Hyundai has a problem that a lot of other brands might envy — not enough cars to sell. Now it’s doing something about it.
The South Korean automaker is trying to squeeze an additional 100,000 cars for its dealers to sell this year, says John Krafcik, the company’s North American CEO.
As it stands, the South Korean automaker’s assembly and engine plants in Montgomery, Ala., are almost at capacity. But the company expects to reduce the portion of cars its sells to fleet customers (rental companies, government agencies and corporations) from about 10% to between 5% and 6%, Krafcik told journalists in Birmingham, Mich.
Hyundai also should gain incremental capacity from new models it is introducing that are produced in South Korea, such as the redesigned full-size Azera sedan, which just went on sale, and the new Genesis coupe, which went on sale last month.
That’s good news for dealers because Hyundai had only 55,000 cars available at the end of March, but had sold nearly 70,000. By the end of the month, Hyundai’s inventory had dwindled to 25 days’ supply compared with an industry average of 55 days, according to WardsAuto.com.
“We are literally selling cars off the transporters,” Krafcik said.
The automaker’s chairman, Chung Mong-koo, has decided that Hyundai, following several years of rapid growth, should improve quality, customer service and supplier relations before adding new plants in North America.
Azera gets 29 miles per gallon on the highway and 20 mpg in the city. It costs $32,000 to $36,000, depending on options.
“We are driven by this goal to be the most-loved car company,” Krafcik said. “It’s not about volume.”
The 2013 Genesis coupe comes with either a 2-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 274 horsepower or a 3.8-liter, V-6 engine that generates 348 horsepower. Prices range from about $24,000 to more than $34,000.