South Korea’s Hyundai Motor, the world’s fifth largest automaker when taken together with affiliate Kia Motors, sees the new generation of its top-selling Tucson sport utility vehicle ready to address the growing demand for compact SUVs across the world and also buoy the slowing China sales.
The biggest carmaker in South Korea forecasts deliveries of 570, 000 units of the new generation Tucson across overseas markets in 2016, the first year of full availability. The Seoul-based company last year sold 540,053 Tucsons. The model is not without worthy rivals – including the newly introduced Ford Escape or the upcoming refresh of the VW Tiguan – and will be produced across Hyundai plants in Korea, China and Europe. Analysts believe the model could be crucial for Hyundai to be able to lift sales in slowing markets – including China and the United States, the first and second largest single auto markets of the world. But the new generation also comes at a time when Hyundai Group Chairman Chung Mong Koo is predicting that combined deliveries at Hyundai and Kia would grow at their slowest pace in almost a decade.
The Tucson sport utility vehicle has also grown in importance in Hyundai’s passenger car lineup – soaring from 7 percent of total sales half a decade ago to 11 percent of the mix in 2014. Since first entering the market – back in 2004 – the Tucson has reached deliveries of almost four million units across the globe, being the best-selling crossover for the company during the past decade. Of that amount, 412,229 units went to the US and slightly more than one million were delivered in China. The latter market saw overall Hyundai deliveries dip 5.7 percent after the first two months of the year have passed – all the while industrywide sales have jumped 16 percent, show figures coming from the company and the China Passenger Car Association.