Hyundai Wants To Adapt Sedans To Customers’ Needs, Not Ditch Them

A number of major car manufacturers are walking away from the sedans, but Hyundai says it is very much committed to the class well into the future.

While Jalopnik was attending the Nurburgring 24 Hours on behalf of the South Korean automaker, it had the opportunity to speak with the head of global product strategy & design for Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis, Thomas Schemera.

Quizzed about the future of sedans, Schemera said that rather than ditch sedans entirely, it is a smarter move for car manufacturers to adapt them to suit the preferences of customers.

“If you ask my personal opinion, [Ford, FCA, etc. dropping sedans in favor of SUVs and CUVs] is a big mistake. Everybody is going now for SUVs, everybody thinks that the market for sedans is going down,” he said. “Our way of thinking is maybe to differentiate the sedans a little bit more in detail. Think about rugged style. If the look and feel of sedans is different, you make the difference.”

Also Read: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Comes To America As A Four-Door Coupe For The Masses

According to Schemera, producing a sedan in today’s world where customer preferences are shifting towards SUVs and crossovers, you need to design sedans with a difference. “Maybe to design, to compose, or to interpret a sedan more differently. The space and utilization of a sedan is from my point of view also unbeatable. This is a nice thing,” he said.

Not only does Hyundai talk the talk about sedans, but it also walks the walk as, last year, it introduced the new Accent in the United States and, perhaps more significantly, it has launched a radically-redesigned Sonata.

This isn’t to say it isn’t also investing heavily in SUVs and crossovers. Far from it, as its current range includes the Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Fe XL, and Palisade, and soon, the small Venue. It’s just not putting all its eggs in one basket. Wise move, if you ask us, just in case the tide turns…

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  • Leconte Dave

    rugged sedan?

    • flyfish

      AMC Eagle??

  • no25

    so…turn them into crossovers like Ford?

    • Dude

      There are a few steps they could take before then. I’m amazed at how low the seating position is in some sedans. Especially in ones that aren’t sporty at all don’t benefit from it. Increasing seating position height and improving visibility is something most buyers would appreciate.

      • Matt

        Increase seating height = less headroom. Less headroom = taller roof. Taller roof = SUV.

      • Shobin Drogan

        While there is some truth to your statement, i hope it doesn’t happen. No car company should ever compromise the optimum driving position just so people could “get the impression they are safer”, especially in sedans.

  • Merc1

    Clearly this isn’t the playbook of a domestic company. FCA, Ford and GM are going to regret giving up on actual cars, in varying degrees with each one.

    M

    • JRP

      Tesla is the only American brand actually selling sedans that people want to buy.

      • Bo Hanan

        Not true.

        • JRP

          The other sedans in production now are Malibu, Impala, Charger, CT4, CT5, and CT6. I have seen two facelifted Malibus, a lot Impalas, but that doesn’t mean they are the newest model, Mainly the older Chargers are the ones I see, The ATS and CTS I have seen a couple times but the replacements aren’t going to sell much better necessarily and I have seen 4 CT6s since it’s release in 2016. I have also seen only one Spark facelift. If I ever see a sedan or hatchback or coupe or whatever, it’s either an older American car, from European, or Asian. I mean I get excited when I see some of these cars.

          • Enter Ranting

            There are Chargers EVERYWHERE in Los Angeles.

      • Squeaky_1

        What about Hellcat JRP!!

        • JRP

          People WANT to buy it, but I never see anybody drive them.

  • Bo Hanan

    Overall a nice design. But the reverse waterfall lighting on the hood bothers me.

    • Squeaky_1

      I feel the same Bo. I think we just need to get used to it. It is brand new so a lot of things brand new in styling take some time to be comfortable with. Well see. Doesn’t look as bad as that CT Caddy thing of a few years back (or current one?). It is good that we are spoiled for choice though, I reckon :-). The real concern is that some makers are walking away from sedans. Unthinkable 10 years ago. Should still be unthinkable!

  • Aqua Boogie

    Wish Hyundai would bring this Sonata to Europe. Lively, stylish, very good build quality and design.

  • StrangerGP

    I’m really interested in how Sonata will be selling, the styling is very controversial. A Kia Stinger for comparison looks more mundane.

    • Enter Ranting

      I wish they’d sell a version of the Stinger without all the silly “sporty” elements, like the fake hood vents and grilles in the bumpers and fenders. Sell a Q-ship version. I’d buy that.

  • Porkopolis

    Sounds like he’s saying he wants to build sedans with the higher seating and cargo advantage of SUVs, but without building SUVs and still maintaining the lower seating of sedans and no wagon shapes. Yes, it makes that sense.

  • Bash

    They need to ditch the Azera and focus on this amazing sonata then.

  • WalthamDan

    I wish the front did not look like a large, pinched catfish. Just a bit too odd.

  • Deswaga

    Id much prefer the Korean spec front end… 😔 😔

  • slither16

    Adapting to customer’s needs, so radical.

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