Hyundai has set a target to sell 152,000 revamped Santa Fe SUVs in 2012 worldwide, amid efforts to hold off the success of several high-end foreign brands at its domestic market. It will be launched in Europe this June, in the U.S. this July, and in China this October. The Santa Fe is the only model that Hyundai will launch worldwide in 2012.
It’s a crucial time for its domestic car sales as it faces tremendous pressure after international automakers got access to South Korea's market with Seoul signing free trade agreements with Europe and the U.S. Industry data show that for the first time in January this year, more imported cars were sold, exceeding 10% of the market. It only accounted for 1% in 2000. Hyundai is aiming to sell 385,000 Santa Fe models in 2013.
Market researchers JATO Dynamics said that in 2011, the SUV was ranked No. 7 when it comes to sales in Europe—a 1.4% drop to 13,549 from 2010. After the new-look model was unveiled, Hyundai CEO Kim Choong-ho told reporters that he is confident about the Santa Fe being positioned as a premium model at its domestic and overseas markets. In addition, it has a very competitive fuel mileage of 17 km per liter as well as a “bold design.”
Hyundai introduced the third-generation Santa Fe – its first upgrade in 7 years – at the New York auto show. It demonstrates Hyundai’s move to present a new design named "fluidic sculpture" to its broad product lineups for a unique Hyundai look. This is a deviation from the subtle and dull design that it had in the past. It was in 2009 when this design concept was first used in its flagship Sonata mid-sized sedan.
It features arched lines from the front-center of the car to the end. It has also been used on the Elantra compact and Azera large-sized sedan. The enhancements in design are meant to boost sales but critics say that its bold design has a tendency to divide customers and could turn off just as many people as those that like the model. As a result, this doesn’t result to big volume sales. [source: Autonews]