Just yesterday we reported that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) head Sergio Marchionne was laying the ax down on two core models: the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200. It may have sounded shocking, but it would appear the layoff of sedans is only beginning within the automotive industry.
Hyundai has announced that it will cancel production of its Azera full-size sedan in favor of greater focus on crossovers (echoing FCA’s sentiments). Frankly, Hyundai’s news is a bit less shocking, as its Azera has been a slow seller in the U.S. for some time now. Unlike FCA, however, the Azera will likely continue to sell outside the U.S. as the Grandeur.
With Hyundai’s remaining sedan and compact models: the Sonata, Elantra, Veloster, and Accent taking up the lower cost end of the market, cutting the Azera will help the Korean automaker distinguish itself from the new Genesis luxury brand.
Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski recently stated that the Tucson compact crossover would outsell Hyundai’s volume model, the Elantra, if the company didn’t have production constraints. With some newly freed-up resources, we may see Zuchowski’s boast put to the test. Hyundai also updated its Alabama factory to allow production of its Sante Fe Sport side by side with the Elantra and Sonata, increasing the crossover’s output to 50,000 units per year.
The Tucson will gain an additional 50,000 units of output this year as well, serving up plenty of models for the reported swell of consumers looking to buy them.
In other Hyundai news, the automaker will introduce a B-segment crossover to challenge established players like the Nissan Juke, Fiat 500X, and Jeep Renegade. Of course, this crossover growth doesn’t even count the planned models that will slot under the Genesis sub-brand, which will apparently include a high-riding utility vehicle in every size category.
Keep an eye out for more automakers to adopt similar strategies to reallocate resources to surging crossover sales.