Hyundai Motor America forecasts a slower growth in the sales of Elantra compact sedans in 2012 due to tight factory capacity. Sales growth of Elantra compact sedans was around 41% in 2011. "The growth will be capped only because of production capacity," according to Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America's executive vice president of national sales, at the Washington auto show.
The company’s assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala. went over its official production capacity by more than 10% in 2011, producing around 338,000 Elantra and mid-sized Sonata car.
Hyundai sold 186,361 Elantras in the U.S. in 2011, boosting the company’s sales in the country by 20% to 645,691 vehicles. Hyundai is steadily gaining a foothold in the U.S. car market, grabbing a 5.1% share in 2011 from a 3% share in 2008, according to Autodata Corp.
“We're going to sell what we did last year but our growth curve will plateau just because of capacity," Zuchowski said. The Elantra claimed the North American Car of the Year award at the recent Detroit auto show.
The Hyundai Elantra is an exemplary model of the Korean automaker’s take on emotional “Fluidic Sculpture” principles. From the term “Fluidic Sculpture”, it is easy to understand that it is a relationship between wind and rigid surfaces that produces an illusion that an object is in constant motion. Designed at Hyundai’s North American Design Center in California, the Elantra is an evolved Sonata with an improved design quality.
Elantra is just like every successful sedan that made its breakthrough in the U.S. market, with the distinct silhouette and Day Light Opening (a term used by designers for side glass). Since the Elantra is basically an upgraded version of the Sonata, the latter’s flowing lines cut through the former’s sides and a strong undercut feature line can be found starting at the front door. These flowing lines also have an aerodynamic purpose as it decreases the drag coefficient on the Elantra to an exceptional 0.28 (lower compared to the Chevrolet Volt’s 0.29). The Elantra also comes with muscular wheel arches and a sleek roof line creating a more spacious cabin.
For a touch of athleticism, Hyundai added its signature hexagonal front grille and detailed swept-back headlights. A set of 15-, 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels and athletic proportions complement very well to give the Elantra a more confident and assertive look. To top off tits distinct design, a pair of fog lights and some side repeater mirrors have also been made available.
In terms of powertrain, the Hyundai Elantra runs on an all-new 1.8-liter Nu four-cylinder engine replacing the previous version’s 2.0-liter Beta engine. It can produce up to 148 horsepower and 131 lb.-ft. of torque for the standard Elantra and around 145 horsepower and 130 lb.-ft. of torque for the Elantra PZEV. Being smaller than the previous engine, weighing at less than 74 pounds, the Nu can effectively improve highway fuel economy by 18 percent as compared to the previous models.