China-exclusive Hyundai sedan to debut in 2014
China is one of the few markets where South Korean automaker Hyundai has lost ground recently.
They saw their market share slip slightly in the first half of 2012, but have plans to rectify that situation by launching a mid-size sedan made solely for the Chinese market, which will arrive in 2014.
According to a pair of industry insiders, the car that Hyundai is set to introduce is a smaller version of the mid-size Sonata, and is already being referred to as the “Sonata-lite.”
The goal of introducing this type of vehicle into the Chinese market is to provide an affordable smaller car that is roomy and upscale enough to attract middle-class buyers. The hope is that they will then trade up from their first vehicle, most of which tend to be on the smaller side.
One of the insiders who uncovered the plans for the new vehicle said that Hyundai is trying to deal with the current shift in China’s marketplace where bigger incomes mean the desire for a bigger car.
espite the fact that bigger cars are what are desired, many buyers simply can’t afford to make the switch. The average cost of a low-priced compact is around $15,000, which is a good deal less than the $26,200 for a Sonata sedan and the $39,200 for the top of the range model.
Hyundai decided to develop the new car from the ground up, with slight modifications to existing technology. Their plans don’t include selling the car anywhere other than in China.
Hyundai’s chief financial officer, Lee Won-hee admitted that the car is scheduled to be produced at the new Beijing plant which will be opening shortly. He went on to say that the car was born from the rapid demand growth in that particular segment.
What no-one is telling is what the price tag will be or what type of engine will be under the hood.
There are best guesses though, with most believing that the car will be 1.8L engine, as well as possibly a 1.6L turbo engine, both of which are commonly found in smaller cars.
It was revealed that many of the components used in the new car will be taken from the Elantra.
The strategy of introducing a new car into the market is one that has already been attempted by Nissan who used this method with the release of the Sylphy, which they did by turning the compact Tiida into a larger vehicle. The Sylphy started at $18,700, with Nissan hoping to sell around 200,000 per year.
One of the insiders said that the Chinese only car created by Hyundai has been designed to directly compete with the Sylphy. He went on to say that while the Sylphy has being doing great business, he expects the Hyundai release to be much better than the Nissan entry.
Hyundai hopes they have a hit on their hands with this new release as they are keen for the rise in market share achieved in the US and Europe to repeat in China.
Hyundai currently sits 4th in the Chinese auto market for 2012, sitting behind VW, Nissan, and Toyota. They saw their market share drop from 5.89% at the end of 2011 to 5.65% to this point in 2012.