South Korea’s Hyundai Motor counts on the US auto market to deliver a significant boost in deliveries this year, aiming to finish the year with figures 4.7 percent higher than in 2014, better than the overall industry’s forecasted increase rate.
That’s even as the fifth-largest world automaker (when taken into account with its affiliate Kia Motors) has seen the US consumer base increasingly shift away from passenger cars towards SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks. Hyundai’s main models, the Elantra and Sonata sedans have seen a slowdown in the United States as buyers jump at the opportunity of picking up not so fuel-efficient, but bigger vehicles due to the continued low gasoline prices. The latter segments have been traditionally the assets of US and Japanese rivals. Hyundai recently announced it was mulling US auto sales of 760,000 units in 2015, up from 726,000 for the year ago period, as the automaker moves to introduce later in the second quarter the next generation of its best selling Tucson compact sport utility.
But the company’s forecasted growth rate is at least double from the currently envisioned industry-wide sales increase, with analysts and industry experts putting it at around 2 percent. “The 5 percent target looks challenging. There are not many Hyundai SUVs to sell in the US,” comments Ko Tae-bong, auto analyst at Hi Investment & Securities. The company might have trouble supplying enough SUVs to the US market, with the Santa Fe built by Kia’s US plant and the Tucson compact being imported.