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Hyundai Selling Cars Like Hot Cakes, On Its Way To Becoming World's Top-Seller?

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On: Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 10:55AM | By: Chris Weiss

Hyundai Selling Cars Like Hot Cakes, On Its Way To Becoming World's Top-Seller?

A few decades ago, Hyundai was known for one thing: cheap, unreliable cars. Today, the Korean automaker has successfully turned its image around, offering a diverse lineup that includes everything from entry level subcompacts to muscle cars. Hyundai has been so successful at diversifying, it may very well need a luxury brand to house cars like the $58,000 Equus. Hyundai has become a quality option in nearly every corner of the marketplace.

According to a Fortune report, the company is having so much sales success, it can barely keep up with demand.

John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Americas, told the magazine that production is more or less "maxed out" and Hyundai is having trouble getting enough cars to its dealers. Hyundai's only American plant in Montgomery, Alabama is currently operating around capacity, and the automaker hasn't announced plans for a second factory.

Earlier this month, Hyundai said that it was on track to beat its 3.9 million global sales projection and expects to sell 4 million cars globally. Hyundai expects to meet its sales goal in the U.S., which it adjusted to 624,000 units after half-year sales exceeded expectations. That's a 16 percent leap over last year's 538,228. The company said next year's growth will be slower because of capacity issues.

Krafcik said of the current environment: "We're doing everything we can. Some of our dealers are quite upset they can't get enough cars."

Some analysts even predict that Hyundai could jump past traditional leaders like Toyota, GM, and Volkswagen to become the top-selling automaker in the world within a few years’ time. If you consider Hyundai's poor reputation of the 80s and 90s, this accomplishment is a first-rate study in rebranding.

When I was a kid in the late 80s (right around the time that Hyundai entered the US market in '86), there were two brands at the butt of cheap, crappy car jokes: Yugo and Hyundai. Yugo never quite made it past the joke-butt stage. Hyundai, on the other hand, weathered many years of quality and image problems to turn itself into a company that can compete with any mainstream brand and may very well be able to compete with higher tier luxury brands, if it expands offerings like the Equus.

During the first 11 years of the century, the automaker has been frequently cited as a top brand in safety, customer satisfaction, and reliability—including an IIHS "top safety pick" for the 2011 Hyundai Elantra and a 2009 North American Car of the Year award for the Hyundai Genesis. Here are a few more examples, examples, and examples. The automaker has even had some success in outperforming much more traditional sports cars like the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro in track testing.

It's a good time to be Hyundai.


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