Hyundai Mulls Adding Another Crossover to U.S. Lineup

Just the Facts:
  • Hyundai Motor America is considering adding a third crossover to its lineup, according to CEO John Krafcik.
  • Krafcik says the Korean automaker is "very under-represented" in this critical segment of the market.
  • Krafcik said there are no immediate plans to add the unnamed third crossover, which would join the Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe in the lineup.

SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Michigan — The next model Hyundai will add to its U.S. line likely will be a crossover vehicle.

John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, said that the crossover market is booming but Hyundai has been unable to capture a significant share of the segment.

"We are very under-represented," Krafcik told journalists at a press event here on Friday. "We lead the industry in sedans, we have a bunch of them, but if you look at our crossover line, we (only) have two nameplates, the Tucson and the Santa Fe."

Hyundai has about a 7 percent share of U.S. sedan market, but only 2 percent of the truck segment, he said.

Crossovers and sport-utilities are considered trucks by the U.S. government in terms of determining emissions and fuel economy standards.

The redesigned 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport went on sale last fall. Sales for the seven-passenger Santa Fe started earlier this year. Strong sales have made it difficult for Hyundai to keep up with demand.

A redesigned Hyundai Tucson is due around 2015, industry sources say.

"Our growth potential in where we might want to put future products probably would be on the crossover side of the table," Krafcik said. "There are no plans for that right now, (but) it seems sort of obvious. I mean, if you slice the data, that is where you would want to look."

Krafcik did not say if one or two crossovers might be added to the U.S. product line this decade, but the automaker could offer a crossover that is smaller than the Tucson. Earlier this year, General Motors introduced the 2013 Buick Encore, a subcompact crossover that shares a platform with the Chevrolet Spark. The German automakers are planning to sell similar-sized crossovers.

"I think it is something that we have to look at," Krafcik said. "We don't have any plans. (But) it does seem like there is a lot of action in stuff below RAV4- and Tucson-sized vehicles. A new segment is emerging."

Edmunds says: This is yet another signal that carmakers are re-examining the potential of small car sales in the U.S. instead of focusing on the "bigger is better" mantra of the past two decades.

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