ORLANDO -- Dealers had little to frown about at Hyundai's make meeting. After all, it was one of the few brands that increased sales in 2009.
Dealers were told about a slew of new products in the works and learned that more financing will be available from the company's captive finance company.
And if they didn't already know it, Hyundai executives confirmed that dealer profitability is rising.
"It was a very positive and upbeat meeting," said Leroy Royston, owner of Royston Hyundai in Morristown, Tenn. "I'm very excited about the future of the brand. There's new product in the pipeline, and the response to the Super Bowl ads was tremendous."
New products include the redesigned Tucson crossover, which went on sale in December, and the redesigned Sonata sedan, which began arriving in dealerships this month.
This fall, dealers will get the Equus luxury sedan, and a redesigned Elantra small car is coming at the end of the year. Next year, the redesigned Santa Fe crossover and a new small coupe are scheduled to debut.
Dealers also were told that Hyundai will continue to look for big venues such as the Super Bowl, Academy Awards and major sporting events to promote products.
"The big messaging gives us confidence," said dealer council Chairman Scott Fink, owner of two Hyundai stores in New Port Richey, Fla.
Fink said the big news for dealers is that profit as a percentage of sales rose to 1.4 percent last year from 0.9 percent in 2008. He said revenue from fixed operations climbed to 52 percent of total revenue from 48 percent.
Hyundai sales chief Dave Zuchowski cited three key reasons for the rise in profitability:
1. Retail sales per outlet last year climbed for the first time since 2003.
2. Used-vehicle sales rose 85 percent thanks to a new certified used-vehicle program.
3. Nonwarranty service work is growing.
Dealers also will get more support from Hyundai Capital America in the form of subvented leases and competitive annual percentage rates.
And for the first time, the finance company is putting together competitive rates for Hyundai's certified used-vehicle program, which could include leasing for used cars as well.
There was one complaint: Dealers cannot get enough Tucsons. To address that, Hyundai will step up production next month in Ulsan, South Korea.