Meet Hyundai’s mega people carrier, the H350
Bigger, roomier than Starex
Among the 170 commercial vehicles (CVs) exhibited at the Hyundai truck and bus mega fair in Kintex, Korea, last month, the H350 attracted somewhat more attention than the giant units.
That is about par for the H350, which, according to Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI) president and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, has generated about 35 percent of inquiries at Hyundai roadshows, the highest inquiries ranking for a new CV.
Hyundai Motor Company is a major exporter of trucks and buses as its Jeonju factory is the world’s biggest production center for commercial vehicles with an annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles a year.
Agudo showed off the exhibited H350, called the Solita in Korea, to the Philippine motoring media who were invited by HARI to visit the Hyundai truck and bus mega fair.
A tall, roomy, premium minibus-cum-limousine, the 13+1 seater H350 short wheelbase model is already being sold on a commercial level in the Philippines.
It is powered by a 2.5-liter CRDi turbo intercooler diesel engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, has a monocoque body with 75 percent of the chassis made from high-strength tensile steel, rear wheel drive, and vehicle dynamic control aside from airbags, ABS, keyless entry with alarm and rear parking sensors.
Agudo considers it a sure winner. “After the Starex, the H350 could be an opportunity for those who want more space and more height in a CV,” she said. “Inside, the height is 7 feet which means that a 6.5 footer can enter easily without bowing down.
“The H350 can not only be a people carrier and not only for the family, but even extend to the entire clan to enjoy it. The H350 can take three generations—grandparents, parents and children—inside, all in one as it’s really very spacious and comfortable.”
With a suggested retail price of about P2.8 million, the H350 is the only one of its kind, Agudo claimed. “Who’s our competitor? There is no competition in the market for the H350.
“The Toyota Grandia? That’s the competitor of the Starex. The Nissan Urvan? Not even. If you look at our H350, it’s taller with bigger space, premium features and different specifications.”
Agudo disclosed that the first batch of the H350 is already being assembled at the recently opened Hyundai Assembly Center in Calamba, Laguna, along with the Eon.
HARI intends to produce 1,000 units of the H350 within the next 12 to 16 months and targets sales of 50 units per month initially.
“Fifty units per month to start the ball rolling, but we hope to hit the Starex’s sales volume for the H350,” Agudo said confidently.
At present, HARI has 42 dealerships nationwide. Initially, Agudo plans to have 10 dedicated CV facilities opened by the end of 2017.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the first CV dealership, Hyundai Trucks and Buses Cainta, was held recently.
If HARI succeeds in hitting its target sales for the H350 in the near future, Agudo may have to return to Seoul once more to receive the Hyundai Motor Company Global Distributor of the Year Award.
HARI first won the prestigious award in 2010, and bagged it again in 2016.