In the last couple of years, Hyundai Motor America has led the come back of the Korean imports in the American market. The company's best year was in 1986 when it sold 263,000 units. This year, the company will finish in excess of 320,000 units.
So what is the formula for success? It's about the product, says Robert Cosmai, vice president of national sales for Hyundai Motor America. With its seven viable vehicles, the company is starting to have broad appeal in the marketplace. The new Santa Fe SUV has added over 40,000 sales.
Hyundai plans to make waves with the launch of the new Sonata sedan, the feature model of its lineup. Mr. Cosmai realizes Hyundai has a lot of distance to cover before the Sonata competes with the Nissan Altimas, Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys of the world.
But he adds, “We want a larger share of that pie, and we think we can get it.”
The importer has forced domestics into some drastic defensive moves. General Motors acknowledges that the Koreans' success was partly why GM revamped its certified used-vehicle program.
But Mr. Cosmai says, “We're no longer an alternative to those pre-owned vehicles.”
Hyundai wants to improve its customer satisfaction scores. That strategy includes adding 2,500 more sales people, increasing training and renovating dealerships. The company won't spend millions in facility upgrades but will focus on repairing and fixing up existing areas.
“Right now, the product has to be the star,” Mr. Cosmai explains.