Hyundai seems to be going backwards with the current Sonata. Unlike the previous model which was stealing sales from competitors, the newest model doesn't have the same effect. The reason? Looks.
“I told the story to our parent company (of driving the old Sonata) home, (and) people were rolling down their window at stop signs, following me, (asking), ‘What is that? Where can I get it?", said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America CEO to Wards Auto.
“And I don’t get that” with the new one. “That was free advertising, right? People would seek us out because we look different. And we don’t get that now.”
When the current Sonata was shown at the New York Auto Show, Zuchowski said that the Sonata didn't have to shout with impressive design as the company has felt firmly established itself as a midsize sedan that had become top-of-mind for buyers. However, they realized that the Sonata hasn't reached that point.
“If we’re priced comparably, and we appear comparable, it’s always difficult to win that battle with those more well-established, well-entrenched (models),” said Zuchowski.
Hyundai is planning to redesign the current Sonata during its mid-cycle refresh, which according to Wards is expected to be around 2017 or 2018.
“It’s hard to get anything (done sooner) than midcycle with the tooling involved,” said Zuchowski, adding Hyundai knows “exactly what we want to do, and we’re busy working on it right now.”
Source: Wards Auto