The Hyundai Elantra Sedan

Hyundai Targets Increased Truck Share in Year of Car Launches

IMPERIAL BEACH, CA – Hyundai is aiming for roughly one-third of its U.S. deliveries this year to be light trucks, despite a car-heavy launch schedule.

While its product-lifecycle plan has Hyundai launching a redesigned Elantra compact car, the all-new Ioniq alternative-powertrain car lineup and, under the new Genesis marque, refreshed G80 and new G90 sedans, the brand’s top U.S. executive is focused on increasing output of in-demand light trucks.

“By the end of this year, if we get what we think we’re going to get in terms of incremental production, that’s going to give us 250,000 CUVs and that’ll get us a 30%, maybe 32%, truck mix,” Dave Zuchowski, president-Hyundai Motor America, tells media here last week at a ’17 Elantra sedan preview.

Hyundai has made no secret of being what Zuchowski calls “out of whack” with the rest of the U.S. auto industry, with a much bigger share of cars than light trucks sold.

Last year, 77% of Hyundai’s 761,710 U.S. sales were cars and 23% (181,725) light trucks, which for the brand includes just two CUV models, the compact Tucson and midsize Santa Fe. The brand has no pickup.

WardsAuto data shows 57% of 2015 U.S. light-vehicle sales were light trucks and 43% cars.

Zuchowski says the previously announced move to make Santa Fe midsize CUVs at the Korean automaker’s Montgomery, AL, plant alleviates the issue of having to build cars the market may not want to keep the plant running at capacity.

Montgomery is slated to assemble 50,000 of the Santa Fe Sport 2-row variant, which means 50,000 fewer Sonata and Elantra cars will be built at the plant this year, Zuchowski notes.

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