Hyundai embraces the SUV, eschews trucks

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Hyundai says it will not enter the truck market any time soon. Image: mikecogh/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Hyundai’s CEO in the U.S. said last week that, in its push to keep sales brisk stateside, the automaker would back off on entering the pickup segment and concentrate more on six and seven passenger crossover SUVs.

Hyundai wants momentum to continue

Hyundai North America had a good year in 2011. Besides enjoying high sales, the automaker’s Elantra was named the 2012 North American Car of the Year. The automaker wants to keep that momentum going by concentrating on the needs of the U.S. market.

Family market untapped

John Krafcik, Hyundai North America’s CEO, was interviewed by Fox News on Thursday as part of its coverage of the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. He told the news agency that the Korean-based automaker is going strong in the market segments for young people, before they begin families. It is also successful in targeting retired people, whose families have moved on. But the CEO said the automaker was lacking when it comes to accommodating the family years.

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Krafcik said:

“It’s probably fair to say we need more presence in the six and seven passenger crossover segment where we have the Veracruz now.”

Hyundai scuttled its Entourage minivan in 2010. Since that time, the Veracruz has been standing as the lone three-row vehicle in its lineup. Only 9,146 units of the model sold in 2011. Compare that with the 130,235 comparably-sized Sorrentos sold by Kia, Hyundai’s sister company.

Represented in a dozen segments

Hyundai already has models pandering to more than a dozen segments of the automotive market, from luxury sedans to subcompacts. The company debuted two new additions to its lineup at the Chicago show last week: a coupe and a five-door hatchback version of the popular Elantra model. The Veloster Turbo was also added to the maker’s lineup in the last year. A new Santa Fe is also expected to debut at the New York Auto Show.

‘We could… if we wanted to’

Hyundai has hinted about its desire to start making trucks for the U.S. market. But it seems those plans are once again going on a back burner.

Krafcik said:

“We’re not a big truck player. I like to say brands define themselves as much by what they choose not to do as what they chose to do. We could be a truck player if we wanted to, we choose to focus on more fuel efficient segments of the market.”



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