DETROIT AUTO SHOW

World Cup will kick off '15 Sonata

Shannon: "A big asset for us"
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DETROIT -- Hyundai is planning a marketing blitz surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup to launch its redesigned Sonata mid-sized sedan.

The World Cup will serve as the 2015 Sonata's marketing launch platform when the tournament begins in mid-June. Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America, said Hyundai has secured "significant" broadcast time with NBC and Univision and will produce World Cup-themed ads for the redesigned car.

Shannon says the decision to tie the Sonata launch, a crucial part of Hyundai's 2014 plans, to the World Cup is an outgrowth of Hyundai Motor Co.'s global sponsorship of FIFA, soccer's international governing body. The summer launch also lines up nicely on the calendar with the World Cup tournament, which will take place in Brazil.

"Americans have a certain affection for soccer, but it explodes every four years around World Cup time," Shannon said. "We think it will be a big asset for us as we launch Sonata."

The campaign also will include promotions at Hyundai dealerships such as test-drive programs and ticket giveaways to generate more buzz in markets with large Hispanic populations such as Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and Miami, Shannon said.

He said: "When we get down to more activation, we're not going to try to do this in all 50 states, but [places with] high Hispanic population and high passion for the sport."

You can reach Ryan Beene at rbeene@crain.com. -- Follow Ryan on Twitter


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