The recently refreshed Hyundai Santa Fe is suffering of sluggish sales. Like with the Sonata/K5 dispute, looks like Kia is killing it with the All-New Sorento in its local market and the Santa Fe has lost its throne. While the Sorento, released in March have sold 76.883 units in a year, the Santa Fe only sold a total of 57.578 units. According to South Korean media this may cause that 5th gen Santa Fe could arrive sooner than expected.
The current Santa Fe reinforced its line-up by applying a facelift that is more closer to a full change model than a facelift. Usually facelifts changes were made within 3 years after the release of a new generation, but in the case of Santa Fe and more usually in other Hyundai models, a new platform was applied. However, a design qualified as “strange” could be the cause.
Santa Fe sold a total of 57.578 units last year. That’s less than for example the 64.791 units of the Palisade that cost much more than the Santa Fe. A model with much less draft, Renault Samsung QM6, recorded 46,740 units. For the South Korean media the situation is clear, the Santa Fe is completely defeated.
But also the problems for Santa Fe are even closer, the recently released Tucson, which has grown its size to just 1cm less than Santa Fe (on the LWB Tucson that is sold in South Korea or US). While the Santa Fe has no hybrid variant certified in South Korea, the Tucson Hybrid is certified as an eco-friendly vehicle and has tax benefits. Comparing the sales volume in November and December, Santa Fe sold 10.475 units and Tucson sold 14.443 units.
Until the release of the fourth-generation Sorento (codenamed as MQ4), Santa Fe was the number one SUV in South Korea. The Santa Fe has the milestone of being the first SUV developed by Hyundai Motor Company. Through generations, the Santa Fe were selected by many customers as it improves its completeness with generations. In the meantime, even if there were problems with the powertrain, the design was not pointed out as a disadvantage, it was a clear advantage.
But with the launch of the partial change Santa Fe this has changed. The situation could get worse when Kia release the new generation Sportage sometime in June. Like the Tucson, it will grow its size as well as adding a hybrid system, all packed in a design that like with the K5 or Sorento could engage customers and steal even more sales. In many ways, it seems unlikely Santa Fe sales will revive with the current design. Full year sales are not a small number, however, the fact that the number has decreased despite the facelift could be a proof that there is a problem.
As if Hyundai Motor Company was conscious, there are rumors that it is advancing the launch of the 5th generation Santa Fe. If the reaction is not good after the release of the partial change, it is not impossible at all as there are many cases where the full change was carried out within two years. As early as the end of this year or the first half of next year?