Hyundai’s U.S. dealers are getting something they desperately want and need, a new subcompact crossover called the Kona. That’s the good news.
The bad news is twofold: Hyundai is among the last mainstream brands to enter the segment one of the U.S. market’s hottest and most hotly contested and dealers won’t have many Konas to sell.
That predicament reflects the persistent disconnect between Hyundai Motor America’s demands and the production decisions from the parent company in Korea. The tension has led to instability in HMA’s executive ranks in recent years, as aggressive sales expectations haven’t been matched with a savvy product mix, sufficient incentives or marketing support, insiders say.
The Kona is set to hit the U.S. market in early 2018, nearly a decade after Nissan’s Juke breathed life into the subcompact crossover segment.
Hyundai plans to build just 200,000 Konas annually for the global market at its already crowded Ulsan plant in Korea. Only about 40,000 units will make it to the U.S., Hyundai Motor Corp. Vice Chairman Euisun Chung said at Kona’s debut. For Hyundai’s 835 U.S. dealers, that’s an average of four units a month.