Hyundai Talks About Their Future CUV, SUV Models In U.S.
David Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, has a plan, and if he gets his way, you’ll be seeing many more crossover SUV’s bearing the Hyundai name.
Speaking at the recent New York Auto Show, Zuchowski spoke about the new Hyundai Tucson, whilst also touching on other parts of the Hyundai lineup, including the Sonata and the likelihood of a pickup truck inspired by the Santa Cruz concept vehicle.
Throughout this talk, Zuchowski continued to return to the subject of the truck and utility market in the US, which he believes is important to the bottom line of his company.
Zuchowski spoke about the new Tucson, and how popular the outgoing model has been for Hyundai.
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Hyundai Tucson CUV Sales To Double
While the company is pleased with the 40-45,000 units the vehicles was selling annually, he admits to some level of frustration, as Hyundai is well aware that they could well double that figure if they were not hampered by production constraints.
The issue in the US is more than just the Tucson, though, as the market in this country is dominated by SUV’s, trucks, and crossovers.
Those account for 56% of all sales in the US, yet Hyundai only accounts for 20% of their total sales in those markets. He believes that boosting production for new and existing models will help boost Hyundai’s performance in emerging markets, and will also help their lineup get more in line with the average industry mix.
The question now is what Hyundai plans to do to make that happen.
Zuchowski says it will start with doubling the number of Tucson’s available in the US from 45,000 to 90,000.
While that may not happen overnight, he believes that by the end of the first full year if increased production that the Tucson will be able to reach those levels.
Right now, he believes that they are at about 50% more than normal.
The 2016 Tucson is now bigger than before, which means that an opening may now have opened up in the subcompact crossover SUV segment.
Zuchowski believes that the shift from midsize cars to CUVs is what will happen in the compact car segment, as those models evolve into subcompact CUV’s.
That is why a crossover smaller than the Tucson is also in the works at Hyundai.
Upcoming Hyundai Santa Cruz
The talk returned to trucks once again, though, with the hot topic being the Santa Cruz concept that Hyundai unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Zuchowski admitted that one of the reasons for building the concept was to gauge the reaction from consumers, dealers, and the automotive media.
He was pleased to announce that the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and that the groundwork has been laid to create a production version of the crossover truck.
He did say that a production model has yet to be approved, but that with a large portion of the work already completed, that it may be something Hyundai might yet be able to do by the end of the year.
One thing that definitely goes in the favor of the Santa Cruz is that it would be built on the same architecture as the new Hyundai Tucson SUV, which means it could be built on the production line at the Ulsan plant in Korea.