By on May 24, 2022

The Hyundai Sonata, the venerable mid-sized sedan from South Korea, may be nearing the end of its production run soon.

Citing lackluster sales, a polarizing design, and a commitment to producing more EVs, South Korean automaker Hyundai is reportedly on the verge of pulling the plug on its 37-year-old sedan which has seen more than 9 million units sold worldwide.

From a peak in 2014 at 216,936 units sold in the U.S., Sonata only found 83,434 American buyers in 2021.

The ninth iteration of the famed mid-sized sedan was predicted to arrive for the 2025 model year, but automotive industry sources indicate that Hyundai will be axing its’ venerable sedan in favor of smaller, more EV-focused vehicles moving forward.

Hyundai is already ramping down production of the sedan, with its assembly lines being converted to use for producing EVs, according to reports, and plans to become an electric-only vehicle producer by 2040.

According to Chosun Ilbo, an ‘inside source’ is quoted as saying “We can’t rule out an electric Sonata, but we’re prioritizing the development of a compact electric car rather than a less popular midsize vehicle.”

A facelift may be on the way for the current Sonata, which would go a ways toward helping with the current polarizing design, which may be contributing to the Sonata’s downward trajectory in sales, but the entire segment is generally in freefall now as well.

Kia, Hyundai’s sibling company, has also announced it plans to shelve the Stinger, with the end of Q2 this year being the target date for that to happen.

[Image: Hyundai]

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32 Comments on “Report: Hyundai Sonata is On the Way Out...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “A facelift may be on the way for the current Sonata, which would go a ways toward helping with the current polarizing design, which may be contributing to the Sonata’s downward trajectory in sales…”

    It’d probably help, but the real problem here is CUV Fever.

    I looked at a Sonata N Line last year, and came away pretty impressed, save for the silly amounts of torque ster.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Steve walks warily down the street
    With his brim pulled way down low

  • avatar
    ajla

    Did Kia actually announce they were dropping the Stinger next month?
    The car is definitely on borrowed time but dealers are taking MY2023 orders. I’ve expected MY24 to be its last year.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Yet even with the slow moving “sedan death watch” I see plenty of these on the road as well as the ubiquitous Camry/Accord/Altima and far more Civic sedans than the hatchback version.
    A Sonata sport back version wouldn’t be a bad idea to pull in buyers who don’t want to go for a crossover.

  • avatar
    mcs

    With the Ioniq 6 coming, they probably figured they didn’t need another sedan.

    https://www.caranddriver.com/hyundai/ioniq-6

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      Thanks for summarizing what the article basically stated.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “teddyc73”: “Thanks for summarizing what the article basically stated.”

        Exactly where is the Ioniq-6 mentioned? I don’t see it and I searched. No mention of the Ioniq 6 due in 2023 with plenty of spy shots on automotive websites. I contributed additional information that was not in the article right? Maybe you should read the articles a little closer before commenting.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I had thought that Sonata was made in Alabama, but it is not shown on the HMMA website (which shows Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Cruz, Elantra). It would have made sense that they would drop it to allocate demand to SUVs, however the newsclip indicates it may be a global decision, which makes sense too.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Hyundai stopped manufacturing the Sonata in Alabama to make room for other models (the Elantra will also no longer be built there), which is why Sonata sales have fallen behind K5 sales.

      The bigger driver in Hyundai discontinuing the Sonata is sales in Korea seeing a sharp decline.

      Hyundai is going ahead with another Grandeur despite it no longer being offered here since it has been the top selling passenger car in Korea.

      The next Grandeur will be even larger and more luxurious than the current one which is a good bit nicer than the last one we got.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I had thought that Sonata was made in Alabama, but it is not shown on the HMMA website (which shows Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Cruz, Elantra). It would have made sense that they would drop it to allocate demand to SUVs, however the newsclip indicates it may be a global decision, which makes sense too.

  • avatar
    2kriss2kross

    I see way more K5’s than Sonatas, K5 is definitely the looker of the two.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I feel like every one of these I see belongs to an Uber driver. The same applies to Camrys. Are there any mainstream consumers buying sedans anymore at all, except for the credit-challenged who get Altimas?

    • 0 avatar
      Rick T.

      (Raises hand.)

      We have a near perfect FICO. Not only sedans but I’d dearly love an equivalent replacement for my VW Sportwagen. But I take your point.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Anecdotally, I still see a decent number of sedans around although certainly not as numerous as in the past.
      Just to use Kia as an example, the Forte and K5 still sell about the same volume as the Sorento and Telluride so it isn’t like they’ve disappeared (yet).

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Welllll… I just did.

      But then, I’m both old AND weird, so that probably proves your point.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    Not a big surprise.
    As the mid-size sedan market shrink, the remaining buyers have been consolidating to Camry and Accord whose number remain fairly stable while all the rest collapse.

    Though 83K/year is still a respectable number all things considered. Even the Altima is down to 100K and Legacy is what, 20K?

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Altima sold 200,000 plus in USA in 2018 and 2019. Inability to manufacture due to labor and supply chain issues is not a great indicator of demand. I could sell a new Ford Pinto in today’s market.

      No arguing Sedan, Wagon, Hatchback are out of favor with consumers. Manufacturers are maximizing revenue so high profit vehicles it is.

      • 0 avatar
        Varezhka

        Sure, Nissan Altima sold 209K each in 2018/2019, but this was also back when Altima was close to 40% fleet sales. Not sure if Nissan is planning to go back to those rental agencies.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Sonata and Optima/K5 in their best sales years have come close to Accord sales, but with Sonata production having been discontinued at Hyundai’s Bama plant, they no longer have the production capacity to come close to the Accord.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    Too bad about the Sonata, but that nameplate was the Forever 21 of cars, slave to the fickle styling whims of its home market, hence its wild generational swings between conservative and overstyled. As for the Ionic 6? Even if it was the same price as the Sonata electric non-luxury sedans won’t have any more success than their ICE counterparts.

    The Sonata’s platform mate Kia K5 is next unless H/K decides it will represent its ICE sedan offering just as the Carnival is its only minivan. I’m not counting on it.

    The Legacy will likely be next on the chopping block. Anyone whose seen photos of Subaru’s recreating the SUS via its Frankenstein CUV front end job on the 2023 Legacy refresh knows they don’t really care anymore.

    Nissan needs something rental-grade above the Sentra so Altima probably hangs around for a while as long as it can keep investment minimal…maybe.

    That leaves the Camry and Accord as the last of the non-luxury ICE/electrified mid-sizers to take seriously.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    The Sonata and K5 are everywhere in Korea. That the current Sonata is a sales dud likely has more to do with its looks, as the Germanic-looking K5 stays in production.

    As for stopping sales in America, well, that was only a matter of time. There can be only two (Camry & Accord).

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Actually, the drop in Sonata sales in Korea played a larger part in the decision to discontinue it.

      It wasn’t all bad for the Sonata here – it actually had the highest ATP in its segment even before the hybrid and N-Line launched.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Why’d I think the K5 was still the Optima?!

    Yes, I’d assume that one is next.

  • avatar
    tmvette454

    All it needs is some whiskers and could be a catfish

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      You are right about that!
      A facelift is all it needs to recover the sales volume. “Polarizing” is corporate-speak for “ugly that should not have been approved, but the design guy is the CEO’s son-in-law”.

  • avatar
    1st_one

    I guess I’m the only one that like this generation.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Actually, the drop in Sonata sales in Korea played a larger part in the decision to discontinue it.

    It wasn’t all bad for the Sonata here – it actually had the highest ATP in its segment even before the hybrid and N-Line launched.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Competing head on with Camry and Accord, like competing with Google in internet search, has to rate among the least forgiving ways to try making a living. “Everyone” eventually ends up casting about for absolutely any other, viable or not, niche instead. Just to get some, even if only temporary, respite.

  • avatar
    Kyree

    I actually *like* the new Sonata. But Hyundai and Kia products have not been kind to my family, so, whether it continued or not, it and its badge brethren would be categorically excluded from any future considerations.

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