Hyundai is in the middle of a big product push in the U.S., and its sales numbers show it.
New crossover nameplates. Major freshenings. Redesigned cars despite a soft car market. New appearance and performance trims. And a ground-up pickup trucklet that the brand is not calling a pickup (or a trucklet, yet).
So far this year, the steady product news has helped the Korean brand maintain sales growth in a down market. And there's more to come.
After suffering with too many car nameplates in a crossover market, Hyundai is all-in on crossovers, from the entry-level Venue coming this year to the big Palisade that arrived this summer. The brand's green cars are also increasing in quantity (more hybrids) and efficiency (higher-range electric vehicles and a modern fuel cell crossover).
Surely something has to get squeezed off the dealer lot. And Hyundai has embraced that kind of change as well.
Accent: The long-running entry car, sold only as a sedan in the U.S., was redesigned for the 2018 model year and updates its powertrain for the 2020 model year. Sales of the fifth-generation subcompact are flat with last year, and they're low. Hyundai wants to price the new Venue crossover as its entry vehicle, so the Accent is likely to be pushed out in a year or so. Which makes sense, because corporate sibling Kia will still likely offer its thrifty Rio on the same platform for several more years.
Elantra: The sixth generation of the relatively stylish compact sedan was freshened for the 2018 model year and is on deck for a redesign. Hyundai added an N Line version to the 2019 GT hatchback as part of its move to the new sport-appearance trim. The N Line is the look-fast version of the full N performance trim, which adds go-fast parts such as those found on the Veloster N hatch. Elantra sales are down along with the segment, but the numbers are still strong enough to invest money in the global product. Look for a new generation, as well as possibly a hybrid version, at an auto show in 2020 for the 2021 model year.
Sonata: The seventh-generation midsize sedan was shown with a stylish redesign in April at the New York auto show and should be in dealerships by the fourth quarter. A redesigned hybrid should follow next year, but probably not a plug-in hybrid. The redesigned Sonata is packed with safety technology and big infotainment screens on the upper trims, along with an updated powertrain. A freshening should come in two or three years.
Veloster: The quirky three-door hatchback (one door on the driver's side like a coupe, two on the passenger side like a sedan) was redesigned for a second generation for the 2019 model year, and given the hot-hatch N performance trim that will be coming to other Hyundai nameplates. Veloster sales are low, but Hyundai says the N version is selling better than expected and gives the brand some bragging rights with the youthful enthusiast crowd — at a bargain price. A freshening should come for the 2021 model year.