SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, MI – To satisfy America’s appetite for utility, Hyundai announces it will bring eight new or refreshed/redesigned CUVs to the U.S. by 2020.
“Several” will be all-new, Mike O’Brien, vice president-corporate, product and digital planning for Hyundai Motor America, tells media today at an event here.
One will be an all-electric model, another will have a diesel engine, and a third will be the A-segment CUV HMA has been studying.
As to why Hyundai is offering a diesel, while those engines face dire regulations in some global markets, improving CUV fuel economy is a key goal, O’Brien says.
“When you look at people moving into CUV category products (from cars), one of the key sources of dissatisfaction for CUVs is the fuel economy,” he says. Besides lower fuel consumption with diesel, O’Brien says the benefits of more-robust towing and durability were factors in Hyundai’s decision.
O’Brien will not say if the electric CUV is the all-electric Kona subcompact. Hyundai will sell a Kona EV in other markets, including South Korea, starting next year. The non-electric Kona, already announced and going on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter, is one of the eight CUVs due.
The A-segment CUV will be a unique entry in the U.S., as most automakers’ smallest CUVs are B-segment size, but O’Brien sees opportunity there given the shift from cars to crossovers.
“If you look at source of sales…you’ll see the price points of some compact CUVs are very close to midsize sedans,” he says. “So that same dynamic is happening throughout the market.”
People looking to move from subcompact and compact cars to CUVs will want a similar price point, he reasons.
“It will fill that role when someone is replacing an Elantra (compact car), for example.” For entry-level customers, O’Brien says it’s vital that Hyundai offer a variety of products.
Other CUV entrants will include the next-generation compact Tucson fuel-cell, due to be shown in January at CES in Las Vegas, as well as a midsize CUV, likely the next generation of Hyundai’s Santa Fe.
O’Brien also confirms rumors an 8-passenger large CUV is planned. A decade ago, HMA sold the 3-row Veracruz utility vehicle.
Meanwhile, John Juriga, director-powertrain at Hyundai Motor America Technical Center here, says the automaker is considering switching back to port fuel injection in its engines, due to particulate issues inherent with direct injection, and will bring CVTs to the U.S. in the “not too distant” future, both with a nod toward meeting more stringent fuel-economy and emissions regulations from 2018 through 2025.