Not everyone wants an SUV, you know.
If it didn’t have such ominous echos of the pre-crash days of 2008, the fact America’s automakers are slashing sedan production and focusing on trucks and SUVs wouldn’t seem so bad. Sure, those of us who enjoy the act of driving will miss the more dynamic and lightweight handling of a small car, but when it comes to the vehicles that actually make production, whichever body style makes the money is the one that reigns supreme.
There are, however, a few holdouts. Nissan is betting on younger car buyers to keep the sedan alive, and as Jalopnik learned by speaking to Hyundai’s product strategy head, Thomas Schemera, the Korean automaker is committed to sedans and coupes, too.
Though it bolstered its SUV lineup with the Kona, Santa Fe, and now the Palisade, Hyundai has also put serious effort into its sedan range, with the new Accent hitting the market last year and the Sonata following it out a few months ago. That’s because Hyundai’s philosophy is different than Ford or FCA’s. Rather than force consumers into SUVs by making them the only option, Hyundai wants to adapt its sedans to better meet the needs of consumers.
"If you ask my personal opinion, [Ford, FCA, etc. dropping sedans in favor of SUVs and CUVs] is a big mistake. Everybody is going now for SUVs, everybody thinks that the market for sedans is going down,” said Schemera. "Our way of thinking is maybe to differentiate the sedans a little bit more in detail. Think about rugged style. If the look and feel of sedans is different, you make the difference.”
Most reassuring is Schemera’s justification for more sedans. He essentially wants them around to keep the car world interesting.
"How boring is life if you just see SUVs on the road? This is boring," he said. "And everybody thinks ‘Oh, forget about sedans! This doesn’t work!’ They have to put more brain into it, you know? Yeah, to make the difference. Maybe to design, to compose, or to interpret a sedan more differently. The space and utilization of a sedan is from my point of view also unbeatable. This is a nice thing.” Only the passage of time will tell us exactly how these principals will pan out in future Hyundais, but what we do know is that Korea has so far been putting its money where its mouth is, building such a wide range of high-quality picks that it’s hard to find a segment the company isn't climbing to the top in.