Hyundai to market redesigned Santa Fe in short, long bodies
Veracruz to be phased out to simplify marketing
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Hyundai will offer the redesigned 2013 Santa Fe crossover in long- and short-wheelbase configurations to attract more families to the brand.
The long-wheelbase Santa Fe will be sold in six- and seven-passenger configurations and replace the Veracruz in Hyundai's U.S. lineup.
The product changes will allow the automaker to save marketing costs, Hyundai officials said Wednesday
"The similarities are fairly great, and this allows us to leverage our marketing dollar to the American family," said Mike O'Brien, head of product and corporate planning for Hyundai in the United States. "We're too small to afford all these nameplates."
A five-passenger Santa Fe, dubbed the Santa Fe Sport, will go on sale in late summer, Hyundai executives said at the New York auto show. A long-wheelbase Santa Fe that can accommodate three rows of seats will hit U.S. showrooms in January 2013.
There will be no overlap between Veracruz and long-wheelbase Santa Fe sales, Hyundai officials say. The Veracruz went on sale in the United States in March 2007.
The redesigned Santa Fe lineup is Hyundai's appeal to families with two or more children at home, a customer group that has been underserved by Hyundai's current products, said John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
"Just look at our recent launches. They've all been passenger vehicles -- primarily sedans," Krafcik said today. "But many families need the size, flexibility and capability of a crossover."
The Santa Fe has been Hyundai's best-selling crossover in the U.S. market since its debut in 2000. Last year, Hyundai sold 74,391 Santa Fes, compared to 47,232 units of the Tucson compact crossover and just 9,146 copies of the Veracruz full-sized crossover.
But Santa Fe sales have waned since 2009, falling 3 percent in 2011 and 5 percent in 2010 while Hyundai devoted most of its efforts to overhauling its passenger cars.
Hyundai's crossover lineup has received little attention since the 2009 launch of the Tucson compact CUV. Meanwhile, redesigned versions of the Sonata mid-sized sedan, Elantra compact and Accent subcompact, and the growing popularity of its Genesis and Equus premium cars have driven Hyundai's U.S. sales to record levels.
Pricing for the 2013 Santa Fe was not announced.
The five-passenger Santa Fe Sport will be built at Kia's assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, while the seven-passenger Santa Fe will be imported from Korea, Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson said.
New looks, new engines
In its third-generation, the 2013 Santa Fe receives new sheet metal incorporating Hyundai's fluidic sculpture design language. Design highlights include a hexagonal three-bar grille, LED-accents and a sharp character line stamped into the body panels running from the front wheel well to the rear tail lights. The Santa Fe's interior will also have an all-new design.
Powering the Santa Fe Sport will be a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine producing 190 hp, or an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine creating 240 hp.
The long wheelbase Santa Fe will have a 3.3-liter direct injection V-6 engine producing 290 hp. Hyundai said in a statement that the V-6 Santa Fe will have power that's "perfect for towing small boats or weekend toys."
A six-speed automatic transmission will be standard for all versions of the Santa Fe. All-wheel-drive will also be an available option on the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport.
Mark Rechtin contributed to this report
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