Hyundai to invest in capacity as well as and in trucks and crossovers

Article by Christian A., on July 15, 2012

Hyundai Motor Co. will be investing in trucks and crossovers in order to resolve production constraints amid expectations that for the first time since 1988, the automaker’s market share in the U.S. will decline. In the first half of 2012, Hyundai performed better than Ford Motor Co.'s namesake brand in car sales to retail buyers, according to U.S. unit CEO John Krafcik during an event in Brooklyn, Mich.

The new 2013 Santa Fe sport-utility vehicle has only recently started production. Krafcik said that the brand will have a “pretty good future going forward” if it can find a way to resolve its problems with capacity and if it could make investments on trucks and crossovers.

Researcher Autodata Corp. said that for the first six months of 2012, Hyundai’s share in the U.S. car and light-truck was 4.9%, a drop from the previous year’s 5.1%. Krafick said last February that the U.S. gains of the automaker may slow this year due to tight production capacity and Chairman Chung Mong Koo's thrust to enhance quality. Its market share in the U.S. declined; its sales gain the first half of 10% fell behind the industry's 15% gain.

For the first six months, Hyundai sold a record-breaking 356,669 vehicles. It will boost production at its assembly plant in Alabama later this year. This September, the Montgomery, Ala., factory will add a third shift in order to boost its capacity by 20,000 units this year. Presently, this plant rolls out at least 300,000 Sonata sedans and Elantra small cars annually.

Taking a closer look at the architecture of the new 2011 Hyundai Elantra, the front axle reveals the use of the McPherson strut suspension with coil springs as well as gas shock absorbers. The suspension in the rear meanwhile is lightweight and when paired with the torsion beam rear suspension, ensures better steering stability. The addition of monotude shock absorbers meanwhile helps enhance ride comfort.

On the front is a stabilizer bar, having a diameter of 23.0 mm, which helps lower the body roll especially when the vehicle is trying to get past a corner. Hyundai meanwhile revealed that all Elantra models will have their electric power steering be motor-driven and column mounted. Compared to a standard steering system, the one in the Elantra will be able to immediately adapt to the current driving situation while ensuring that fuel economy is improved.

Guaranteeing that crisp feel when doing a turn-in is the steering rack with a quick ratio. Turning diameter is excellent as well at 34.8 feet considering that the Corolla is at 35.6 feet. In terms of dimensions, the overall length of the 2011 Elantra is now at 178.3 inches, an addition of 0.9 inches. The width meanwhile is still the same at 69.9 inches. While the height has indeed been lowered to 56.5 inches, a reduction of 1.8 inches, the headroom was not affected.

Compared to the previous generation, the wheelbase has been extended as well and is now longer by 2 inches at 106.3 inches. One of the defining features though that has put the Elandra at the top of the class is the space in the interior. Interior volume is measured to be 110.4 cubic feet, beating the likes of the 2011 Toyota Corolla, 2011 Ford Focus, 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, 2011 Nissan Sentra, and even the 2011 Honda Civic Sedan. In fact, the new Elantra is even better than the Nissan Maxima which has total interior volume of 110.0 cubic feet.

It is more spacious as well compared to the VW Passat CC at 109.3 cubic feet and the Acura TSX at 107.1 cubic feet. With this amount of roominess, it is no wonder that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency itself categorized the Elantra not as a compact car but as a mid-sized vehicle. The fact that the new Elantra offers the comfort of a mid-size car but has the efficiency of a compact vehicle is mainly owed to the wheelbase being made longer.

As proof, one only needs to look at the long seat track which clearly has a front seat legroom that is the best in the segment. It is not only the interior volume where the Elantra excels but the trunk volume as well which, at 14.8 cubic feet, is better than the Corolla and the Civic.

Topics: hyundai, investment

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