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Hyundai Blows Into Chicago with Updated Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport SUVs

Korean carmakers aims to stay relevant in fast-moving SUV market.

by on Feb.11, 2016

Hyundai makes a number of changes to the 2017 Santa Fe line, including a new front fascia with a brushed-look grille and new headlamps.

By the millions, American motorists are migrating from conventional passenger cars to sport-utility vehicles and more car-like crossover models. And manufacturers are responding with a flood of new offerings.

So, it’s a challenge to keep existing models fresh and competitive – something Hyundai hopes to handle with the debut of updated versions of two key entries at the Chicago Auto Show. It boasts that the 2017 Santa Fe and smaller Santa Fe Sport models get not only a mid-cycle facelift but enhanced safety, convenience and connectivity features.

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Hyundai is so upbeat about the prospects for the 2017 updates it is planning to boost capacity, notably adding production of the Santa Fe Sport at its manufacturing plant in Montgomery, Alabama. But it is also readying a slew of new utility vehicles to take advantage of shifting market trends.

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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.”

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Hyundai Expands Santa Fe Family

It’s a family affair.

by on Nov.30, 2012

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a 3-row spinoff of the Santa Fe Sport that went on sale earlier this year.

In the car business, naming vehicles is an art all to itself. But now Hyundai is following a practice pioneered by Ford with its wide range of “F-Series” pickups, and more recently, Toyota with its Prius “family.  Now, the Korean carmaker will go the same route, utilizing the Santa Fe name for two distinctly different vehicles.

Hyundai showed off the production version of the latest model to wear the Santa Fe badge, a new three-row six (or seven) seat crossover, at the 2012 LA Auto Show. A two-row, five-seater dubbed the Santa Fe Sport, has been on sale since August.

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John Krafcik, the Hyundai of America of chief executive officer once oversaw Ford F-Series engineering. Ford has traditionally treated all the various full-size pickups – from single-row, light-duty models to heavy-duty crew-cab trucks with extended beds – as a single nameplate. The all-encompassing F-Series has been America’s best-selling vehicle for more than 30 years.

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Hyundai Delivers Two Versions of New Santa Fe

Long-wheelbase model delivers added room, third row.

by on Apr.05, 2012

The short-wheelbase Santa Fe Sport.

The 2012 New York Auto Show is delivering more than a few surprises – notably including Hyundai’s unexpected announcement that it is launching not one but two new versions of the 2013 Santa Fe crossover.

The Santa Fe is one of the most important models in the Korean carmaker’s line-up.  An earlier generation signaled the start of Hyundai’s dramatic transformation from econobox maker into a high-quality, stylish brand.  But today, it’s a critical entry into one of the U.S. market’s fastest growing segments.

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The challenge, said Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik, was meeting the needs of both young buyers and empty-nesters who might need just a 2-row crossover-utility vehicle, as well as growing families who want a 3-row CUV with seating for up to seven.

Rather than try to squeeze in the extra seats – as it done previously – Hyundai decided to produce the long-wheelbase Santa Fe and shorter Santa Fe Sport.

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