After a slow year for new product launches, Hyundai dealers are eager to see whether the redesigned Genesis and Sonata sedans launching this year will recharge the brand's sales in 2014.
Though Hyundai sales hit a record 720,783 last year. The brand's 3 percent growth rate was the lowest since 2008. Scott Fink, owner of three Hyundai dealerships in Florida and chairman of the national dealer council, attributed the slowdown to tough competition and the slow product launch cadence last year, when only the seven-passenger Santa Fe crossover was released.
"When you don't have those product launches, you don't have as much exposure," Fink said. He noted that the slowdown was no surprise.
Dealers suspected "the unprecedented growth we've had for the three years prior was unsustainable," Fink said. "First was the product cadence, second was the torrid growth pace we had, and third was that some of some the availability issues that we've had were going to hold us back."
Availability has improved on the Sonata mid-sized sedan and Elantra compact, but shortages still affect the Veloster coupe, Tucson crossover and Accent subcompact.
The big boost will come from the arrival of the redesigned Genesis and, in the second half, the redesigned Sonata.
Hyundai announced in December that John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America since 2008, would step down Jan. 1, and that Dave Zuchowski, then-executive vice president of sales, would become CEO.
Fink says Zuchowski's three decades of sales experience will help in 2014.