Moreover, demand for the Casper in Korea alone is almost sufficient to fulfil the capacity of the plant where it’s built. According to data from Hyundai, 45,451 Caspers were sold last year. Nikkei Asia reported in November 2021, when the factory in Gwangju opened its doors, that it had an annual capacity of 70,000.
Exporting the Casper to Europe while maintaining sales momentum in its home market would likely require either a significant increase in capacity at Gwangju or an additional production line in Europe.
The Nikkei report said that Hyundai planned to expand Gwangju to more than 200,000 cars per year, including EVs.
Hyundai UK declined Autocar’s request for comment.
Regardless of which models Hyundai decides to import to Europe, it has previously committed to continued production of small cars.
The brand’s European chief, Michael Cole, told Autocar in March 2023 that the i10, i20 and i30 were “all still in our plan, even for the next generation”.
Cole added that the next challenge is to evaluate smaller EVs, saying: “I believe there’s a market below [the] Kona [crossover] and maybe even in more traditional bodystyles, such as hatchback.