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> Is Hyundai's new conservative sedan styling failing?, sales numbers
elantragt
post May 10 2016, 07:33 AM
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All signs point to it. I'm not talking about SUV sales. SUV sales industry-wide are on the rise. So, it's no surprise the new Tucson is doing well. Genesis sales seems to be ok. But, Hyundai's two bread and butter cars, the Elantra and Sonata aren't fairing so well. And I believe the main factor is styling. When the last gen Sonata came out, the fluidic sculpture's swoopy design wowed people. It was so drastically different from the boxy previous gen Sonata. People bought them in droves.

Somewhere along the line Hyundai decided they had "arrived". It was now time to change things up ... again??!! "Now, that people are liking Hyundai let's go conservative, we will sell more cars". Guess what? That idea is a fail. The new Sonata hasn't wowed anyone. Instead of building on their styling success, they toned things down and people aren't liking it.

You think they would have gotten the message, but no. So they introduce a new Elantra that while mechanically better in ride and handling has less horsepower and a more conservative styling. The result? Sales this year are way down.. down 34%... that's a huge drop. So bad is the decline that the Elantra is now the number 5 compact in sales behind the Civic, Corolla, Sentra and Focus and is barely outselling the last gen Cruze. The other factor in the sales decline is the weak 147hp/132tq engine on offer. Last year 173hp was to be had. Yes, I know the Sport will be coming out but that will be a low seller and cost nearly $30,000.

Contrast the situation with the Elantra to what Honda did with the Civic. Like Honda or not, they made a brilliant move. They heard the complaints about boring styling and not so great performance. Now for the same price as the Elantra, you can get a sportier looking car with 25% more power AND better gas mileage. I have to give kudos to Honda.

With the new redesigned Mazda 3 and Focus coming down the road, Elantra may be in trouble, sadly. Even the newly redesigned Cruze will take sales away.

My hope is that Hyundai gets the message and goes back to the more cutting edge styling. Let's face it, buying a car is an emotional decision and for most people it's looks first. Performance and mileage are important to some but everyone wants to drive a good looking car. Don't get me wrong, the new Elantra looks nice enough, it's just in a very tough segment.

Mitch
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roydjt
post May 10 2016, 01:17 PM
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I think it's their pricing.

Hyundai seems to think that their brand's perceived value has risen near that of its' competitors. The gap in pricing between Hyundai's sedans and comparable offerings from Toyota, Nissan, and even Honda has closed. When we bought our first Elantras over ten years ago, the savings over a comparably equipped Corolla, Sentra, or Civic was large - between 10-25%. Hyundais were selling based on value, with the customer taking the risk that Hyundai's quality was comparable to the more expensive makes.

Now the quality has been proven. Any customer doing their research will see that Hyundai's track record over the last decade is every bit as good as any other Asian non-luxury manufacturer. Hyundai is proud of their styling and confident in the performance and features of their cars. The challenge is getting the customer to accept the brand as an equivalent brand that should draw a similar price. I believe in Hyundai and Kia because of personal experience, but if I was a new buyer, I'd be cautious. How much is that caution worth? I think Hyundai is underestimating this based on the successes of their prior year sales.

-Roy


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elantragt
elantragt
post May 10 2016, 07:14 PM
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Very true about the pricing Roy. I actually was going to mention that in my post but I got carried away on the styling aspect and forgot. smile.gif


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RPW00Mirage
post May 11 2016, 06:51 AM
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the fluidic sculpture campaign was great. they started messing it up recently when they decided the elantra and sonata should look the same.


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