Hyundai to launch pickup, more SUVs to reverse slide in U.S. sales


Senior company executive of Hyundai Motor told Reuters that the Korean Automaker plans to introduce a pickup truck in the United States. The move is part of a bigger plan to make up amongst a shift away from sedans as the U.S. is one of the company’s most valuable markets.

Hyundai’s U.S. unit vice president of corporate and product planning, Michael J. O’Brien, confirmed that the corporation’s top management had given the go-signal for the development of a pickup truck like the one introduced by U.S. Hyundai executives in the year 2015, the Santa Cruz.

Currently, Hyundai is not offering a pickup truck in the U.S.

O’Brien also stated that Hyundai is planning a U.S. launch of Kona, a small SUV, later this year.

It is said that the pick-up truck is suspected to be introduced in 2020. Also, people familiar with Hyundai’s plans said that the automaker is planning to launch three other new or refreshed SUVs by the year 2020.

Hyundai Motor is planning to roll out a brand new version of Santa Fe Sport, a mid-sized SUV in 2018. It will then be followed by the introduction of an all-new 7-passenger crossover which will supersede the current three-row Santa Fe early in 2019 in the United States. And in 2020, a redesigned Tucson SUV is anticipated.

Consumers in China, the largest auto market in the world, are substituting car based SUVs for sedans. On the other hand, crossovers, sports utilities built on chassis comparable to sedans, is estimated to account for about 30 percent of the total sale of light vehicles in the U.S.

As the demand for sedans such as the Sonata and the Elantra has declined, dealers of Hyundai in the U.S. have convinced the company to be more aggressive in investing in SUVs and trucks.

One of Hyundai’s chief executives, Scott Fink, said that they are ‘optimistic about the future’. Fink is the chief executive of Hyundai at New Port Richey, Florida which is the company’s biggest dealer in the United States.

In 2017, through July 31, Hyundai’s U.S Sales has been worse as it has decreased to nearly 11 percent compared to an overall 2.9 percent drop in the sale of car and light truck in the United States. Sonata, a pillar of Hyundai’s franchise in the U.S., also has sales that have fallen to 30 percent during the first seven months of this year. On the other hand, Hyundai’s sales of its present SUV lineup are up by 11 percent, its first time for the first seven months of 2017.

“Our glasses are fairly clean,” O’Brien said. “We understand where we have a shortfall.”