November 30, 2018 13:30
Hyundai unveiled its new Palisade SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, with promo videos cashing in on the chart success of boy band Bangtan Boys, also known as BTS.
Hyundai hopes the Palisade will jumpstart stalled sales in the key U.S. market. Vice chairman Chung Eui-sun spearheaded publicity efforts at the show.
The Korean automaker faces a crisis due to slumping sales both in the U.S. and China. Chung reshuffled top management in China operations early this month and is poised to revamp U.S. operations as well.
The Palisade is built on an entirely new platform from the predecessor, Max Cruise, which was released five years ago, and targets the U.S. market where SUV and truck sales are booming.
Chung claimed the problems that plagued Hyundai this year are "mostly solved." He was referring to a shortage of SUV lineups in the U.S. and a disruption in sales networks in China due to Beijing's unofficial boycott of Korean products.
Hyundai has also bolstered the sales network for its premium Genesis sedans. "We have to get licenses in each U.S. state, and last year we only had them in 30 states. But now we have all 50, enabling us to engage in more aggressive marketing and sales," Chung said.
Hyundai and affiliate Kia racked up record sales of 1.42 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2016, but that fell to 1.27 million last year. Cumulative U.S. sales during January to October of this year were down more than one percent from the same period of 2017. The carmakers will continue to roll out a series of new models to claw back market share.
Kia plans to roll out the big Telluride SUV in the U.S. in the first half of next year, which benchmarks the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Cadillac Escalade.
Hyundai will take the G90, a new sedan under the high-end Genesis brand which hit the Korean market just this week, to the U.S. soon and roll out new versions of the G80 and mid-sized Sonata next year. By early 2020, it will add the GV80, the first luxury SUV under the Genesis brand, to its U.S. lineup.
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