In the past, when it comes to national cars, it was a Sonata. With the spread of one vehicle per household, the demand for family cars increased a lot, but the Sonata was perfectly suited to the conditions of a family car due to its reasonable price and size. After the 2000s and until 2016, the Sonata went quite well.
However, since the launch of the Granger IG, the Sonata’s position has declined. In 2017, Granger outpaced Sonata sales, and in 2018, due to SUV craze, Santa Fe and Sorento outpaced Sonata sales. From the end of 2019, it was also pushed out of the K5, which was treated as a bastard, and it is said that there are currently 7,000 units in stock. Today’s AutoPost Issue Plus looks at the recent state of the Sonata, which was once a national car.
Written Jinwoong Lee Editor
Once went well
The Sonata is a representative model of Hyundai Motor Company that has been around since its launch in 1985. As the economy grew, the demand for family cars increased a lot as one per household was spread, and the Sonata was suitable as a family car due to its reasonable price and size. At that time, the Sonata was much smaller than it is now. The battlefield was the level of the current Avante, and the width was smaller than the current Avante.
Thanks to the demand for family cars, the Sonata has long been called the national car, and the K5 came out well in the middle and threatened the Sonata, but the Sonata went out very well until 2015. Since 2001, it has been ranked first 12 times.
Grandeur and SUV popularity
Sonata is gradually on the decline
However, after the launch of the Grandeur IG in 2016, the situation began to change from 2017. As Granger IG received favorable reviews, it significantly outpaced Sonata sales. Granger recorded 11,856 units, while Sonata sales also recorded 73,231 units. Still, the sales volume of Sonata was not significantly different from the previous year.
In 2018, Sonata sales decreased to 61,724 units. On the other hand, sales of SUVs and carnivals have increased significantly. Santa Fe sold nearly 100,000 units, ranking first, and Sorento sold more than 67,000 units than the Sonata. Carnival sold 76,000 units, ranking 4th.
In 2019, thanks to the launch of the Sonata DN8, sales volume increased to 65,242 units, but the increase is relatively small in terms of new car effects. At that time, despite the lack of competitiveness of SM6 and Malibu, and K5 was the end, sales volume did not increase by only 4,000 units from the previous year.
In December 2019, after the launch of the third generation of the K5, it began to be pushed out of the K5, which was treated as a bastard. At that time, sales in December were only 1,300 units apart from the Sonata, and in January of the following year, the K5 surpassed the Sonata. After that, the Sonata failed to beat the K5 again. There was also a big difference in sales in 2020, the K5 sold 79,072 units, while the Sonata sold 48,067 units. The 50,000 line collapsed and was pushed to 10th place.
It is said that 7,000 units are stacked.
Again this year, the Sonata’s performance is not good. In January, sales of 5,117 units for the K5 and 3,612 units for the Sonata were recorded, which is still sluggish. The sales ranking is 13th, just below the large SUV Palisade.
Now, the Sonata is hard to find in the top ranks in monthly car sales. For the first time since 2002 last year, the sales volume was less than 200,000 units, and the current Sonata inventory is said to be more than 7,000 units. If you signed a car, you could get it right away, and in December of last year, the Asan plant was stopped for two weeks, perhaps due to the Sonata’s sluggishness. Hyundai Mobis’ Asan plant also stopped production. In order to clear out the inventory, a 5% discount on production before November and a 3% discount on production in December were launched (except hybrid).
For automobiles, design is one of the most important factors that determine sales volume. Since it is an externally visible part, it is impossible for the owners to pay attention to it.
Avante is a representative example of how design influenced sales. The Avante AD, launched in 2015, once sold nearly 100,000 units a year thanks to its good design. However, the facelift model released in 2018 received severe reviews so that it was nicknamed as a triangular group, and the average monthly sales decreased to 5,000 units. The sales volume was not small, but due to the decline in performance and continued severe criticism, the company made a full change in less than two years and recovered to the previous level of monthly average sales of about 8,000 units.
The Sonata is also being greatly criticized for its design. The 8th generation Sonata was designed based on the concept car Le Peel Rouge, but netizens who saw the real thing were nicknamed Catfish and criticized it. The headlamps are likened to the eyes, the daytime running lights raised from the bonnet, the chrome molding across the bumper is the beard, the wide cascading grille is the mouth, and the elongated body is likened to the body. Also, the rear tail lamp was compared to the Yeongdeok snow crab.
Still, in 2019, when the 8th generation Sonata was released, the average sales volume was 7,249 units per month. In May, it also took first place with 12,24 units. Competitive model K5 was the final model, and SM6 and Malibu were unable to use their strength due to lack of competitiveness. However, as the third generation of the K5, which was released in December, captivated consumers with its excellent design, the demand for the Sonata moved to the K5.
With money to buy the Sonata
There were many consumers buying Granger.
In addition to the K5, demand has shifted to the Grandeur, which is also the reason for the Sonata’s sluggishness. The price difference between the Sonata and the Granger is less than expected. The Sonata has fewer options for sub-trim than expected, so most consumers increase the trim and add options, but to do so, you have to think about 30 million won or more.
The Granger, on the other hand, has plenty of options for the basic trim as well. On the other hand, the price of the base model is 3,294 million won, which is not much different from the price of the Sonata’s selection of some options. In fact, most consumers who buy the Sonata choose a lot of upper trim, but most consumers who buy a Granger choose a lower trim.
The price difference is not as big as expected, but the two models have a big difference in their domestic status. While the Sonata was a popular mid-sized car, the Granger was once the top-of-the-line car in Korea, and these days, although its status has declined a lot, it is still recognized as a luxury car. As a result, more consumers are buying the Granger in addition to the money to buy the Sonata. Thanks to that, Granger currently ranks #1 in monthly car sales.
Like the Sonata, the design is being criticized. However, luxury cars tend to value brand value more than design. In Korea, the brand value of Grandeur is very high, and the main consumers are not young, but middle-aged, so the design doesn’t matter much.
Higher than before
The SUV craze is also the cause of the Sonata’s sluggishness. In the old days, when it comes to SUVs, the crude image was strong. However, these days, SUVs are sold as much as they are in the heyday. As SUV sales increase, sedan sales are gradually decreasing, and the Sonata is also affected.
The urban SUV, which has been released in earnest since the 2000s, has a sophisticated design, and the ride comfort has improved a lot, unlike the crude conventional SUV. In addition, the car body is basically larger than the sedan, so it is suitable for domestic consumers who prefer large cars. These days, as the craze for leisure such as camping and car park is blowing, SUVs with high practicality, rough terrain capability, and traction are gaining more attention.
Looking at the sales volume in 2020, SUVs that sold more than the Sonata were Sorento, Palisade, Seltos, and Santa Fe (total of old and new). Carnivals (old and new total), which have less rugged performance than SUVs, but are more practical, also sold more than the Sonata.
The Sonata’s inventory is more than sold in a month. From Sonata’s point of view, it can be seen as a big crisis. Although the N line was released as a derivative model, it is not enough to increase the sales volume of the Sonata due to the nature of high-performance demand. It is a model that has been released for almost two years now, but something special, such as a face lift, seems to be needed. It was Auto Post Issue Plus.
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