With 2010 not quite over yet, Hyundai Motor America has already announced a number of sales records for the year, setting new marks in annual U.S. sales (about 530,000), Canadian sales (an estimated 110,000) and, obviously, overall North American sales. Company execs and the sales charts point to the Hyundai Sonata as the key driver behind the automaker's impressive performance.
'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.'?
That was one of a number of fresh benchmarks set by the Sonata this year. The car, which became the first mid-size sedan to offer an all four-cylinder engine lineup when it went on sale earlier this year, also now represents the most fuel-efficient mid-size lineup in the country, thanks to a family that includes:
'¢ Hyundai Sonata'”with a 2.4-liter gas direct-injection engine capable of an EPA line of 24 mpg city/35 mpg highway.
'¢ Hyundai Sonata Turbo'”featuring an advanced 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 that makes 274 hp while still delivering 22 mpg city/33 mpg highway.
'¢ Hyundai Sonata Hybrid'”leveraging the industry's first lithium polymer battery technology to reach 36 mpg city/40 mpg highway.
The Sonata also increased its retail sales in the U.S. by 117 percent, and grew its overall American sales by 65 percent. This helped increase the vehicle's retail share of the highly competitive mid-size sedan segment from 5 percent in November 2009, when it was sixth in the segment in retail sales, to as high as 16 percent in 2010, trailing only the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Significantly, this came as Hyundai reduced its incentive spending on the vehicle by 46 percent as compared to 2009, with key competitors upping discounts from 30 to 100 percent during the same period.
Demographically speaking, 32 percent of all Sonata buyers were college-educated, with a median age of 51 and a median income of $72,000. And according to Hyundai research, their top reasons for buying a Sonata in 2010 were:
'¢ Quality/reliability/durability'”15 percent
'¢ Value'”15 percent
'¢ Exterior styling'”12 percent
'¢ Fuel economy'”9 percent
'¢ Warranty'”9 percent
'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.Â 'It is selling on its merits, not on artificial incentives or fleet sales. I think it's fair to say Sonata has reset the competitive dynamic in this segment for some time to come.'?