By on November 4, 2019

Image: Hyundai

It wasn’t long ago that Hyundai, having rocketed out of the recession on the strength of efficient — and newly improved — product, canned its American CEO over declining sales and made Operation Crossover its primary focus.

The sales slump was almost entirely the product of American buyers’ cold-shouldering of traditional passenger cars, to which Hyundai brass saw a utility vehicle surge as the only remedy. Seems they were right, as Hyundai’s now sitting pretty — and there’s another crossover that’s yet to land.

Hyundai reported a year-over-year U.S. sales gain of 8 percent in October, with retail sales up 12 percent. Year to date, sales are up 3.3 percent. Not bad considering the stagnant market. It helps when you’ve got new product on display, and Hyundai has two it’s particularly pleased with: the redesigned Santa Fe, which replaces the former Santa Fe Sport, and the Palisade, a three-row model that replaced the Santa Fe (renamed the Santa Fe XL after the Santa Fe Sport’s replacement by the Santa Fe — no confusion here!).

Despite the fact that Hyundai grouped both models under one name in its sales tallies, the new, singular Santa Fe’s sales were up 42 percent in October. Add in the 4,357 units of Palisade sold last month, plus remaining stock of old models, and Hyundai’s midsize(ish) crossover sales last month topped any month from 2018 or 2017. Through October, the nameplate is up 10.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the Tucson, despite its advancing age and looming successor, came within 205 units of matching last October’s volume. Through the end of October, Tucson sales are off 2018’s tally by just 822 vehicles. That’s one steady ship.

Further down the ladder, the Kona — Hyundai’s first salvo in Operation Crossover — outpaced last October’s tally by 27 percent, selling nearly as many vehicles as the midsize Sonata sedan. Put another way, it sold more than the Accent and Ioniq combined, and the same goes for year-to-date volume (only more so). Cars just aren’t cutting it in the Hyundai stable; high-volume models like the Elantra and Sonata are down significantly since the start of the year, though niche models like the Ioniq and Veloster are still in the black.

Next to arrive is an A-segment crossover called the Venue, aimed squarely at urban Millennials who love tech and efficiency but can’t find many coins to rub together. Offered as a front-wheel-drive-only vehicle, the Venue should arrive at dealerships any day now.

[Images: Hyundai]

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11 Comments on “Thank Heaven for Little (and Large) Crossovers: Hyundai’s Recovery Continues Apace...”

  • avatar

    It also helps that Hyundai continues to build better and better vehicles which will distance it from the bad memories people have of early-2000s Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar

      Early 2000s Hyundai wasn’t really that bad. I still see those first-gen Santa Fes all the time. Their sales were climbing at that time too, they’ve only slowed down the past several years as their designs got way more bland.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    I have a 2017 Santa Fe XL – Limited. No problems at 29,000 thus far. The 3.3 motor is very peppy.

    Yea-there are some hard touch plastics where they should be soft. And the ride-tho acceptable-may be is not as refined as the competitors.

    I could have afforded any vehicle in the class-but bought the Hyundai.

    And saved $5,000.00 over the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I had owned a 2007 Tucson but when it was time to replace it we looked at Honda and Toyota first. Unfortunately it was 104 degrees that day and neither the RAV or CR-V’s AC could cool the car off. The Hyundai did without issue.

      Still, I feel like the 2007 was better built. Aside from the metal in the crankcase recall (no issues so far at 37k), I have to ozone it and sanitize the AC drain every 6-8 months lest it smell like something died in there and I have to routinely disassemble the cowl to fix the washer. Not huge issues and not worth the hassel of taking it to the dealer, but issues the 07 never had in over 150k of use.

  • avatar

    Looking back automotive historians will wonder how governments that mandated every manner of safety device could have let these view blocking mastodons onto roads filled with cars. They’re a hazard to other drivers, to pedestrians and to the environment.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Roads aren’t filled with cars…they are filled with vehicles similar to this. Perhaps you would rather people motor around in Duesenbergs or Pre war Buicks?

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT


    I’m sure “whatnext” can’t afford one anyway…….

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