Hyundai is beefing up production of its Hyundai Tucson to meet skyrocketing demand in the U.S. Friday, the automaker announced it will increase crossover utility vehicle production at the South Korean manufacturing facility where it currently assembles sedans to meet growing demand for markets including those in North America.
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson, which made its debut at the New York International Auto Show, goes on sale this summer in the U.S. after first launching overseas.
“The all-new 2016 Hyundai Tucson is one of our most highly anticipated crossover utility vehicles and we’re proud of the positive response we received from both critics and consumers at its world reveal at the New York International Auto Show,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning, Hyundai Motor America. “We’re honored that the redesigned Tucson is being recognized as one of the season’s best new vehicles, and we’re excited to bring it to Hyundai dealers later this summer.”
Reuters reports that Hyundai and its sister Kia have been grappling with slowing sales and earnings in recent years, partly because of capacity constraints for its popular SUVs. Overall, Hyundai has been hesitant to expand production capacity since chairman Chung Mong-koo initiated a quality-focused shift in 2012.
To get production numbers up for the Tucson, Hyundai Motor said it had agreed with its South Korean union to start making 50,000 of its redesigned CUVs annually at a second factory in Ulsan, which produces the Elantra compact. Hyundai currently makes the Tucson only at another factory in Ulsan, which is unable to meet demand.
Hyundai launched its revamped Tucson in South Korea in March and this month started production for exports to North America, Australia and Asia. However, tight supply for the Tucson has led to a two-and-a-half month backlog for exports, the company said.
Reuters reports that Hyundai Motor’s U.S. chief says he expects to double U.S. sales of the new Tucson from 45,000 thanks to greater availability from South Korea.
It’s been widely reported that Hyundai is considering expanding U.S. vehicle production at its assembly plant in Alabama, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary this month. Those reports contend the plan is to add a second plant that would start making 300,000 utility vehicles a year, starting in 2017. Candidates would be the Tucson compact crossover and Santa Fe full-size crossover, each exported from Korea. However, Hyundai hasn’t come out with any confirming details yet.
The new Tucson will arrive at Hyundai dealers in July.
Photo Credit: Hyundai