LAS VEGAS -- Three factors could bring more vehicles to hungry U.S. Hyundai dealers in 2012: new and redesigned models, manufacturing efficiency and a soft European market.
"It appears to me for the most part they're maxed out, and they're very cautious to make sure that with whatever we get, the quality is there," Rick DeSilva, a New Jersey Hyundai dealer, said after the Hyundai make meeting.
"We're going to get an incremental amount, but they didn't give us any numbers," he said.
John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, said the company could squeeze more production out of its plant in Montgomery, Ala. The company coaxed 30,000 extra units out of the plant in 2011, and he expects a bump beyond that in 2012.
Fresh products will help, too. The 2012 Veloster is on sale, and a redesigned Azera is due in March. Hyundai also will launch a new Elantra Coupe and a replacement for the Elantra Touring wagon. Also coming is a redesigned Santa Fe crossover, said Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of sales.
Zuchowski said dealers feel squeezed by two trends: tight inventory and requests for store improvements. Dealers asked for a system that gave extra vehicles to dealers who spend on renovations. "I told them I thought that was fair, and we'd take a look at it," he said.
Zuchowski said Hyundai got 635,000 units in the United States last year. More units might find their way here if sales slow in Europe because of the economic uncertainty there, he said.
Said Zuchowski: "The parent company completely understands that we need more product."