Hyundai sets new record and sells over 200,000 Sonata models in North America

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 28, 2010

Hyundai’s 2011 Sonata sedan in North America sets a new sales record in 2010, after selling more than 530,000 vehicles in the U.S. and over 110,000 in Canada. Hyundai has sold more than 200,000 Sonatas in North America in 2010. John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO, said that the four-door saloon racked up “some pretty incredible results” for Hyundai this year.

He added that due to Sonata's innovation, the most hotly contested, largest segment in the U.S. car market was shaken up, with Sonata “delivering more year-over-year retail sales growth – about 90,000 units – than any other car in the entire industry.”

Krafcik explained that the car means a lot to the success of its brand and dealers. Make no mistake about it, Hyundai had its best sales ever in the North American market.

Sales grew by 117% in North America and it had gone up by 65% in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, Canadian sales were also up by about 60%. Krafcik also said that the Sonata leads the segment in 'days-to-turn' through the first three quarters

Right from the start of the product development process of the Sonata, Hyundai has decided to forego using V6 as the standard powerplant, and instead resolved to optimize four-cylinder engines for all its models. Hyundai was able to capitalize on this decision since it enabled its engineers to make all versions of the Sonata substantially lighter while optimizing design and aerodynamics.

Moreover, the decision allowed Hyundai engineers to refine the car’s crashworthiness, thereby allowing it to be recognized as a IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2011 and to receive five-star crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Moreover, the Sonata boasts of having the best-in-segment fuel efficiency, returning 35 mpg highway rating for a non-hybrid, 33 mpg highway rating for 274hp 2.0T version, and 40 mpg highway rating for the Sonata Hybrid with lithium-polymer battery technology.

Powering the Sonata GLS, SE, and Limited models is the 2.4-liter Theta II engine with gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology. This technology helps the engine consume less fuel and emit less carbon dioxide while improving throttle response and delivering more power than a conventional port-injected engine.

This engine develops up to 198 hp for the single exhaust GLS and Limited, and 200 hp for dual exhaust SE. Despite this much power, the engine delivers 35 mpg (6.7 L/100 km) highway – the best in its class. A more remarkable detail is the four-cylinder 2.0 direct-injected turbocharged engine, which develops up to 274 hp of output.

This means that this engine – available in SE and Limited versions of the Sonata -- features a power-density figure that is the best in the segment – at 137 hp per liter.

Despite this much power, this 2.0T engine is still able to deliver EPA fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, which is better than most conventional four-cylinder mid-size sedans that eke out 100 hp or lower.

Press Release

More than 200,000 Hyundai Sonata Sales in North America Sets Record

Hyundai has sold more than 200,000 Sonatas in North America in 2010, a highpoint for the Sonata nameplate in a record-setting year in which Hyundai will sell more than 530,000 vehicles in the United States and more than 110,000 in Canada for the first time ever.

"Sonata has delivered some pretty incredible results for us this year," says John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. "Sonata is the Hyundai brand and it's appropriate that it has led our best year ever. Sonata's innovation has reset the most hotly contested, largest segment in the U.S. car market, with Sonata delivering more year-over-year retail sales growth – about 90,000 units – than any other car in the entire industry."

"The Sonata has been an integral part of Hyundai's transformation in Canada," says Steve Kelleher, President and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. "The effort our designers put into craft a dynamic looking car is paying off as Canadians have begun to claim that design is one of their top purchase reasons for Sonata. 2010 has been a record year for us and Sonata has carried us to this point."

The direct-injected Sonata 2.4L, its direct-injected turbocharged stablemate, the Sonata 2.0T, and both of its high-tech engines are built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama. The proprietary 6-speed automatic transmission is built in West Point, Georgia.

Fuel Economy Leadership for the Masses

From early in the product development process, Hyundai made a bold decision that has already changed competitive powertrain plans in the mid-size segment – to optimize around an all-4-cylinder powertrain lineup, and forego the once obligatory V6. This decision allowed Hyundai's engineers to save significant weight in all versions of the car, optimize design and aerodynamics, and fine-tune the crash pulse to achieve the industry's first dual IIHS Top Safety Pick and new 2011 NHTSA 5-star crash test ratings. The Sonata's fuel efficiency ratings now set the pace in the segment, with the first-ever 35-mpg highway rating for a non-hybrid, a remarkable 33-mpg highway rating for 2.0T (which packs 274 horsepower, more than any V6 in the segment), a best-ever 40-mpg highway rating for the breakthrough Sonata Hybrid featuring industry-first lithium-polymer battery technology.

The popular Sonata GLS, SE, and Limited models feature the 2.4-liter Theta II engine with gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology. GDI brings greater efficiency, using less fuel, creating fewer emissions, and delivering improved throttle response, all while making more power than a traditional port-injected engine. In the all-new 2011 Sonata, the engine delivers best-in-class fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon (6.7 L/100 km) in highway driving while offering 198 horsepower (single exhaust GLS and Limited) and 200-horsepower (dual exhaust SE).

Sonata surprised the industry and delighted customers offering a 4-cyliner 2.0 direct-injected turbocharged model. The 2.0T engine delivers 274-horsepower, which is a segment-leading 137-hp per liter, besting just about every other vehicle in the industry in power-density, from the Buick Regal Turbo at 110-hp per liter to the Lamborghini Murcielago at 98-hp per liter.

Proving you can have your cake and eat it too, the Sonata 2.0T, available in SE and Limited flavors, delivers an EPA rating of 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, better than most conventional 4-cylinder mid-size sedans with 100 fewer horsepower.

Sonata also is an alternative fuel vehicle with highest range

At a time in which new technology powertrains have captured headlines, if not sales success, Hyundai's Sonata Hybrid makes its debut with production now underway and sales to begin in January. Its 35-mpg city, 40-mpg highway EPA rating achieves a new level of highway fuel economy for a mid-size sedan, consistent with North American driving habits (which average more than 50% of their driving mileage on highways).

Hyundai is taking an innovative approach offering the first hybrid using lithium-polymer batteries and a 6-speed transmission. Keeping with Hyundai's simplified approach to product packaging, the Sonata Hybrid comes in just two flavors from the factory – the very well-equipped Sonata Hybrid at $25,795 (US), and the incredibly well-equipped, tech-feature-packed Premium version at $30,795 (US).

"Sonata Hybrid offers something new to the mid-size sedan segment, with its segment-leading 40-mpg highway fuel economy rating, differentiated appearance, and incredible value," says Krafcik. "Our three Sonata powertrains demonstrate Hyundai's unique approach melding innovative technologies and emotional design into products more and more people want to put in their driveways."

Sonata Hybrid's accessible price point, uncompromised interior package and utility, and unique design delivers an all-new alternative to the new-tech/hybrid powertrain segment. It also delivers an eye-popping range on a full tank of fuel:

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a range up to 688 miles (1,107 km)
Toyota Camry Hybrid has a range up to 602 miles (969 km)
Toyota Prius has a range up to 607 miles (977 km)
Chevy Volt has a range of up to 375 miles (604 km)
Nissan Leaf has a range of up to 138 miles (222 km)

Sonata safety leadership – tested by NHTSA and IIHS with unsurpassed results

In 2005, Sonata was the first midsize sedan to offer standard electronic stability control, a feature all others eventually followed and one that will be required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the 2012 model year. Leadership is a familiar position for Sonata. The 2011 Sonata quickly earned a Top Safety Pick assessment from IIHS upon its market introduction. In October, NHTSA awarded an overall five-star crash test rating, the highest government ranking under the agency's New Car Assessment Program, to the all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The Sonata withstood the agency's more rigorous 2011 testing procedures to receive the top safety rating, the very first mid-size sedan to achieve this high standard.

One of the most significant changes to the ratings program for consumers is the addition of an Overall Vehicle Score. The Overall Vehicle Score combines the results of a frontal crash test, side crash tests and rollover resistance tests and compares those results to the average risk of injury and potential for vehicle rollover of other vehicles.

The 2011 Sonata scored well in all phases of the testing including five-star side-impact, five-star rollover and four-star frontal crash test, resulting in an overall five-star performance.

Sonata was built from the ground up with safety in mind, with a hot stamped ultra-high-strength steel body structure, advanced airbag technology and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), delivering on Hyundai's commitment to both active and passive safety technology leadership.

Key points about the Hyundai Sonata and other key vehicles:

Sonata has a NHTSA overall five-star crash test rating and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick
Accord has a NHTSA overall five-star crash test rating and is not an IIHS Top Safety Pick
Toyota Camry an overall three-star crash test rating and is not an IIHS Top Safety Pick
Chevy Volt crash test ratings from NHTSA and IIHS not yet available
Nissan Leaf crash test rating from NHTSA and IIHS not yet available

Making a difference in the market

Most importantly, Sonata is driving traffic in Hyundai showrooms. Sonata has helped Hyundai achieve its record sales of more than 530,000 units in the U.S. in 2010 and more than 110,000 in Canada. Hyundai brand's "net consideration" among buyers is at an all-time high. According to market research firm Compete, Sonata was the most-shopped car in the market for six of the past seven months, helping Hyundai to a record 4.7 percent share of the U.S. market through November 2010.

"This car has meant so much to the success of our brand and our dealers," says Krafcik. "While cars like Camry and Accord spend more than 50 days on a dealer lot, Sonata leads the segment in 'days-to-turn' through the first three quarters. The average Sonata is sold in 16 days."

More than 70 percent of Sonata buyers previously owned a brand other than Hyundai with more than 20 percent coming from Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

Key points on Sonata and the competition in the US:

Sonata retail sales up 117 percent and overall sales up 65 percent
Sonata has a higher residual value than Toyota Camry
Sonata incentive spending vs. 2009 is down 46 percent
Competitor incentive spending vs. 2009 is up 30-to-100 percent

In Canada, the Sonata has had a record year. By the end of November, Sonata achieved its best-ever year of sales and was a major factor in helping the company achieve year-over-year sales gains every month for over two years.

"Sales of the Sonata this year have increased 60 percent over 2009," says Kelleher. "While that in itself shows how well the vehicle has been accepted by Canadian buyers, most of those sales have been done with only one engine – the 2.4 GDI. With the addition of the 2.0T and the Hybrid, we're expanding Sonata's appeal even further."

"The new Sonata now has one of the highest residual values in the class and our incentive spending is the lowest in the segment," says Krafcik. "It is selling on its merits, not on artificial incentives or fleet sales. And it's moved from a distant sixth in retail sales with just a 5% retail share of the segment last November, to a remarkable third, averaging 13-to-16% retail segment share for much of the year, behind only Accord and Camry. I think it's fair to say Sonata has reset the competitive dynamic in this segment for some time to come."

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty. In addition, Hyundai Assurance is now offered on all new vehicles leased or purchased from a certified Hyundai dealer. The program is available to any consumer, regardless of age, health, employment record or financed amount of the vehicle. The program is complimentary for the first 12 months.

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