INTERNATIONAL –- Hyundai Motor on Tuesday began South Korean sales of its Palisade large sports utility vehicle (SUV), a model it hopes will spearhead a sales recovery in the United States when launched in its major overseas market next year.
Consumer preferences have shifted rapidly to SUVs in recent years, impacting Hyundai with its sedan-heavy line-up. The automaker has since introduced new SUVs, including a redesigned Santa Fe this year, but its US sales still fell 1.6 percent in January-November in a near flat market.
Weak sales in the US and China has left Hyundai bracing for a fifth consecutive year of annual profit decline.
In South Korea, the Palisade’s price starts at 36.22 million won ($32 224.20), slightly higher than the smaller Santa Fe.
“I think it will sell well in Korea because of its price competitiveness, though the model could cannibalize sales of the Santa Fe,” said auto analyst Sean Kim at Dongbu Securities.