Hyundai is aiming the newly launched Ioniq 5 full-electric crossover as a direct competitor to the Volkswagen ID4, although the two vehicles are in different segments, the automaker’s Europe chief, Michael Cole, said.
At the same time, he said, the Ioniq 5 could also appeal to buyers of premium full-electric crossovers such as the Audi e-tron, Tesla Model Y and BMW iX3 because positioning, competition and even pricing are difficult to define in the still-developing electric vehicle market.
"It feels like any electric vehicle probably is a competitor right now, within a reasonable scale," Cole, who is president and CEO of Hyundai Europe, told Automotive News Europe.
Nonetheless, the ID4 remains the main target of the Ioniq 5, the first vehicle from Hyundai’s electric subbrand.
"Hyundai is still a mainstream brand, and if you are positioning yourself like that, you always have to look at who is the market leader; and VW is inevitably going to be your benchmark," he said.
Hybrid and electric models from Hyundai have used the Ioniq name, but last August the automaker announced it was launching a global battery-electric subbrand using the Ioniq name. Ioniq plans to release two more full-electric vehicles in the next three years.
Cole said that Hyundai had no plans to move Ioniq upmarket to premium or near-premium status. Hyundai's Genesis brand already competes in those segments, although it’s not yet available in Europe.
Hyundai describes the Ioniq 5 as a midsize crossover, while VW considers the ID4 a compact. At 4635 mm (182.5 inches) the Ioniq 5 is shorter than other midsize crossovers (the Audi e-tron is 4901 mm long, and the BMW iX3 is 4734 mm long), but slightly longer than the ID4, at 4585 mm.
Hyundai says the Ioniq 5 has the interior space of a larger midsize vehicle because its dedicated E-GMP electric vehicle platform allows for a longer wheelbase.
The price of the Ioniq 5 has not been announced. Autocar magazine has reported that the price of a higher-trim launch edition, called Project 45, will be 45,000 pounds (53,200 euros or $63,450) in the UK. In comparison, the ID4 launch edition costs 49,950 euros, with a base model listed at 36,950 euros in Germany.
The Model Y starts at 58,620 euros, the e-tron starts at 71,900 euros and the iX3 at 69,950 euros.
The Project 45, which has options such as a solar roof and 20-inch wheels, can be ordered in France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Norway. Deliveries will begin in the second quarter.