"Like some of our competitors, we have decided to stay in the passenger car business, and some of our best-performing vehicles, like Elantra or like Sonata, are still doing quite well," Hyundai Motor Co. COO Jose Munoz said during a media briefing this week at the company's R&D center in Michigan.
Through June, sales of the Sonata slid 64 percent and sales of the Elantra slid 34 percent, as Hyundai prioritizes production of its higher-margin crossovers and electric vehicles. But the Elantra ended 2021 up 18 percent, with sales topping 124,420. Sonata sales hit 93,142 last year, representing an increase of 21 percent.
Both sedans offer a hybrid variant, and hybrids are an important part of Hyundai's electrification strategy as it strives to meet stringent emissions regulations in the U.S. by 2026. Hyundai also believes that offering gas buyers more electrified options will help ease them into EVs in the future.
"The strategy of having not only battery EVs, but having more traditional ICE models in combination with hybrids — like Elantra also having a hybrid version, Sonata also having a hybrid version — is working well," Munoz said.
Hyundai will now rely on the Venue subcompact crossover to fill the outgoing Accent's entry-level role. The Venue mixes fuel efficiency and modern styling closely related to Hyundai's flagship three-row Palisade. Pricing has not been announced for the 2023 model, but the current model year Venue is $20,295, including shipping.
Removing the Veloster N will allow Hyundai to refocus its performance-oriented N brand, which it added to the Kona subcompact crossover and the Elantra for 2022.
The Kona N uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 2022 Kona N costs $35,495 with shipping. The Elantra N offers the same powertrain and costs $34,745. There also is a manual transmission option, which costs slightly less. Hyundai has not announced pricing for the 2023 model year.