Source: Automotive News (Special) Email
Hyundai Motor America said on Friday that it has dropped plans to sell a traditional minivan next year.
Instead, the company says it will add a seven-passenger SUV. Later, it will offer a six-passenger sport wagon.
"We felt the best strategy was to leave the traditional minivan for others," says CEO Robert Cosmai. Hyundai wants to "stay appropriately differentiated from other brands."
The unibody SUV, about the same size as a Honda Pilot, will go into production in late 2006. The minivan, dubbed the Entourage, was scheduled for spring 2006. The Entourage was to have shared a platform with the Kia Sedona.
American consumers typically don't embrace rebadged vehicles, says John Krafcik, vice president of product development and strategic planning. Hyundai is trying to carve out a separate identify from affiliate Kia.
Moreover, the minivan segment is stagnant, he says.
The SUV will not be based on the Sedona platform, Krafcik says. The vehicle will be powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It will offer electronic stability control and side curtain airbags.
The sport wagon, due in 2008, will offer a flexible interior for passengers and cargo, the company said in a press release Friday. The vehicle will be similar to the Portico concept shown at the Chicago Auto Show in February.