By on April 22, 2020

South Korea moved swiftly to counter a coronavirus outbreak back in February, soon becoming a best-case example for other countries to follow. While domestic auto production was mildly hampered by the outbreak, and further impacted by supply chain issues originating in hard-hit China, output has barely flagged.

In the case of one popular compact crossover, perhaps Hyundai should have turned off the taps for a bit.

As reported by Reuters, too many units of the normally popular Tucson are piling up at U.S. ports, wallflowers in a nearly shuttered industry that’s only just now trying to get back on its feet.

Roaring out of the virus scare and anticipating normal overseas demand, Hyundai output in South Korea reached 98 percent of capacity in March, with the U.S. — a huge market for the automaker — receiving a greater than normal amount of vehicles last month. Shipments to the U.S. rose 4.3 percent, year over year, in March… just in time for lockdown measures in most U.S. states and the shuttering of dealer operations almost from coast to coast.

Suffice it to say there wasn’t a flood of buyers entering Hyundai showrooms in March, which explains why the healthy shipments of overseas-built models are clogging port facilities. As the brand’s best-selling model, the Tucson is over-represented in this slow-to-drain backlog, sources claim.

Hyundai has since idled its domestic Tucson line as it braces for an unhealthy first-quarter earnings report. April output in South Korea is expected to decline significantly as the company matches production with demand. However, last week’s assembly shutdown will do nothing for the glut of existing models U.S. dealerships don’t need.

“I hope that the situation will recover by the middle of next month. If not, we might have to lay off some people,” Brad Cannon, general manager of a California Hyundai dealership, told Reuters. The dealership’s sales are off 50 percent from pre-pandemic levels, he added.

Hyundai’s U.S. manufacturing sites are expected to get back to work in early May, though consumer demand moving forward is anyone’s guess. Most, if not all, automakers are readying for a bad sales year. On a brighter note, sometime later this year those same buyers will be able to take a peek at the next-generation Tucson, which arrives for 2021 with a new platform and less anonymous styling.

[Image: Hyundai]

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16 Comments on “Tale of Two Countries: U.S. Finds Itself With Oversupply of Hyundai Model...”

  • avatar

    Yep, they’re dealing on Tucsons…


    0% APR

    Financing for up to 84 months PLUS 120 days until 1st payment”

  • avatar

    Ugly, but a nice value. So…a typical Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar

      While a step backwards after the refresh, the pre-F/L Tucson was a relatively handsome bugger (about on par w/ the Mazda CX-5) and certainly better than the RAV-4, CR-V and Rogue.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    We’d be interested if they had put the 2.0T in them.

    Looking at possibly a Sportage SX or Escape with the 2.0T.

  • avatar

    Do these come from Korea with Monroney stickers showing a destination dealer? Or do they figure that stuff out when the vehicles reach the port of entry?

  • avatar

    Yup. The dealer I just bought my Veloster N from now has 0 Veloster Ns, 3 regular Velosters, and 98 Tucson’s. Their next closest inventory leader is the Sonata at 50.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Did they deal on the Veloster N? Inquiring minds with leases ending on their Fiesta ST want to know before buying out their lease?

      • 0 avatar

        Yes they did. I got it under invoice and they even removed the pinstripes and protection package that dealers are wont to tack onto these – physically removed the pinstripes and did not charge me for them, as I can’t stand pinstripes. There are also some rebates now. This is a good time to get one.

        I haven’t driven a Fiesta ST but I’m a former owner of a MK VI GTI and RSX Type-S and current owner of an E36 M3 and I love the car, so hopefully you would also!

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Yeah my issue on the ST is that I’ll have to be blown away. Purchase price is 12,500 and it is 2 years old with 14k miles meaning I’ll be right at 17,500 all in on the thing if I buy it.

          I’d like a “next level” type hot hatch like the Hyundai or the type R, but to go up that much in price I need my socks knocked off. The Type R probably won’t to it. I lived driving it, but it is ugly and over twice the price. The Hyundai at that price is compelling though. It’ll be that or some go fast goodies for the Fiesta. It doesn’t need much more, I’m just at that time in ownership. There is an N at my local dealer. Once my quarantine is up, I’ll go drive it.

  • avatar

    The Tucson is a rickety P.O.S. (Yes I have driven one). I don’t care about the “value”. The whole car shakes like an unbalanced washing machine every time I go over a bump in the road. Hyundai is the Samsung of the auto world.

    • 0 avatar

      Samsung? But, but my phone, it’s nice :(

    • 0 avatar

      So what does that make the RAV-4?

      MT comparison test.

      Tucson – Its ride and handling behavior is similarly inoffensive. “The Tucson took a set in turns quite predictably and generally exhibited little or no bad behavior,” technical director Frank Markus said.

      RAV-4 – The RAV4’s ride quality is BOTTOM of the pack, too, with lots of head toss, gut jiggle, and a fair amount of roll through corners. We expected better.

      And the RAV-4 is on Toyota’s latest platform, TNGA, whereas the Tucson won’t be getting Hyundai’s new platform until the next generation.

      MT also roasted the RAV-4 for its buzzy engine and rough shifting transmission.

      The RAV-4 didn’t fare much better in C/D’s comparison.

  • avatar

    I thought Samsung was good. I have their TVs and a ‘fridge. Tell me more about Samsung.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      They are fine. Solid hardware if you can live with there “love it or hate it” interface tweaks. I am a Pixel user so it stands to reason I hate their interface. But stock Android on their hardware would make for an excellent experience in my mind, as would be the case for LG devices.

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