Hyundai Motor Co. said that it will have to ship the new generation Elantra small car from Korea in anticipation of the 10% U.S. sales increase to 590,000 units predicted for this year.
Sales started last December for the redesigned 2011 Elantra, the first American-made version of the popular compact. Hyundai’s assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala., produces the new Elantra alongside the Sonata sedan.
Hyundai CFO Lee Won-hee said that its forecast of 590,000 units sold in the U.S. in 2011 is up from 538,228 vehicles in 2010.
And as Hyundai’s annual production capacity at the Montgomery plant is only 330,000 units, the vehicles will have to be brought in from Korea. Last year, the plant rolled out about 196,000 Sonatas. In 2010, 132,246 units of the Elantra were sold.
However, Elantra sales more than doubled in December, when the new model arrived, to 13,096 vehicles, compared to 5,763 units in 2009. Spokesman Frank Ahrens said that with the reviews and the pricing of the Elantra, the company is very optimistic about the model. [via autonews - sub. required]