TOKYO -- Hyundai Motor Co. expects U.S. sales to surge 10 percent this year to 590,000 units, likely prompting the need to import the new generation Elantra small car from Korea.
The redesigned 2011 Elantra, which went on sale in December, is the first American-made version of the popular compact. It is manufactured alongside the Sonata sedan at Hyundai’s assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala. But some could soon be coming from South Korea again.
Hyundai CFO Lee Won-hee said this week that the rapidly growing automaker expects U.S. sales to increase to 590,000 units this year.
That is up from 538,228 vehicles in 2010.
Hyundai’s annual production capacity at the Montgomery plant is 330,000 units. And last year it churned out about 196,000 Sonatas. Elantra sales came in at 132,246 units last year. But Elantra sales more than doubled in December, when the new model arrived, to 13,096 vehicles, from 5,763 in 2009.
“If Elantra does what we think, hope it will do, it will mean we’ll have to export them from Korea,” spokesman Frank Ahrens said . “We're pretty bullish on it, given the reviews it’s received so far and the price.”