The U.S. division of Hyundai said that sales will slow on its wildly popular Elantra in the coming year. This prediction comes despite gains in sales last year. The reason for the expected drop, the company says, is that its Montgomery, Ala., plant will not be able to keep up with the demand.
2012 North American Car of the Year
The Elantra was named the 2012 North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show in January. It is the second time in four years that Hyundai has won the prize. Sales of the compact sedan rose by 41 percent worldwide in 2011.
Popularity in the U.S. growing
South Korea’s largest automaker, Hyundai has seen a steady growth in popularity in the U.S. over the past several years. In 2009, according to Autodata Corp., Hyundai claimed 3 percent of the U.S. market. By 2010, that had risen to 4.5 percent. Last year, the number had grown yet again to 5.1 percent, a 20 percent increase. The company moved 186,361 vehicles stateside in 2012.
Hyundai’s executive vice president of U.S. sales, Dave Zuchowski, said in an interview at the Washington auto show Friday:
“The growth will be capped only because of production capacity. We’re going to sell what we did last year, but our growth curve will plateau just because of capacity.”
Plant at 110 percent capacity
Last year, the South Korean automaker’s Alabama plant worked more than 10 percent above its official capacity to produce 338,000 units. The plant also assembles the Hyudai Sonata.
New plant may be coming
According to Autoblog, rumors abound that the company will soon announce plans to build another U.S. production facility.
Last November, Hyundai unveiled a streamlined coupe Elantra concept that the automaker said it will be rolling out later this year. It is unknown how this latest announcements will affect those plans.