Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Sonatas moving fast despite limited run



Hyundai is selling the redesigned 2011 Sonata about as quickly as it can ship them.
The first units began arriving at dealerships around Feb. 12, and Hyundai said it has sold more than 1,000 of the Montgomery-made sedans already. While the cars are shipping and have reached most U.S. dealerships, they are available only in limited numbers at many dealers.

Jim Trainor, a spokesman for Hyundai Motor America, said the car is being well received by customers when it arrives at showrooms.

"The reception has been really great," he said. "I have heard stories of dealers selling them as quickly as they get them."

That was the case the first weekend at Capitol Hyundai in Montgomery.

Stan Hurst, the dealership's general manager, said the first handful of cars sold within hours of arriving. He expects it to be several weeks before his dealership has enough supply to meet immediate demand.

He said customers sought the vehicles immediately following the Feb. 7 Super Bowl, which featured several advertisements for the car.

"That certainly sparked some interest," he said.

The first vehicles arrived a few days later and were gone within hours.

Hurst said the selection of vehicles is improving slowly, but the SE trim level remains hard to get.

"That is a really special vehicle," he said.

Hurst said the dealership still has 2010 models available, and he predicted those will appeal to some buyers.

"There is always somebody looking for a bargain," he said. The older Sonatas feature heavy dealer incentives, Hurst said.

Hurst admitted the Sonata gets extra attention from customers in Montgomery because it is made at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.

"Folks in Montgomery take a lot of pride in the fact that their friends, neighbors and fellow church members build that car," he said.

Trainor said most of the information he receives from dealerships is anecdotal at this point, but he said it's not just area buyers that seem taken with the Sonata.

Hyundai launched the vehicle to the automotive media last week with a ride-and-drive event in California.

"So far, it has gotten really great reviews," he said of the Sonata.

Hurst expects upcoming modifications to the Sonata to keep interest high.

Hyundai expects to launch a turbo version and a hybrid version later this year. Those vehicles will appeal to specific parts of the customer base, Hurst said.

"Some people always want a little more horsepower," he said. "This car has plenty of horsepower, but somebody always wants more."

The hybrid model should attract its share of buyers as well, he predicted.

"A lot of people have been waiting for Hyundai's first hybrid," he said.

source: montgomeryadvertiser