LOS ANGELES -- The 2005 model year will mark the beginning of a product onslaught from the Koreans that promises to test the mettle of the rest of the industry.
Just as the Japanese are testing the domestic automakers in new realms - such as full-sized pickups and SUVs - Hyundai and Kia will challenge the Japanese and Big 3 by offering their own product proliferation.
Hyundai plans to add a small sport wagon, redesign the Santa Fe and introduce a Ford Explorer-sized SUV to win more customers. Additionally, Hyundai's president has said the automaker will build a pickup by 2007.
Kia, meanwhile, will share the next minivan platform with Hyundai.
Here's a rundown of what's in the works.
|What will change|
|Here are the major planned changes in the lineup by model year.|
Compact sport wagon debuts
Mid-sized SUV debuts
Minivan debuts (or 2007)
Santa Fe redesigned
Amanti sedan debuts
Sport wagon debuts
|Optima redesigned||Sedona redesigned|
Possible Slice hatchback
Elantra: The 2006 model year redesign will be on a new platform designed to compete with the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla in terms of flexibility. The platform will be used for several Hyundai and Kia vehicles.
It will be built in both the Alabama and Korean plants. The V-6 engine will be assembled on-site in Alabama with the block supplied from outside. But Hyundai officials have said they will not source Sonata four-cylinder engines from the engine plant in Michigan it will share with DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi.
XG350: Code-named TG, the redesign comes for the 2006 model year. A 3.8-liter V-6 still in development is expected to replace the current 195-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. Hyundai's styling aim for the near-luxury sedan: upscale yet youthful.
Sport wagon: Hyundai will take on the Honda Element and Toyota RAV4 with this sport wagon. Code-named JM, the five-passenger vehicle will arrive for the 2005 model year. Power will come from a 2.7-liter V-6; a base 2.0-liter four-cylinder also is being considered. The vehicle, to be built in Korea, likely will be a variant of the Terracan sold in Europe and Korea.
Since it is based on the new Sonata platform, the Santa Fe will be significantly larger than the current model and likely will become a challenger to the Toyota Highlander and Nissan Murano. The next Santa Fe will have three rows of seats.
SUV: Hyundai will have an SUV similar in size to the Ford Explorer arriving in 2006, but it's uncertain whether it will be unibody or body-on-frame. This definitely is a separate vehicle from the next Santa Fe.
Pickup: Hyundai has been lobbying the Chrysler group for a piece of the Dodge Ram or redesigned Dodge Dakota platform, but the plea has been shot down. Mitsubishi is expected to get a pickup based on the Dakota for the 2006 model year.
As for Hyundai, it may take the body-on-frame Kia Sorento SUV platform and create a pickup aimed at the youth market for the 2007 model year. Either way, Hyundai Motor Co. President D.J. Kim says the automaker will have a pickup.
Spectra: The redesign comes for the 2004 model year. Spectra is the lead sedan off a new platform it will share with the 2005 Hyundai Elantra. The cars will share a twin-cam, 140-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that has variable valve timing.
Amanti: This new entry, a sister vehicle to the Hyundai XG350, arrives as a 2004 model. The car will be powered by the same 195-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 in the XG350. It will have a double wishbone suspension in front and a multilink design for the rear.
Sedona: Kia's popular minivan may be relatively new in America, but it was developed off an old platform. The 2007 Sedona will switch to a new platform shared with the 2006 Optima and 2006 Sonata. The minivan is expected to bow in spring 2006. The redesigned Sedona will be considerably larger, about the size of the Honda Odyssey.
Slice: The KCD-1 Slice concept car shown at Detroit's 2003 show is being studied as a possible competitor to the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe. The concept is based on the Optima platform and features a 2.7-liter V-6. With a 112-inch wheelbase and 177-inch overall length, it is big for a global product, the main development hurdle with which Kia is wrestling. If the Slice is produced, it could be for the 2007 model year.
Sorento: The popular SUV will be restyled and re-engineered for the 2006 model year. Among the additions: an independent rear suspension, five-speed automatic transmission and the new 3.8-liter V-6. The vehicle may be stretched to accommodate a third row of seats.