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To Reverse U.S. Sales Slide, Hyundai Will Launch More SUVs And Pickup Trucks

To Reverse U.S. Sales Slide, Hyundai Will Launch More SUVs And Pickup Trucks
The United States is one of the Korean automaker' – Hyundai Motor’s most important markets and as part of a broader plan to catch up with the consumer and industry wide trend of a shift away from sedans, the Korean company now plans to launch a pickup truck in the U.S., according to a senior company executive.
The green light for development of a pickup truck similar to a show vehicle called the Santa Cruz that U.S. Hyundai executives unveiled in 2015 has bene given by the top management at Hyundai said Michael J. O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning at Hyundai's U.S. unit.
A pickup truck in the United States is not currently offered by Hyundai.
Later this year, the Korean automaker plans to launch a small SUV called the Kona in the United States, O'Brien said.
Hyundai plans to launch three other new or refreshed SUVs by 2020, people familiar with the automaker's plans told the media separately.
At present, accounting for about 30 percent of total light vehicle sales in the United States are the so-called crossovers - sport utilities built on chassis similar to sedans. Car-based SUVs are also now being substituted for sedans by consumers in China, the world's largest auto market.
With plans of an all-new 7-passegner crossover which will replace a current three-row Santa Fe in early 2019 in the United Sates, Hyundai's plans said the company plans to roll out a new version of its Santa Fe Sport mid-sized SUV next year, people familiar with Hyundai's plans said. also expected in 2020 is a redesigned Tucson SUV, people familiar with Hyundai's plans reportedly told the media.
Because of the fact that in the United States, the demand for sedans such as the midsize Sonata and the smaller Elantra has waned, Hyundai's U.S. dealers have pushed the company to invest more aggressively in SUVs and trucks.
“We are optimistic about the future," Scott Fink, chief executive of Hyundai of New Port Richey, Florida, which is Hyundai's biggest U.S. dealer, said. "But we are disappointed that we don't have the products today."
Noting a worse performance compared to the overall 2.9-percent decline in U.S. car and light truck sales, Hyundai's U.S. sales are down nearly 11 percent this year through July 31. Through the first seven months of 2017, there has been a fall of 30 per cent in the sale of the Sonata, once a pillar of Hyundai's U.S. franchise. In comparison, for the first seven months of this year, the sales of Hyundai's current SUV lineup are up 11 percent.
"Our glasses are fairly clean," O'Brien said. "We understand where we have a shortfall.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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