Just 1 launch for Hyundai dealers
With only one major launch planned for 2013, Hyundai dealers will need to fight to maintain sales momentum this year, said Scott Fink, Hyundai's dealer council chairman.
The redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe crossover is Hyundai's only major launch this year, and production constraints will keep inventories lean.
Meanwhile, Japanese competitors are restocked with fresher product -- especially in the mid-sized and compact sedan segments, where Hyundai generates about two-thirds of its sales.
"The dealers have to understand that we're going to have to be more aggressive in the marketplace to maintain our sales rate and share," said Fink, who owns three dealerships in Florida. "That's really going to be the key focus for us, working with the manufacturers to make sure the right programs are in place to remain competitive."
Hyundai has largely shunned the hefty cash rebates. John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, has said previously that using cash rebates means that "you didn't price the car right in the first place."
But Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai's U.S. sales boss, said in a recent interview that increased incentive spending would be used to support leasing and finance rates through Hyundai's captive finance arm.
Meanwhile, tight inventories will continue to challenge Hyundai dealers in 2013, Fink said.
Stocks of the U.S.-made Elantra compact and Sonata mid-sized sedans have improved since Hyundai's assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala., added a third shift last September. But some Korean-made vehicles, such as the Veloster coupe, Accent subcompact and Azera large sedan, are still in short supply, Fink said.
"Although our inventories are better than they have been in a long time, if the [annual selling rate] continues to grow, we're going to be constrained on our ability to grow market share," Fink said.
Hyundai U.S. executives hope to get more vehicles from Korea this year, Fink said.
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