Hyundai dealers will make another run at their explosive 1999 sales performance this year. At the make meeting during the NADA convention, Hyundai pledged more products and more advertising support to make it happen.
David Weber, vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America, said the major focus of 2000 advertising will be the line's new compact sport-utility, the Santa Fe. It will be introduced this spring, and Hyundai expects to sell about 35,000.
The company told dealers it will boost national ad spending by about 15 percent this year. That comes on top of a 15 percent ad budget boost in 1999. Last year, the make posted an 82 percent sales increase. This year Hyundai forecasts a 22 percent increase.
'It's a new product in a new segment,' Weber said of the Santa Fe. 'We're going to focus pretty heavily on it.'
The factory used the make meeting to go over the allocation plans for both the Santa Fe and Hyundai's other new product for this year, a mid-sized sedan called the XG. The XG will sell for between $23,000 and $24,000, making it the highest priced Hyundai.
The allocation formula for both will be based 50 percent on the dealer's customer-service index and 50 percent on the dealer's Sonata sales volume. The Sonata is currently the brand's highest-priced vehicle, topping out at about $21,000.
The XG will go on sale in late August or early September. Finbarr O'Neill, Hyundai president, said the higher-priced sedan 'is not intended as a volume car,' and sales are expected to be about 1,000 units a month.
O'Neill said he expected dealers at the make meeting to be concerned about the push into more expensive products. 'But the dealers are really positive and eager to get the car,' he said after the meeting.
O'Neill noted that Hyundai's product expansion also will bring new customers to the brand.