with fresh eyes."
The Tucson’s main task will be to attract customers from rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan, while not cannibalizing sales of the Sportage built by Hyundai’s sister brand, Kia.
Raphael Bretecher, general manager at Hyundai's European design center near Frankfurt, said the new Tucson's swept-back design looks very dynamic even when the car is standing still. "On a motorway, you should very clearly see it’s a Hyundai from very far away," he said.
The ix35 is Hyundai's best-seller model in Europe, accounting for 22 percent of sales. Its Tucson successor will have its public debut at the Geneva auto show on March 3. The Tucson will go on sale in Korea before the end of June. European and U.S. sales start soon after.
European versions of the Tucson will be built at Hyundai's factory in Nosovice, Czech Republic, replacing ix35 production.
The ix35 was the No. 4-selling compact SUV in Europe last year with a volume of 93,827, up 4 percent, according to data from JATO Dynamics.
The Nissan Qashqai was the No. 1 seller with a volume of 204,500, up 1 percent. No. 2 was the VW Tiguan with sales of 150,154, an increase of 5 percent. The Kia Sportage was the No. 3 with sales of 97,459, up 6 percent. Overall, the segment grew by 6 percent to 1.03 million sales.