It was a good year for Hyundai – perhaps too good.
The Korean carmaker, long known for providing cheap and cheerful econoboxes, scored a solid hit with its must upscale model ever, the premium-Luxury Equus. It landed its second win with a coveted North American Car of the Year trophy for the compact Hyundai Elantra sedan. And it saw sales surge to another record.
The numbers would have gone even higher, contends John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, if the maker had enough capacity. “Even in the worst days after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, our inventories have been shorter than either Toyota or Honda,” he said during a conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com.
The Korean carmaker is actively looking for ways to boost production at its Alabama assembly plant, as well as at a factory run by its sibling Kia providing some additional product for Hyundai dealers. But barring a sudden slowdown in sales, Krafcik believes Hyundai can’t come near to meeting potential U.S. demand in 2012.