Hyundai to Stop Producing Iconic Sonata

  • By Lim Kyeong-eop

    May 13, 2022 12:55

    Hyundai is expected to stop making its trusty midsize Sonata sedan. First launched in 1985, the Sonata has become the longest surviving model in Korea and more than 9 million of them have been sold.
    But Hyundai has no plans to continue producing it amid plans to phase out combustion-engine cars by 2035.
    It takes between four to six years to come up with a new version, and Hyundai has rolled out face-lifted Sonatas every two to three years, so development of the next one due 2025 should already be in full swing. But a source at Hyundai said nothing is happening.
    Insiders said it is an open secret in the company that the Sonata will be discontinued, and Sonata assembly lines are being converted to produce electric cars.
    In January, the automaker stopped producing Sonata and Grandeur sedans for a month at its factory in Asan, South Chuncheong Province and turned some of the lines over to manufacturing the Ioniq 6 EV. 

    "Hyundai has announced it will manufacture only EVs starting in 2035, so combustion engine cars are on their way out. There is probably no reason to spend W300 billion developing a new version now Sonata sales have slowed." A face-lifted Sonata set to hit showrooms next year will probably be the last. 

    Hyundai has sold 9.17 million Sonatas in Korea and abroad, making it Hyundai's third-bestselling model after the Avante (14.4 million) and Accent (10.10 million).

    It also used to be the most exported car in Korea, but shipments have declined since 2019. Sales of the latest Sonata released in 2019 reached only 440,000 over the last three years compared to 1 million or more of previous models. 

    Consumers appear to favor SUVs now, with a whopping 47.3 percent of Hyundai's sales last year being SUVs. A staffer said, "We can't rule out an electric Sonata, but we're prioritizing the development of a compact electric car rather than a less popular midsize vehicle."

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