Hyundai Motor America today reported its best January in company history, selling 44,005 units for the month, up less than one percent versus the same period last year.
“While year-over-year sales were up slightly, January was a bit of a challenge due to weather issues across the country, making us wonder how many more units we could have sold,” said Bob Pradzinski, vice president, national sales. “Even with our Alabama plant shutting down production of Elantra and Sonata for a couple of days, due to a winter snow storm that crippled Montgomery, our dealers are well stocked with a full lineup of vehicles ready to support customer demand.”
Leading the way were Accent, Elantra and Santa Fe with sales up 21, 26 and 12 percent, respectively. Equus experienced sales of 327 units for the month, up 29 percent.
[ads id=”0″ style=”float:left;padding:5px;”]David Zuchowski, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, is visiting Korea to discuss sales strategies with Korean executives and inspect factories here. In a statement released by the firm, he expressed strong confidence in the successful launch of the new Genesis in the U.S market, slated for the first half of this year.
“The all-new Genesis was well-received at the Detroit Auto Show last year where it was unveiled before its official launch,” Zuchowski was quoted as saying. “Visiting Hyundai’s research facilities and inspecting the process to manufacture high-tension steel plates today made me confident again in the successful launch of new vehicles in the U.S. this year.”
He visited Hyundai’s research center in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province and Hyundai Steel’s factory in Dangjin in South Chungcheong Province during his three-day trip to Korea from Feb. 2. It was the first time for him to visit the country since he became the new CEO of Hyundai’s U.S. operation.
Zuchowski also said new vehicles that will soon be launched in the U.S., including the all-new Genesis and the new Sonata, will help the company reach the sales goal of 745,000 this year and boost brand awareness in the U.S.
After their visit to the automaker’s facilities in the morning, the two new executives also met with Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo at the automaker’s headquarters in Yangje-dong, southern Seoul.
Chung asked them to do their best to support the successful launch of the new Genesis in the U.S., while also promising the utmost support for the U.S. unit.
Zuchowski had long been Hyundai’s U.S. sales chief since he joined the company in 2007. He became Hyundai America’s sixth CEO on Jan. 1, replacing John Krafcik. It is known that dealers hailed his appointment, speaking highly of his experiences, at an important time as the company’s U.S. sales growth has slowed.
Last year, the U.S. operation sold a total of 720,783, up 2.5 percent from the previous year, maintaining a sales growth in five consecutive years. The annual sales of the Avante compact surpassed the 200,000 mark for the first time, and the Santa Fe SUV’s sales jumped by 25 percent to 89,000 last year.
But its share of the U.S. market has slipped to 4.6 percent from 4.9 percent in 2012. The brand’s U.S. market share peaked at 5.1 percent in 2011, up from 3 percent in 2008.
Upon his appointment, Zuchowski had pledged to boost the brand’s U.S. market share back to 5 percent within the next few years through steady, modest growth.