Hyundai hopes bigger, revamped Santa Fe SUV will reverse U.S. sales slump

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is seen on a news conference for the 2012 L . a . Auto Show in Are generally, California November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

SEOUL (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor <005380.KS> unveiled on Tuesday a re-designed Santa Fe, hoping the initial makeover on the suv (SUV) in six years will assist rectify a sales slowdown on the South Korean automaker, especially in the key U.S. market.

The revamped sort of its top-selling SUV in america and South Korea comes with a longer, more voluminous body than its predecessor while boasting advanced security measures for example warnings on approaching objects in the rear whenever a car stops.

The two-row, five-seater SUV was unveiled to South Korean media at the “preview” event, before its official launch in February in your own home market.

While Hyundai didn\’t disclose other details, a source said the model has an 2.0-liter as well as a 2.2-liter diesel engine, a very fuel-efficient eight-speed transmission and semi-autonomous driving features utilised in its Genesis premium sedans.

“The new Santa Fe will certainly be a bread and butter model for folks in 2010,” the Hyundai insider told Reuters on condition of anonymity since he\’s not authorized to talk with the media.

“Now we have high desires the model,” he explained. Hyundai Motor declined to comment.

Hyundai Motor reported a couple weeks ago its worst annual earnings in seven years, battered by its delayed respond to the burgeoning SUV market as well as a diplomatic row with China.

A firmer local currency also boosts the woes from the automaker, as it would be eating into its profits repatriated from overseas and hurts the cost competitiveness from the exports in the United States along with markets.

“The mission from the Santa Fe is to recover Hyundai’s U.S. market share. It posesses a big burden on its shoulder,” said Ko Tae-bong, a senior auto analyst at Hi Investment & Securities. The U.S. sales on the aging Santa Fe climbed 1.Five percent last year even while U.S. industry SUV and truck sales rose 4 %.

The model, expected while in the U.S. market from the third quarter of your year, is going to be also “step to recovering making use rate of Hyundai’s factory in Alabama”, Ko said.

Hyundai’s U.S. sales fell 12 % last year, defining it as the worst performer among automakers in the market, hit with the conservative variety of the Sonata plus the Elantra sedans along with an lack of a broadbased SUV line-up.

Hyundai, that has three SUV models – Kona, Tucson and Santa Fe – claims it may well diversify its SUV line-up by launching a mini-SUV as well as a large SUV.

Hyundai Motor shares finished up 0.97 percent while in the wider market <.KS11> which sank 1.17 percent on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Louise Heavens)

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