These times are a-changing as electrification draws near, and Hyundai is feeling that keenly. Not only is it bringing more EVs and hybrids to market, but it’s also bringing more of their production to the U.S.A. However, these changes might leave some of the automaker’s current models in the dust. And according to a new report, one of those is the Hyundai Sonata sedan.
The Hyundai Sonata might not see its ninth generation
Currently, the Hyundai Sonata sedan is in its eighth generation, which launched in 2020. So, according to the usual model cycle, the next few years should see a Sonata refresh followed by a next-gen version. But if the rumors are true, the Sonata isn’t getting another generation.
According to the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, Hyundai is considering halting the ninth-gen Sonata’s development, Car and Driver reports. The next-gen model was supposedly scheduled to arrive around 2025. However, according to Chosun Ilbo’s anonymous insider reports, the mid-size Sonata will die once the eight-gen sedan’s life cycle ends.
As of this writing, Hyundai hasn’t confirmed if these reports are true. In addition, a company spokesperson told Car and Driver that the “’Sonata remains and will continue to be an important part of Hyundai’s product lineup. Any rumors on its future are pure speculation.’” So, at least for now, the Sonata isn’t going anywhere.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that similar rumors have sprouted about other Hyundai Motor Group sedans in the past. For example, the Kia Stinger was supposedly dead after Q2 2022. But as of this writing, it’s still alive and drifting.
Plus, the Hyundai Sonata is a significant car for the company. Firstly, it was the first car Hyundai sold in South Korea, Autoblog reports. Secondly, it’s one of the company’s best-selling models, right behind the Elantra, Accent, and overseas Avante. And it’s one of the most reliable mid-size sedans you can buy. In short, Hyundai has a lot of reasons to keep this sedan around.
But there are other factors at work here.
Why would Hyundai hypothetically kill off one of its oldest and best-selling cars?
Although the Sonata is one of Hyundai’s best-selling models internationally, the sedan’s U.S. sales have been slipping. Despite solid reviews, Hyundai only sold 83,434 2021 Sonatas here. In comparison, Hyundai sold 216,936 examples in 2014. And according to another South Korean outlet, some brand executives pointed to the eight-gen Sonata’s design as the source of the slumping sales, Autoblog says.
OK, but a mid-cycle refresh could correct that, right? Potentially. However, as noted earlier, Hyundai is investing heavily in EVs. As in, it’s pouring literally billions of dollars into a dedicated battery and EV factory in Georgia that should be fully operational by mid-2025. This is all part of its plan to introduce 11 new EVs by 2030. And since that would leave its lineup rather bloated, some existing models are going bye-bye.
For example, by introducing the Ioniq 5, the Ioniq Electric became redundant, so Hyundai canceled it. And in Sonata-related news, Hyundai has an all-electric sedan, the Ioniq 6, on the way. Admittedly, it will likely cost more than a base Sonata, Car and Driver notes. However, if Hyundai’s goal is to become an all-electric brand, the mid-size Ioniq 6 would essentially be a battery-powered Sonata analog. That means it could also go the way of the Ioniq Electric for similar reasons.
Even if the Sonata dies, Hyundai has other sedan models
At this point, it’s worth remembering that Hyundai hasn’t confirmed or denied if the Sonata is on the chopping block. Yet even if it is, as noted earlier, the current-gen model’s life cycle isn’t over. So, if you want one, you still have plenty of time.
But even if the Sonata is canceled, there are other Hyundai sedans. There’s the subcompact Accent and the compact Elantra; there’s a hybrid version of the latter, too. Also, the Sonata has a Kia counterpart, the K5. And as of this writing, there’s no indication that it’s going anywhere anytime soon.
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