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.
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.”