Hyundai jettisons Veracruz
7-seat Santa Fe will replace aging crossover in January
Photo credit: RENATO ZACCHIA
Hyundai will replace the aging Veracruz full-sized crossover in January with a seven-passenger version of the Santa Fe crossover.
Here's how the switch will happen. First, Hyundai will redesign the five-passenger Santa Fe. It is due in late summer with a new name, the Santa Fe Sport. The redesigned model will be dimensionally similar to the current Santa Fe.
Then, in January, Hyundai will start selling a seven-passenger version called the Santa Fe.
The seven-seat 2013 Santa Fe adds nearly 4 inches of wheelbase and 8.5 inches of overall length to the Santa Fe Sport's measurements.
The Santa Fe has been Hyundai's best-selling crossover since it went on sale in 2000.
Killing the Veracruz "allows us to leverage our marketing dollar to the American family," Mike O'Brien, vice president of product and corporate planning for Hyundai Motor America, said last week on the sidelines of the New York auto show. "We're too small to afford all these nameplates."
Hyundai's strategy is to produce multiple models under a single nameplate. This summer, the Elantra Coupe and Elantra GT hatchback will join the Elantra sedan.
The Veracruz, which went on sale in the United States in March 2007, will be phased out by the time the seven-seat Santa Fe arrives in dealerships in January. Veracruz sales never topped 13,000 units in a calendar year.
The redesigned Santa Fe lineup is a pitch to families with two or more children at home, said John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, at the redesigned Santa Fe's New York auto show debut.
"Just look at our recent launches. They've all been passenger vehicles, primarily sedans," Krafcik said. "But many families need the size, flexibility and capability of a crossover."
The five-passenger Santa Fe Sport will be built at Kia Motors America's plant in West Point, Ga., while the seven-passenger Santa Fe will be imported from Korea, Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson said.
Prices of the 2013 Santa Fe lineup were not announced. The current Santa Fe starts at $24,050, including shipping.
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