The boss of Hyundai USA admits the brand needs a third SUV and has highlighted the burgeoning sub-compact crossover market as a priority.

Hyundai Motor America president and CEO John Krafcik told reporters the brand had failed to take advantage of the country’s hunger for SUVs, with just a two per cent share of the nation’s truck segment that includes crossovers, SUVs and pick-ups.

“We are very under-represented,” Krafcik said, as reported by Edmunds.

“We lead the industry in sedans, we have a bunch of them, but if you look at our crossover line, we [only] have two nameplates, the Tucson [ix35] and the Santa Fe.”

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Hyundai says it has been struggling to keep up with demand for the new Santa Fe, which launched in the US in five-door form in the second half of 2013 and as a long-wheelbase seven-seater earlier this year.

Krafcik said there was no new SUV in the pipeline for Hyundai USA at this stage, but suggested a sub-compact crossover to rival the likes of the Ford EcoSport and Chevrolet/Holden Trax was an obvious next step for the brand.

“Our growth potential in where we might want to put future products probably would be on the crossover side of the table.

“It seems sort of obvious. I mean, if you slice the data, that is where you would want to look.

“I think it is something that we have to look at. We don’t have any plans, [but] it does seem like there is a lot of action in stuff below RAV4- and Tucson-sized vehicles. A new segment is emerging.”

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Hyundai unveiled the HB20X crossover (pictured) at last year’s Sao Paulo motor show. The city-sized SUV was designed primarily for Brazil, though Hyundai director of global public relations Frank Ahrens told CarAdvice at last year’s New York auto show the model had potential to be adapted for other markets.

“It’s pretty cute, I have to say, and it’s smaller than Tucson,” Ahrens said.

“It will have the same high safety crash standards. It will have surprising amenities that you don’t expect. We don’t want our features to be just in the highest model, we want them to be in the bottom.

“If that works there [in Brazil] – and I think it will be pretty popular in Latin America – we’ll export it throughout Latin America and take a look at other markets around the world.”

CarAdvice yesterday reported that the sub-Tiguan-sized Up!-based Volkswagen Taigun is all but confirmed to join the booming segment, with production set to start by 2016.




  • F1orce

    The Tucson is too small for the American market.

    And the SantaFe does good, averages about 8000 units sold every month.

  • Hjalle

    Booming segment? I have not heard one person that wants an EcoSport, Holden Trax or whatever that Hyundai abomination is!

    You would have to have rocks in your head to buy an EcoSport over a Fiesta, or that Hyundai thing over an i20 or even i30 (assuming it will come with a decent price premium due to the plastic bumpers)

  • Gus

    ironically, suzuki, who pioneered the sub-compact SUV decades ago with the pre-2013 SX4/Ignis (AWD with locking diffs) have moved away from this segment and will now make that 2014 SX4 abomination which is now an overweight, underpowered mid sized SUV

  • Darryl

    So, to create an SUV you simply throw on some black or grey plastic, roof rails and add X to the name of a small hatchback and you’re done? And then paint it brown. Mr Ahrens’ description of it as pretty cute says all you need to know.

    The interesting thing here is that Hyundai thought it necessary to design this car almost specifically for the Brazilian market at all, when they already have the i20 and Accent in this market segment. They obviously don’t think much of Alan Mullaly’s One Ford policy.

  • Sam

    If they wanna really sell more cars here in Australia, they will release a small ute (think Proton jumbuck, or Subaru Brumby style) for under 20k. I bet they wouldnt be able to keep up with demand.

  • MK

    Why do manufacturers keep putting that god forsaken plastic around the wheel arches and rails of the car??

    It just looks so ugly and fades in 2-3 years time.