By on August 4, 2014

Hyundai-Veloster-Turbo-01-443x350

In an interview with Edmunds, Hyundai CEO Dave Zuchowski spoke of a new vehicle that

“would be a vehicle that would be really designed for Gen Y, for new first-time younger buyers…Think of maybe something that looks like a Juke or something that has edgy, dynamic styling.”

Doesn’t Hyundai already have something like that?

The Veloster, launched in 2012, was intended to be the vehicle that attracted a younger crowd, with funky styling, a focus on fuel economy and neat tech features. Sales of the Veloster have been modest, with Hyundai moving about 30,000 units annually.

The bigger issue at hand is whether Hyundai wants to have two vehicles targeting Gen Y remaining in the lineup, and if 30,000 units is enough to sustain the Veloster’s lifespan into the next-generation. For one thing, the coupe market is shrinking, whereas the crossover market is only growing. A new, Gen Y oriented crossover is also a product that could easily be sold globally, whereas a pseudo-coupe like the Veloster is very much a niche product.

If I were a betting man, I’d look for the Veloster to die come 2016, and be replaced by this new, youth-oriented small CUV. The finite marketing dollars that are at Hyundai’s disposal would arguably be better spent on the CUV, rather than trying to market both cars and have their volumes split in half. One is playing in a growing segment. Soon, the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V and others will join what is now the most popular segment in America. The fortunes of the coupe market are much less promising.

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41 Comments on “Will Hyundai’s New Crossover Spell The Veloster’s End?...”


  • avatar
    DeeDub

    Automakers think CUVs are the answer to everything. How do they not see that the kiddies don’t want to drive mom’s not-a-minivan?

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      The mom-mobile is the Tucson or Santa Fe. The baby crossover will be the kiddie car.

      Like it or not, it’s a good business move. As regular crossovers have taken over the market from full-sized and mid-sized station wagons, small crossovers have the potential to eat into the market for small hatchbacks in the same way… by providing more psychological height and space for just a little more money.

      After a go in the Ford EcoSport, I can see such a segment booming in the near future. Obviously it drives nowhere near as well as the Fiesta, but the extra space, height and ease of use (parking, traffic navigation, kerbing) are sure to appeal to casual buyers more.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    So this will probably replace the Tucson, too, right?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Just Sophie’s Choice it already.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I have never seen a Veloster not being driven by someone very annoying, in an annoying way. Due to this, I cannot wait for it to go away.

    It’s also ugly (as though someone stepped on it) and cheap looking. I don’t even consider it a “coupe,” just like I didn’t consider the CRX a coupe. It’s an econo hatchback. A perfect car for women who take 5 attempts to park it in an average-sized space.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Don’t hate on it to much Corey, whatever replaces it will be far, far worse. I’m reminded of something Kevin Smith once said: “In Hollywood, you fail upwards”. I think the same applies in this case.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I would generally agree, especially if he wants to emulate the Juke in their next offering. I consider that idea, and get a look on my face which could be described as BLEGHHH.

      • 0 avatar

        Whenever you go too radical, the result is usually ugly and will not stay cool for long, specially in the American market.
        See, in 1989, Toyota came up with a conservative design LS while Nissan came up with a radical Q45, the LS was much more popular, same as Ford loosing the market with the radical 1996 Taurus. Also, see the difference between a 2011 Sonata to the 2015.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          The world and markets exist in true states of illogical ways much of the time.

          The 2010 and up Ford Taurus is one of Ford’s best vehicles IMO, as it gives those of us in the snow belt (who would rather not have to swap tires/wheels every fall) front wheel drive, while now think g the attributes of a traditional large car’ which are, solidity, quietness, good ride comfort, effortless cruising ability (even if it’s not Chrysler 300 or Chevy Impala “large” inside).

          Yet, it has sold in nearly small sports coupe like low volume annually.

          The Mazda 6 is another great example of illogical consumerism at work; it’s as good as the CamCords (better, in many respects), being extremely reliable, having great fit/finish, having much better interior and exterior styling, being much more fun to drive than the 4 banger competition, and being available with a manual for the 2%ers, yet 10 Camrys or Accords are sold for every 6.

          And in general, there are so many people who could buy a nee or used vehicle that’s better in almost every way than the one they ultimately do, and at 2/3rds to 1/2 the price. This is particularly true of some (or many) people who buy CUVs or SUVs, when a sedan or hatchback would be a better choice (or at least as good as one), because of some incredibly over-emphasized desire to “sit up high,” etc.

          These things are what makes a market, yet illogical nonetheless.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Ha! So true. Unfortunately 28 Cars Later is right. Just because they will be higher up doesn’t mean they’ll drive better. If anything they’ll become even more aggressive. Nissan Pukes tend to be driven by idiots too, as do Rogues.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Superdessucke ,
        Can you give me a list of what the non idiots drive, painting everyone with the same brush kinda sucks, don’t you think?

        Ha! So true. Unfortunately 28 Cars Later is right. Just because they will be higher up doesn’t mean they’ll drive better. If anything they’ll become even more aggressive. Nissan Pukes tend to be driven by idiots too, as do Rogues.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      @CoreyDL

      I would have to agree, 100%. Only DB’s seem to drive Velosters. If I were in the market for a vehicle that size (say, 6-8 years ago) I’d have snatched a Veloster right up. It has the up-side of the huge driver’s side door, but also has the ease of access for passengers. That you can get one loaded for 23-24k doesn’t hurt.

    • 0 avatar
      DrGastro997

      Totally agreed, Corey. I see a few of these things around here in Chicago, and yes, those drivers either believe they’re operating an exotic or the looks of the car makes it look like it’s being operated like an idiot. Then there’s that “Turbo” badge…I can swear it came from a 911 because it’s the same design, just a bit dinky on size. Hyundai is trying too much too fast.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    “Youth Market.” Yeah right. Someone needs to tell Hyundai that they sell the Korean equivalent of Toyotas.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Toyota hath become GM as Hyundai slowly becomes Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        If any brand is going to be able to sell stuff well to young people, it’s probably going to be Kia and not Hyundai…

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          ” If any brand is going to be able to sell stuff well to young people, it’s probably going to be Kia and not Hyundai…”

          Do people really see a difference between the two? I’ve always looked at them as a less differentiated Ford/Mercury, without one being obviously premium.

          Anyways, I know one person who drives a Veloster; my neighbor’s overweight daughter’s overweight boyfriend, who looks EXACTLY like the Simpson’s Comic Book Guy.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            “Worst Comparison Ever.”

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Yeah, there’s definitely an image difference, that’s why I was surprised to see the Veloster come out as a Hyundai, it would probably have done better as a Kia.

            The two actually share less than Ford and Mercury did, those were ultimately all Fords. Kia and Hyundai share platforms and engines, but use different interior components and suspensions (not to mention suspension tuning). Kia doesn’t even have BlueLink, they use something completely different for infotainment.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            I’ll give you that the Ford/Mercury comparison isn’t fair because H/K doesn’t make rebadges, but in terms of image, one’s a cut-rate Korean economy car that also makes a K9000 that barely sells, and the other…is a cut-rate Korean economy car and also makes a Genesis/Equus that barely sells.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    No Hyundai dealers within 90 miles of here but there are two or three Velosters in the area that were sold from the used lot of the GMC/Buick dealer. As other posters have said it does appeal to the backwards baseball cap crowd, unlike Scion I haven’t seen any old people driving a Veloster.

    • 0 avatar
      TheyBeRollin

      Not out here. Old people drive Velosters. I haven’t figured out why, but they’re sort of like the Scion xB in that regard (nowhere near as popular as the xB, but far more young people drove them than do these). It sounds like Hyundai is simply accepting reality and going for the more upright seating that their stiff arthritic customers are asking for.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I thought this sounded like a new CUV based on the Veloster, much as the Juke is based on the Versa. They might even keep the Veloster around to further amortize the platform. As CUV sales are growing the new vehicle should be the sales draw and keeping the Veloster as a niche offering costs nothing unless/until the coupelet’s sales drop precipitously.

    I’m thinking a CUV version would necessarily have a more normal-looking greenhouse with four real doors and probably 5 seats. It couldn’t possibly be worse than the Veloster.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I talked a coworker and member of Gen Y into buying a Veloster Turbo (who 10 years ago would have probably spit on me for suggesting a Japanese, let alone Korean, car). I’ve ridden in it and driven it and it’s a fine car. The interior is pretty nice for the class. I’d consider one for daily commuting duty if it weren’t priced so close to cars that will have better resale value and which will out-perform it.
    But I am certain that what we all need are more CUV choices.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      The Veloster is (was?) an interesting vehicle, about the nearest thing sold today that mimics my wife’s Volvo C30. Thus it would be a shame to see it go away and be replaced by another “me too” CUV that is artificially raised off the ground just to make people feel safe driving it.

      • 0 avatar
        Charliej

        There are other advantages to being higher for some people. Take me, I am an old sports car guy. But age has taken me out of the sports car buying group. A taller vehicle is easier to get into and out of. Also, down here in Mexico, there are tall speed bumps. A normal car will drag on them every time you cross one. My next vehicle will likely be a Honda CRV, used of course. When you are young, enjoy life all that you can. Things get harder when you enter your seventh decade. The bad part is that your brain still thinks that you are 18. Your body has to tell you the truth.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Derek,
    Somewhat off topic but is 30K in sales consider bad, if so what is consider good?

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I had a NA Veloster for a week as a rental for work. Visibility was worse than I expected (and I went in with low expectations). The worst part, though, was the dual clutch and 1.6L combo. Lifeless would probably be the best way to describe it. Terrible throttle response, didn’t want to downshift unless in manual mode – which made manual mode a necessity for normal back and forth commuting, and an extremely narrow powerband. The asymmetric door setup was also terrible. It felt like a tiny, terrible cave. It is one of those cars that looks like it might be a fun little ride on paper, but in their chase of low price or fuel economy or something, you find it really lacking.

    • 0 avatar
      Occam

      I too just got done with a Veloster for a week rental for work. I was very pleasantly surprised by it. The legroom and foot space was phenomenal, and unlike so many new cars, I was able to get the seat low enough for comfort (I like a legs-out seating position). I was also surprised at how quiet it was, and thought the infotainment system was very well done.

      On the downside, it was a DCT instead of a manual, but I kept it in manual mode most of the time anyway. In D, it tended to be very conservative, keeping the revs as low as possible in the interest of fuel economy. “Sport” would keep the revs a bit higher. There does seem to be a flaw in the dual-clutch’s programming – when decelerating and suddenly adding throttle, say slowing on a metered onramp and then gunning it as soon as the light turns green to merge into traffic, the transmission was caught with its pants down trying to find the right gear. Running in manual mode, the throttle response felt basically like a manual, which was a real treat compared to the disconnected feeling in most automatics, even those with a manual mode.

      The suspension felt a bit jittery on hard corners with pavement imperfections – I blame the twist beam axle. Overall, I found the car much more enjoyable than the Mazda3, and about on part with the Focus I’ve received as rental cars in the recent past.

      I told my wife it was the perfect car for us. I hate having the pillar next to my head in four door cars, she hates the compromised rear seat access in a four door. It made me want to go check out one of the Veloster GTs.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is a smart move. The Veloster is dull as hell to drive and a sorry excuse for even a room temperature hatch. By making it an SUV they can lower dynamic expectations to what they can manage. When Hyundai either figures out how to make a mainstreamer enjoyable to drive to any degree, or throws in the towel and hires a company that does, they will go from “OK” to “legitimately good”.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Are they really talking about designing a new subcompact crossover for the US, or are they just bringing us the new ix25 crossover they just debuted this year?

    http://indianautosblog.com/2014/07/hyundai-ix25-production-model-spied-135523

  • avatar
    Lemmiwinks

    People hating on the Juke have likely never driven a Nismo M/T. As far as looks go, taste is subjective… I find “traditional” designs to be boring. Besides, the Juke cleans up nicely in Nismo guise. Seriously, when viewed in person from 3/4ths and being truly honest with one’s self, it’s hard to not really appreciate its lines.

    When I bought last year, the choice was literally down to Juke Nismo and Veloster Turbo. I like their looks equally. And the Veloster had a lot more tech and features for the money. But when you mashed the go-pedal down on the Hyundai, it just didn’t have the grunt and oomph that the Nissan delivered. And cornering in the Nismo just felt much better composed than in the Turbo… an odd feeling from what is a considerably taller vehicle. Everything from the engine, transmission, suspension, seats, you name it just make the Nissan feel very much like a driver’s car. I just wish they didn’t skimp so much on the tech and a few interior material choices. (Only one dome light for the entire vehicle seems like letting the accountants take a bit too much away.)

    So please, continue hating. Call it a “Puke” (zomg sooo funny). Don’t buy it. Plenty of other people have and will. I’m so glad that enough manufacturers are putting out powerful, fun to drive, and aesthetically daring vehicles for under $30K so that folks like myself have several choices in the market.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’ve never seen a Nismo’d Juke, but FWIW the handful of conventional Jukes I have seen are driven by fat middle aged women. I imagine the Nismo version drives well so I’ll give the folks at Nissan props for bringing one to market.

      • 0 avatar
        Lemmiwinks

        It is worth a spin. And a gander. The ground effects, side sills, spoilers, intake, running lights, exhaust, wheels, and intake do a lot to clean up the high-waisted SUV-looking gawkishness of the other trims. I don’t much care for it in white, but in silver or black, it’s downright sexy. The seats are likely the best in class… I just wish they came in leather(ette).

        I too have seen some Jukes with larger folks at the helm. And I find it kinda surprising, because it is not a large car. I’m over 6 feet and broad-shouldered… I couldn’t imagine making it a daily driver if I were pushing 300 lbs.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    Considering that the Veloster is little more than a re-body of the Accent and has been a beta tester for their DCT and 1.6 turbo I’d say it makes sense to keep it around. The bulk of development is covered by the Accent and it wouldn’t take a lot of cosmetic updates to keep the Veloster serving its purpose for years to come.

    I definitely understand them getting in on the CUV craze but not necessarily at the demise of the Veloster.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I always thought of the Veloster as a replacement for the Tiburon. An entry level coupe to compete with the Civic and Tc. I think the older demographic that buys them likes the 3rd door for groceries or the occasional passenger.


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