By on July 6, 2017

2017 Hyundai Azera - Image: HyundaiIn 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.

2006 Hyundai Azera - Image: HyundaiHyundai, 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.2003 Hyundai XG350 - Image: HyundaiThe 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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27 Comments on “It’s Official: The Hyundai Azera Is Dead After 2017 – Genesis Knocked It Down, SUVs Kicked It...”

  • avatar

    The Azera is one of those cars that gets shoved into the back of the lot and has little if no advertising dollars or presence. Most dealers have a few to chose from.

    Its a good looking car but I would never ever buy one new. They tank like a rock chained to a concrete block in the water. Buy a slightly used one. Same with the Kia Cadenza. The Kia is the better looker by far.

    The Azera wont be missed by many.

    • 0 avatar

      The current Cadenza is a tastefully restrained and classy design, IMO. Remove the badges and nobody would ever guess that it’s a Kia, inside and out. Shame it doesn’t get more attention in the marketplace.

  • avatar

    Nonluxury full-size cars are definitely on death watch.

    The Maxima, LaCrosse, and Charger (assuming Dodge/FCA stick around) are the only ones I see surviving the next 5 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’d replace the Maxima with the Impala. And the Avalon definitely deserves to be on that list.

      • 0 avatar

        Maxima actually had its’ best year since the mid-aughts in 2016. And as long as the Avalon shares a platform with the Lexus ES, I don’t see that one going away either.

        The one I wonder about is VW CC, but apparently we’re getting a new one.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think the Impala and Avalon will still be on sale in 2023.

        The Impala doesn’t have Chinese sales for it’s continued existence and the Avalon is going to get squeezed out by the more upmarket Camry below and the ES above.

        • 0 avatar

          I think the Maxima shows the way forward in this segment – style ’em up so there’s some differentiation from the midsize models, toss in some lux features, give ’em some power and (a little) performance cred, and they’ll sell. There’s a contingent of late-boomer buyers who would like a good-performing sedan, but can’t really afford something like a BMW, and have zero interest in trucks and SUVs. A “touring sedan” priced around $35,000 appeals to me.

          Impala might not be on sale in China, but its’ platform-mates (LaCrosse, XTS) are. Plus, I have a feeling it may end up being pressed into cop-car duty (Caprice is dead, and Taurus is going away). I’d say it stands a decent chance of continuing.

          And I’d say the Charger/300 is also a dead man walking.

          • 0 avatar

            I agree with your general point, but I the hope styling is better than Maxima.

            I disagree on LX though, save an FCA sale or bankruptcy, it is the new Panther.

          • 0 avatar

            “A “touring sedan” priced around $35,000 appeals to me.”

            Me too, but we are a vanishing market. Most people are happy with 1.5L egg-shaped pods and the ones that aren’t prefer large trucks, pony cars, or prestige badges.

            I don’t think a 9C1 will save the Impala. Look at Caprice, Charger Pursuit, and Taurus Interceptor sales. Police departments are going to CUVs almost as fast as the general public.

            A fleet-focused low-profit large sedan doesn’t seem to mesh with GM’s current management strategy. Plus the CAFE monster is still looming. Why blow your corp avg on a bunch of 22MPG rental cars?

            I think the Charger lives on as long as the Dodge brand survives. I’m less sure on the 300.

          • 0 avatar

            Is this market really “dying”? I dunno, ajla, look at the current sales of cars in this class – specifically, Maxima, Avalon, Lexus ES. They’re down a touch, but they’re still selling. Ditto for Chargers/300s.

            It’s a smaller slice of the market, but it’s still one worth pursuing, if you have the right product.

            And I think if GM could sell a bunch of Impalas to police departments, they would. Given the current political climate, I see local budgets becoming tighter. Plenty of them won’t want to spend more money on an Explorer or Tahoe if they don’t have to.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a new maxima rental.
        test drive it first before buying.
        Real thick ‘A’ pillar and it’s steeply angled and thereby greatly exaggerates the thickness.

        Rest of the car is fine but not my favorite. 300C is the king in my book.

        • 0 avatar

          @Freedmike- agreed. I don’t see the Avalon or LX cars going anywhere. They do still bring in pretty decent sales. The non-luxury full size sedan market is dying, but is far from dead.

  • avatar

    I leased a Hyundai Genesis in 2016. After all sorts of discounts including: Lexus trade-in, military, and holiday cash, the Genesis cost about the same as the Azera.

    • 0 avatar

      Hyundai never put any effort into selling the Azera. Poor leases and little cash on the hood.

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged Miata Man

        I agree about the lack of marketing and incentives for the Azera. FWIW, Kia seems to have finally realized that competitive lease options will help move at least a few more Cadenzas out the door.

  • avatar

    The segment is definitely on a death watch. I predict the Ford Taurus as the next casualty.

    I think the Avalon and Impala will stick around for a while too. Assuming the Taurus is killed, the Impala would likely be the biggest beneficiary (at least for fleet sales) as there are a lot of police departments that want FWD.

    Even in the luxury market, the Jaguar XJ almost wasn’t green light for the next generation.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford Taurus already is on the casualty list. It is not slated to continue in the US.

      And the Azera is/was just too close to several other cars in the KIA/Hyundai fleet, so it kind of just got lost in the shuffle.

  • avatar

    I think Hyundai is generally struggling for an identity. None of their sedans can sell on merit vs. Toyota and Honda. Reliability is just not the same and people know it. It doesn’t matter that they give you a long warranty when you have to fight with the dealers to get it fixed. Their SUVs look good but again not leading like the Jeeps or Highlanders or Pilots or even Fords. The best way forward would be to combine with Kia and sell under that brand while Hyundai should be the premium Genesis only seller.

    • 0 avatar

      I think a fair number of people have the impression that Hyundais are kind of approaching parity with Honda and Toyota, but Kias are somewhere below in quality/image. You might possibly talk my wife, for instance, into driving a Hyundai, but I don’t think you could sell her a Kia. Not that the Hyundai name brings to mind a prestige brand, but Kia to a lot of people screams cheap rental / we finance anyone material.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you on the warranty thing. I have heard enough anecdotal reports of folks having to struggle to get their warranty honored to the point where Hyundai’s vaunted coverage has seen some shine wear off. Hyundai, in my opinion, should have been very careful to not only promote the warranty, but to make it fairly painless for people to cash in on it. Once the perception is created that it’s a house of cards, hard to recover.

      I think Hyundai missed a window of opportunity with small pickups. Nissan let the Frontier languish, Ford pulled the Ranger, no “Mazda” pickups anymore, etc. I think there is a niche below the size and capability of the current Colorado that is unfilled in the US. If Hyundai could have struck with something along the lines of the Dodge 700, Chevy Tornado, VW Saviero, I think they could have been successful with that. Basically, I think there is a market for a next-size-down Ridgeline in the USA. A CR-V pickupy thing. Update on the Subaru Baja with a touch more rear legroom and a small turbo engine.

      Kia busted the market open with the Soul. Hyundai could do the same thing with a mini Ridgeline. I seem to remember them working on a nontraditional truck thing, but it should have been executed 4 or 5 years ago.

  • avatar

    My father in law recently bought one. It wasn’t bad actually, but aside from the same cheap infotainment unit the 1st gen Genesis feels like it costs 2-3x the price. Thankfully he bought it used, but even still, you can get a decent facelifted first gen Genesis for peanuts.

  • avatar

    The XG300/350 seems to have totally vanished off the roads in my area. You used to see a fair number of them. Same with the first Azeras, which really wouldn’t be that old now. Saw them regularly for a while, now gone locally.

  • avatar

    I saw an EQUUS yesterday on the highway… what a rare, strangely named bird that thing is.
    Not wanting to “profile”, but the driver looked like a BHPH client…

    Then it occurred to me that instead of the first-generation Pacifica, Celine Dion really ought to have been promoting these.

  • avatar

    I know I’m a crowd of one on this, but I really liked the first-gen (’06) Azera. I drove it and I thought it was a revelation. It wallowed in corners, but otherwise it was quick, quiet, comfortable, good-looking, roomy as a gymnasium and priced right. I came thisclose to buying one.

    I sat in a current-gen Azera at an auto show. An obtrusive headrest was a deal-breaker for me, but I was really impressed at the further upgrade of the interior materials. I’ve read it steers and handles more awkwardly than its cousin the Cadenza, but the truth is most buyers in this class would hardly notice the difference. It’s also worth mentioning that the new LaCrosse looks very, very suspiciously similar in profile to the current Azera. Google up the photos and see for yourself.

    To me, this is just another symptom, like the death of middlebrow department stores and supermarkets, of the death of the middle class itself. I’ll miss the car as much as I miss the mass prosperity that used to support this category of sedan.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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).

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