The New 2018 Hyundai Accent Kills America's Accent Hatchback
Revealed in Canada earlier this year, the fifth-generation 2018 Hyundai Accent will not be offered in the United States in hatchback form.
In formally announcing the discontinuation of the Hyundai Azera in the company’s product lineup release yesterday, Hyundai also provided a level of detail regarding the 2018 Accent. Standard is a five-inch touchscreen; a seven-inch screen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay is available. In a first for subcompacts, Hyundai’s Smart Trunk Release will have you waving your toes at the Accent’s bumper.
But in surprisingly harsh language from its own maker, Hyundai says the Accent’s “hatchback body style has been dropped.”
Like a client who doesn’t pay. Dropped. Like a walk-on who couldn’t crack a roster full of future NBAers. Dropped. Like an unnecessary subcompact bodystyle in a subcompact market that’s down 19 percent so far this year.
America, say goodbye to the Hyundai Accent Hatchback — a part of the Accent lineup since Hyundai Motor America introduced the model in 1995.
During the first three iterations, America’s Accent variants were limited to two passenger doors. With the dawn of the current, fourth-generation Hyundai Accent for the 2012 model year, Hyundai switched it up, offering the sedan alongside a four-door hatchback.
Although Hyundai Canada has promised to continue providing Accent hatchbacks with the new generation, Hyundai Motor America indicated to some outlets at the 2018 model’s Toronto debut last February that the Accent hatchback wasn’t a likely U.S.-bound car. Confirmation was hard to come by, with Hyundai spokespeople telling TTAC that we should stay tuned.
Tuned in we remained, and Hyundai’s own admission is now unmistakable.
With a hatchback helping out, 2016 was the best year for U.S. sales of the Accent in the model’s history. Volume jumped to 79,766 units, 47-percent beyond its annual average from the decade prior. Among subcompacts, only the significantly more popular Nissan Versa (Note included) outsold the Accent, which earned 17 percent of the segment in America last year.
Hyundai doesn’t break down Accent sales by bodystyle, but roughly 40 percent of Versa sales are Note-derived.
That’s not a small market for Hyundai to walk away from, but it is a shrinking one. Taking the place of the Accent Hatchback in Hyundai’s lineup will be the new Kona crossover, an all-new model in the small but growing subcompact crossover segment.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.
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Bizarre choice. All of the current-model Accents I see are hatchbacks. I wasn't even sure they offered the sedan here anymore. Not sure why compact car makers are choosing sedans over hatches, as the latter seems more popular. Same issue with the Mazda2/Toyota iA. They make a hatch version, but they choose to only sell the inferior sedan here.
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