It's Official: The Hyundai Azera Is Dead After 2017 - Genesis Knocked It Down, SUVs Kicked It

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

In a release yesterday detailing the company’s 2018 lineup, Hyundai confirmed that U.S. market availability of the Hyundai Azera will be discontinued.

But have no fear, dear lover of affordable large sedans. The 2017 Hyundai Azera is not yet thin on the ground.

Roughly 1,000 Azeras are currently sitting on dealer lots across the United States, enough — at the Azera’s recent sales pace — to last until mid-fall.

The Azera doesn’t deserve to meet such a tragic end, but its demise is one we knew about long before Hyundai’s official announcement on July 5, 2017. U.S. sales plunged 82 percent over the last decade.

Hyundai, meanwhile, forced the Canadian end of the Azera at the end of the previous generation’s run in 2009, coinciding with the launch of the first-generation Hyundai Genesis sedan. Canadian sales had fallen by nearly two-thirds between 2006 and 2008.

Known in a handful of other markets as the Hyundai Grandeur, the Azera and its predecessors were certainly not short on delusions of grandeur. But it wasn’t until the third-generation car, known initially in North America as the XG300 (and then XG350) that Hyundai Motor America attempted to carve out a premium image on this side of the Pacific.

The fourth-generation car, and the first known as the Azera, was a major leap forward in terms of power, refinement, and design, though it was guilty of being indistinguishable from the concurrent Sonata.

Far more expressive styling appeared in 2012 on the fifth-generation car, the third to make it to America. But the Azera’s positioning was already confused by the appearance of Hyundai’s rear-wheel-drive luxury car, the Genesis. The Genesis wasn’t worryingly more costly than the front-wheel-drive, Avalon-rivalling Azera, which was roughly $33,000 in 2012.

2013 sales of the Azera rose to a five-year high of 11,221 units, but that was well below the total achieved in 2008, when the economy began to tank, and less than half the Azera’s 2007 achievement.

The Azera’s situation only became more challenging as the current model aged, with sales sliding 36 percent in its second full year, 23 percent in 2015, and 11 percent in 2016. This slide came after former Hyundai Motor America boss and then sales chief, Dave Zuchowski, said the new Azera could sell between 18,000 to 20,000 copies per year. It didn’t.

Not helping matters was the arrival of a platform-mate, the Kia Cadenza, which sold 24-percent more often than the Azera over the last three and a half years.

Yet the Kia Cadenza, like the Hyundai Azera and numerous other full-size, volume-brand cars, hold scarcely any attraction to the crossover-buying masses in 2017. Year-over-year, segment-wide sales are down 18 percent thanks to harsh declines from the Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon, and yes, the Hyundai Azera.

The 2017 Hyundai Azera is powered by a 293-horsepower 3.3-liter V6. Pricing starts at $34,100, but the Azera Limited is priced from $39,300. Top-spec Limiteds make up the lion’s share of current Azera inventory. Nearly one-fifth of Hyundai’s U.S. Azera stock is priced above $40,000 according to inventory.

The Genesis G80, formerly known as a Hyundai Genesis, starts at $42,725 with fees. Year-to-date, the G80 has outsold the Azera by more than four to one.

[Images: Hyundai]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • Dilrod Dilrod on Jul 06, 2017

    Azera, we hardly knew ye. I go to the Hyundai dealer every couple of months, I rarely saw one in the lot, and never in the showroom. My wife had a 2003 XG350 in Desert Sand, the same as the one in the picture, except with rust and dents. It was over 200k in mileage and we put on another 30k, until we sold it due to a disturbing sound coming from the transmission. The interior was really nice! It opened my eyes to leather and gizmos after years of driving the lowest trim lines I could find. I couldn't afford an Azera, so I settled for a Sonata Limited. Close enough.

  • Bd2 Bd2 on Jul 06, 2017

    Bit of a shame as the new Grandeur fixes many of the issues that made the Azera less compelling within its segment (#1 being having not much more rear passenger room than the Sonata and hence, significantly less than the Avalon). Not offering a lower-priced base model and bringing over the hybrid also didn't help. But just as well, as Hyundai would be better served by offering a proper full-size crossover in lieu of the Azera. Maybe the demise of the Azera will result in the Cadenza seeing a rise in sales (the Cadenza being a much better all around vehicle than the Azera).

  • Varezhka And why exactly was it that Tesla decided not to coat their stainless steel bodies, again? My old steel capped Volant skis still looks clean without a rust in sight thanks to that metal vapor coating. It's not exactly a new technology.
  • GIJOOOE “Sounds” about as exciting as driving a golf cart, fake gear shifts or not. I truly hope that Dodge and the other big American car makers pull their heads out of the electric clouds and continue to offer performance cars with big horsepower internal combustion engines that require some form of multi gear transmissions and high octane fuel, even if they have to make them in relatively small quantities and market them specifically to gearheads like me. I will resist the ev future for as long as I have breath in my lungs and an excellent credit score/big bank account. People like me, who have loved fast cars for as long as I can remember, need a car that has an engine that sounds properly pissed off when I hit the gas pedal and accelerate through the gears.
  • Kcflyer libs have been subsidizing college for decades. The predictable result is soaring cost of college and dramatic increases in useless degrees. Their solution? More subsidies of course. EV policy will follow the same failed logic. Because it's not like it's their money. Not saying the republicans are any better, they talk a good game but spend like drunken sailors to buy votes just like the libs. The sole function of the U.S. government is to take money from people who earn it and give it away to people who didn't.
  • CecilSaxon Sounds about as smart as VW's "SoundAktor"
  • Inside Looking Out Does Cybeertruck use the same stainless steel as Starship?