NEW ORLEANS -- Hyundai dealers want incentives to sell 2013 models before the launches of the redesigned Genesis luxury and Sonata mid-sized sedans.
The launches are key to Hyun-dai's plan to regain market share after it slipped to 4.6 percent in 2013, from 4.9 percent in 2012. But dealers first want support to clear out 2013 models.
Hyundai carried over more 2013 models into 2014 than usual because of the production of freshened vehicles such as the Sonata and Elantra that started late in the year, Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski said after the brand's make meeting.
The level of 2013-model inventories was a key concern in what was otherwise a generally positive meeting, according to dealers.
John St. George, general manager of Eastern Shore Hyundai in Daphne, Ala., said Hyundai raised marketing and incentive funds for dealers in 2013. But he said dealers would like a clearer incentive plan for the year.
"They obviously see the point behind it. It's just about getting out ahead of it," St. George said. "Here we are at the end of the first month of the year and we really don't have that finite clear-cut plan yet. But as a Hyundai dealer, we're confident that Korea is going to put the money behind it."
Zuchowski cautioned, though, that extra spiffs may not be warranted. Some regions have excessive 2013 model year inventories and others don't, he said. "What a dealer sees is a lot of 2013s on the ground," he said. "What we see is we have 20,000 '13s on the ground and we sold 13,000" Elantras in December. Does that signal a problem?"
Zuchowski has said Hyundai aims to boost sales by 3 percent to about 745,000 vehicles in 2014. He aims to boost the brand's U.S. market share to 5 percent within the a few years through steady, modest growth.
Hyundai officials discussed digital advertising initiatives for the redesigned Genesis sedan's spring launch and outlined plans to introduce the redesigned 2015 Sonata in July during the World Cup soccer tournament.
Mike Stedem, a Hyundai dealer in Slidell, La., praised the accessibility and openness of Hyundai's executives. "There's a great deal of dealer confidence in Dave," said Stedem. "We were Ford dealers for 54 years. The connectivity with this company is just phenomenal."