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Sales on a Record Track, Hyundai Looks Forward into the Past

Maker wants to be sure it can maintain momentum before committing to 2nd U.S. assembly plant.

by on Sep.22, 2011

Hyundai CEO John Krafcik.

The purple seats simply had to go.

There was a time when Korean managers thought that whatever would sell in the home market would be fine with U.S. buyers, including an array of funky paint and fabric colors — at least, as long as the price was low enough.  But then Hyundai went into freefall.

Today, U.S. market demands are clearly being taken seriously by Hyundai Motor Co., the maker’s California-based design center playing a serious role in the development of such new vehicles as the quirky 3-door Veloster and i30 – which will soon reach the States as the Elantra Touring.

Its Free!

If anything, expect the U.S. to gain an even more significant role in making key decisions, suggests Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik, because America has lately become Hyundai’s biggest market, a trend likely to continue as the maker surges from one U.S. sales record to another.

Barring an unforeseen and unlikely setback during the final 100 days of 2011, Hyundai is on a path to nip the 600,000 sales mark, up from a record 540,000 last year.  In fact, the biggest problem the maker seems to have right now is getting enough vehicles to meet U.S. demand, especially for products like the compact Elantra and midsize Sonata.

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Hyundai May Add Second U.S. Assembly Plant

Maker can’t meet demand for Sonata, other models.

by on Jan.17, 2011

Already struggling to meet demand for the Sonata, Hyundai is now running short of the new Elantra.

Hyundai is giving serious thought to adding a second U.S. assembly plant, the maker struggling to find ways to keep up with booming demand for the new Sonata sedan and other increasingly popular models.

The South Korean carmaker saw its sales surge 24% in 2010, volume reaching a record 540,000.  That included an all-time high 200,000 Sonatas, a midsize model that was a runner-up in the closely-followed North American Car of the Year competition.  (The trophy went to the Chevrolet Volt.)

Adding a second plant is “something we’re going to look at,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, during an appearance at the Detroit Auto Show.  A decision will “probably (come) after this year,” he added.

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