Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan

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Thread: Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan

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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan

    Source: AutoNews Special email

    LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai Motor America's on-again, off-again romance with the minivan is back on.

    In June, Hyundai announced plans to launch its Entourage minivan next spring. The company then canceled that plan in August. But at a Thursday meeting in Las Vegas, U.S. dealers were told that the minivan was back in the lineup -- with the same spring 2006 introduction.

    Hyundai also confirmed at the meeting a late 2006 arrival for a stretched version of the Santa Fe SUV that will seat seven. The Korean-built vehicle will be about the same size as a Ford Explorer. It will be based on a stretched version of the Sonata sedan platform.

    The stretched Santa Fe will be powered by the 3.8-liter V-6 used in the Entourage, new Azera sedan and redesigned Santa Fe planned for next summer. There are no plans to use the 4.6-liter V-8 engine unveiled this month at the Tokyo Motor Show.

    Hyundai canceled the Entourage when product planners could not differentiate it enough from its Kia Sedona sibling. Executives decided that the redesigned Santa Fe and its stretched version as well as its upcoming six-passenger crossover vehicle would give Hyundai enough people haulers.

    But the allure of the large minivan market in the United States proved too strong, Bob Cosmai, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, told Automotive News. In addition, the upcoming crossover vehicle was going to arrive later than hoped -- in spring 2008.

    "We felt we'd need the minivan sooner rather than later," Cosmai said. "We didn't want badge engineering. Our product planners really rolled up their sleeves."

    Hyundai wants to sell 1 million units a year in the United States by 2010, plus another 500,000 units for Kia. Having a minivan in the lineup will help achieve that objective, Cosmai said. Last year, Hyundai sold 418,615 vehicles in the United States. Sales through September are up 9.6 percent over the year-ago period.

    The Entourage will differ from the Sedona in its front and rear fascias, instrument panels and instrument clusters. Many optional features on the Sedona will be standard for the Entourage. Also, the Entourage will only be offered in long-wheelbase trim. The Sedona will have short- and long-wheelbase versions.

    Just the same, Hyundai Product Planning Vice President John Krafcik told Automotive News: "They won't look like two completely different vehicles."

    Both the Sedona and Entourage will be built on a Kia assembly line in Korea. Hyundai hopes to sell about 27,000 Entourages in the United States in 2006.

    As for the upcoming 2008 crossover vehicle, Cosmai said some hints can be seen in the Portico concept that was shown at the Chicago Auto Show in February and the NEOS-III concept at the Tokyo show this month.

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    Re: Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan

    You know, I see relationship of Hyundai and Kia similar to that of Chevrolet and Saturn (or Pontiac).

    Parent Hyundai wants both brands to succeed, and will therefore offer the same line-up for both brands to ensure that in markets where only one brand exists, no sales are lost. Given the sales success of both brands, it should do well.

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    Re: Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan

    Good thing that they are that involved or worried about rebadges as we know GM sure wasn't with the CSV's

    Hyundai really has their game plan together...they ARE the Korean Toyota...a soon to be Power House.....3.8 will be a great engine for their larger vehicles

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    Re: Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan


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    Re: Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan

    Since The Sleepy General fought for this market years ago much like France bravely battled Germany for six weeks in WWII before surrendering, it's gonna be: LOOK OUT HONDA, LOOK OUT TOYOTA!!
    You don't see Hyundai execs making fools of themselves at press conferences every couple of weeks.
    They act, and actions speak louder than words. A lesson Wagoneer needs to learn.
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    Re: Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian
    Both the Sedona and Entourage will be built on a Kia assembly line in Korea. Hyundai hopes to sell about 27,000 Entourages in the United States in 2006.
    I find it odd that they can be so specific. How do they figure they'll 27,000, and not 25,000 or 30,000?!? Quite the forecasting model! The spy pics aren't too exciting... but then again... this IS a minivan...
    Automotive stories and pictures for the rest of us:

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    Re: Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan

    Quote Originally Posted by f1guy68
    MAn that almost looks like a Caravan from teh rear.

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    Re: Hyundai Changes Mind On Minivan

    I'm surprised about two things:

    First, that this isn't scheduled for NAIAS. Guess Chicago or NY.

    Second, this is WAY too close in looks to the Sedona. Hyundai has copied the Ford model of badge engineering on this one. Which is disappointing, seeing as to how different the Sonata and upcoming Optima look.

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