High demand for SUVs in the US prompts Asian carmakers to boost exports image

Asian automakers are trying to keep up with the strong demand for SUVs in the US, thus planning to increase production capacity in Japan and South Korea.

The sport utility vehicles, from compact to larger ones, have fueled the US auto sales last year. Such strong demand has made the Asian carmakers rise exports into the States and it has also urged them to boost the output capacity and plan on expanding their SUV lineup. On the other hand, the rise in exports to the United States does not please some American union workers at all, as they are obviously concerned about jobs cuts to overseas competition. On such high demand perspectives, South Korean automaker Hyundai intends to bring a subcompact crossover SUV to extend its offer in the segment at soon as possible, Mike O’Brien, Hyundai’s product planning chief for the US market, revealed. The new model will come into the States in the near future, but not in 2016, he told Reuters in an interview at the Detroit Auto Show. After selling around 63,000 Tucsons in the US last year, Hyundai intends to increase the exports of its SUVs for the US market to more than 80,000 vehicles in 2016, O’Brien said. To boost sales, Hyundai more recently moved to “free up capacity in South Korea” to increase the number of Tucsons brought in, he added.

Nissan is another Asian automaker which reported strong SUV sales in the US. Its CEO Carlos Ghosn said his company is moving to send more Rogue crossover SUVs to the United States from Japan, after sales of the model jumped 44 percent last year to 287,000 units. Rogue SUVs sold in the US market consist of those produced domestically and some brought in from South Korea. “Our capacity (for the Rogue) in North America is running at more than 100 percent,” Ghosn said in Detroit. “We have Rogues coming from Korea, and soon we will have some Rogues coming from Japan.”

Via Reuters