Hyundai’s been struggling to keep pace in the U.S. market due to a lack of sport-utility and crossover vehicles to round out its line-up of very pleasing sedans. While the South Korean automaker is adding those much needed utes, it revamped its portfolio a little more by pruning its top sedan, the Azera, from its U.S. rolls.
The Azera, which will continue on it other markets outside the U.S. as the Grandeur, was never a big seller in America and with its midsize Sonata seeing tough times lately, it apparently didn’t make sense to keep the slow-selling Azera around.
It was originally an upscale model when introduced in 2014, but with the introduction of the Genesis and its subsequent spinoff into a premium brand, the Azera really didn’t seem to have a home in either line-up.
The Azera was “on the periphery of purchase consideration” for many shoppers, Hyundai acknowledged, adding that the 2017 model will be the last version available in America.
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“The Azera premium sedan has been a successful model in the Hyundai line-up for a number of years, with great style, comfort and generous amenities, all at a very appealing price point,” Hyundai officals said in a website posting.
Hyundai sold 1,792 Azeras in the first six months of 2017, which was down 30.4% from a year earlier while looking for the Genesis G80 and G90 to take up the slack of those looking for a more upscale sedan from the maker.
“Over the last few years, however, the Hyundai and Genesis line-ups have continued to increase the appeal of their models.”
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Hyundai officials said that Azera buyers, which competed with the Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima and Chevrolet Impala, are also interested in the Sonata. The midsize sedan got a midcycle facelift for 2018, including a new eight-speed transmission.
The company, like many of the other automakers in the U.S., suffered through a tough June with sales off 19%, although that it comparing to a record month in 2016. Sonata sales are really suffering down nearly 28,000 units on a year-over-year basis.
The company is seeing some improvement with its utility vehicle sales and it optimistic about the revised Sonata.
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“With Ioniq demand exceeding our expectations and the 2018 Sonata hitting dealers shortly, we are poised to close the year strong and pick up retail market share,” said Sam Brnovich, executive director, National Sales, Hyundai Motor America.