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Hyundai Motor America to release new suvs this year

Posted January. 15, 2018 08:15,   

Updated January. 15, 2018 08:31


Hyundai Motor Company has revealed a plan to improve sales in the U.S. market with the reinforced lineup of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) and pickup trucks.

“We are planning to launch a new SUV model to boost this year’s sales by 4.5 percent on year,” said Lee Kyung-soo, president of Hyundai Motor America (HMA), at a press meeting on Saturday (local time) in Fountain Valley, California.

The release of new SUV models is considered crucial not only for the recovery of sales in the market but also for securing long-term competitiveness. Last year, SUVs including pickup trucks accounted for 65 percent of the total sales in the United States while sedans represented 35 percent of the market. On the contrary to this trend, 64 percent of HMA’s models are sedans while the company’s SUVs take up 36 percent. Currently, Hyundai’s SUV lineup in the U.S. market is comprised of only three models including Santa Fe and Tucson.

In the first half of the year, HMA will launch compact SUV Kona, which will also be advertised next month during the Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). In the second half, the all-new Santa Fe will be released. “Our plan is to boost the share of SUVs in sales to 50 percent this year,” said Lee.

Additionally, HMA is planning to present a total of eight SUVs including a sub-compact SUV, which is smaller than Kona in size, a medium and large SUV, and a premium SUV, by 2020. Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor, also expressed hopes last Tuesday, saying, “The situation will get better than last year if our SUVs are well received in the U.S. market.”

Hyundai has confirmed that it has given the greenlight to its U.S. division to produce pickup trucks. As the United States is practically the only market where pickup trucks are popular, there has been heated debate internally over whether the company should develop the models.

It is also noteworthy that the total responsibility management at the division level, which Hyundai Motor has presented as a core management strategy for this year, starts first in the United States. “Whereas the headquarters used to decide models that should be sold overseas in the past, now the U.S. division will be able to consider the popularity of vehicles in the market in production and better cater to customers,” said Lee.

Woo-Shin Han hanwshin@donga.com