LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) -- Hyundai Motor Co., which cut into Toyota Motor Corp.'s and Honda Motor Co.'s U.S. midsize-sedan sales this year, aims to increase its share of the small-car market with a more fuel-efficient, restyled Elantra.
The 2011 Elantra sedan, which goes on sale early next year, will deliver 40 miles per gallon in highway driving and 29 mpg in the city, John Krafcik, Hyundai's U.S. chief executive officer, told reporters yesterday at the Los Angeles Auto Show. That would be the best fuel-economy in the segment, topping Toyota's Corolla, Honda's Civic, Nissan Motor Co.'s Sentra and Ford Motor Co.'s new Focus small car, Hyundai said.
Hyundai's U.S. sales have risen 21 percent this year, aided by a 64 percent jump in sales of the mid-sized Sonata. Deliveries of Toyota's Camry, the top-selling passenger car, have dropped 6.3 percent and the Honda Accord has fallen 3.4 percent.
Hyundai's strategy of enhanced designs, higher fuel efficiency and often lower prices than competitors has helped the company's U.S. sales this year top its previous record of 467,009.
“Elantra's styling will set it apart and the public is ready for something more interesting and dynamic than yesterday's plain old vanilla,” said George Kang, an analyst for industry researcher Edmunds.com. “The public is more trusting of Hyundai now and will embrace the fact that its styling is cutting-edge.”
Improving fuel economy
The Elantra with a 1.8-liter engine and six-speed transmission ranges from $15,550 and tops out at $22,700 for Limited Premium model. With the Elantra and new Sonata hybrid due next year, Hyundai may lead the industry in 2011 in sales of vehicles that get at least 40 miles per gallon, Krafcik said.
“It really is our desire to set the trajectory for fuel economy improvement in the industry,” Krafcik said in Los Angeles. Hyundai this year said it planned to boost the efficiency of its fleet to an average of 50 mpg by 2025. That will happen mainly with improved gasoline engines, rather than with heavy reliance on electric-drive systems, he said.