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Automakers Shift Production as Sedans Slide, SUVs Surge

More Santa Fe Sports, fewer Sonatas, at Hyundai’s Alabama plant.

by on Jan.08, 2016

The Santa Fe Sport. Hyundai believes it could sell lots more if it had the production capacity.

Hyundai plans to add production of its Santa Fe Sport at its assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama this coming summer, hoping to keep up with a surge in demand for utility vehicles driven, at least in part, by low fuel prices.

The boost in production of the Santa Fe Sport will come at the expense of the Hyundai Sonata, since the capacity of the Alabama plant will remain around 400,000 a year. But that’s no surprise, industry analysts say, as Sonata sales in the U.S. slipped 1.7% in 2015 due to lagging demand for sedans, in general. Sales of the compact Hyundai SUV, however, were limited by a lack of supply.

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And Hyundai isn’t alone, said Stephanie Brinley, a senior automotive analyst with IHS Automotive. “What we are seeing in the 2015 results is an increased appetite for SUVs, with sedans taking a hit.”


Hyundai Mulling Second US Auto Plant

Demand for crossovers drives production increase.

by on Mar.12, 2015

Hyundai's plant in Montgomery, Alabama, may be getting another production line to meet demand for crossovers in the U.S.

Hyundai has a problem…a good problem: it can’t build enough vehicles to meet demand. As a result, it is looking to expand its production capability in the U.S. to meet the demand for its crossovers and SUVs.

The South Korean automaker has seen its marketshare in the U.S. slide as sales of crossovers and SUVs has risen in the last several months in concert with a steady decline in gas prices. The automaker’s strategy in the U.S. has focused on building more cars at its two facilities here.

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However, it’s now scrambling to decide whether it should add another production line at its plant in Montgomery, Alabama, where it currently builds the Sonata and Elantra. The new line, which Hyundai is not confirming, could take on production of its Santa Fe crossover, which is currently produced in Georgia, or the smaller Tucson, which is imported from Korea. (more…)

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.