Hyundai revamps Sonata sedan that shed automaker’s budget image

The new Sonata is the second Hyundai model overhauled under German-born Peter Schreyer, who took the helm of each Hyundai and Kia types in January 2013.

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March 3, 2014 – 10:34 am ET

SEOUL (Bloomberg) — When Hyundai Motor Co. final overhauled the Sonata in 2009, motorists embraced the curvier exterior and the South Korean business went on to acquire a lot more marketplace share than any main automaker for the up coming half decade.

These days, Hyundai is betting on a repeat jolt as the firm releases the very first photos of the 6th-generation sedan, which competes towards Toyota Motor Corp.’;s Camry, Honda Motor Co.’;s Accord and Ford Motor Co.’;s Fusion.

Hyundai strategies a far more complete unveiling of the sedan this month in South Korea and will display the vehicle at the New York Car Present in April.

Following currently being marred by record recalls, a worsening currency-exchange charge and its very first yearly revenue revenue in 5 many years, Hyundai could use an additional hit.

The car will be the 2nd 1 to be overhauled below German-born Peter Schreyer, who took the helm of both Hyundai and Kia Motors Corp.’;s designs in January 2013.

“The Sonata was the model that made consumers re-evaluate Hyundai from a maker of price range cars to one that made stylish and interesting cars,” explained Shin Chung Kwan, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities Co. “With the approaching Sonata, the organization is hoping to consider one more stage up.”

Since it was first introduced in 1985, the Sonata has offered a lot more than 6.8 million units globally and was Hyundai’;s second greatest-offering model behind the Elantra in the United States final year.

The remodeled Sonata in 2009 surpassed Nissan Motor Co.’;s Altima and General Motors’; Malibu.

Yearly product sales of the model virtually doubled in the U.S. by 2012 following the revamp, in accordance to organization data. The Sonata was ranked by J.D. Energy and Associates as the most reliable midsize car in their 2013 study.

Game changer

The car drew the admiration of some automobile executives. The Sonata “altered the game in that segment by having a extremely stylized vehicle,” Jim Lentz, head of Toyota’;s U.S. operations, mentioned in an interview in September.

Nevertheless, worldwide deliveries of the vehicle fell to 476,103 units final 12 months after peaking at 523,320 in 2011, as competitors introduced fresher offerings.

Toyota redesigned the Camry in 2011 and the most recent generation of the Ford Fusion was unveiled in 2012.

For Hyundai, a lot hinges on the accomplishment of the following Sonata, which will be the most crucial model for Hyundai this 12 months. Its bestselling Elantra, winner of 2012 North American Auto of the 12 months, isn’;t due for a major modify until finally subsequent yr.

The overhaul comes as Chairman Chung Mong Koo, head of the 2 Hyundai and Kia, is forecasting the weakest sales development in 8 years for 2014 as competitors intensifies and the more powerful won hampers exports.

Reversing slump

Hyundai in December named Dave Zuchowski to exchange U.S. CEO John Krafcik, who had led the U.S. unit for 5 many years, right after industry share there slipped.

Hyundai’;s U.S. sales rose 2.5 percent final year, a third of the market common development tempo, in accordance to data from the company.

Also, Hyundai and Kia agreed in December to commit as much as $ 395 million to settle lawsuits related to claims that they overstated the fuel-economic system ratings of their autos.

The 2015 model yr Sonata will be the first volume automobile to be unveiled implementing Hyundai’;s “fluidic sculpture 2.” design theme, a continuation of the philosophy that aided hint at velocity and the appears of expensive European designs. Competitors will be extreme.

The new Sonata will be coming up towards offerings from classic leaders, Toyota’;s Camry and Honda’;s Accord to the Ford Fusion.

Amongst the few information that have been emerged about the new Sonata are that it will sport functions far more commonly related with the a lot more upscale Genesis model, according to the company, which wasn’;t far more distinct.

“The new Sonata will provide enhanced good quality, greater mileage, and have a milder but a a lot more sophisticated seem,” said Lee Sang Hyun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co. “This will help Hyundai capture a broader audience and increase its income in worldwide markets.”

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