Hyundai Motor Co.’s rivals in the small-car segment should be wary as the more fuel-efficient, restyled Elantra is set to enter the market early next year. Hyundai has already cut into sales of Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. in the U.S. midsize-sedan segment this year but it looks like Hyundai is keen on extending its market share further.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, John Krafcik, Hyundai's U.S. CEO, told reporters that the 2011 Elantra sedan can return 40 miles per gallon in highway driving and 29 mpg in the city.
Hyundai asserts that this model has the best fuel-economy in the segment, beating Toyota's Corolla, Honda's Civic, Nissan Motor Co.'s Sentra and even Ford Motor Co.'s new Focus small car. This year, Hyundai's U.S. sales have gone up by 21 percent, aided by a 64 percent boost in sales of the mid-sized Sonata.
Deliveries of Toyota's Camry, which is the No. 1 passenger car in terms of sales, have fallen 6.3 percent while those of the Honda Accord have dropped by 3.4 percent.
Hyundai’s U.S. sales this year was able to beat its previous record of 467,009. This improvement is attributed to its enhanced designs, better fuel efficiency and the fact that frequently, its cars are priced lower than rivals.
George Kang, an analyst for industry researcher Edmunds.com, said that it is Elantra's “cutting-edge” styling that makes it stand out and makes it appealing to consumers. Kang added that Hyundai has gained the public’s trust.
The Elantra, which is equipped with a 1.8-liter engine and six-speed transmission, is priced from $15,550 and can go as high as $22,700 for the Limited Premium model.
Krafcik said that it’s likely that Hyundai will be the industry leader in 2011 in sales of vehicles that achieve at least 40 miles per gallon, helped out by the Elantra and new Sonata hybrid due next year. [via autonews - sub. required]