Yet another victim of the SUV/crossover and EV revolution.
A recent report in a South Korean publication suggests that Hyundai will ditch the Sonata after 37 years and seven generations. Despite the current Sonata and Sonata Hybrid being the best of the breed, we'd be lying if we said this comes as a surprise. Several prominent sedans have been axed over the last five years, primarily due to increased demand for SUVs and crossovers. And Hyundai isn't lacking in that department, as it can just as easily sell you a Tucson, Santa Fe, or even a Palisade if you're willing to stretch the budget a bit.
The Chosun Ilbo claims to have a source inside the company who claims that all Sonata development has stopped, which means it's an open secret within the company. It takes roughly six to seven years to develop a replacement, and under normal circumstances would have started in 2019, shortly after Hyundai unveiled the current model.
To date, nothing has happened.
It also makes sense for Hyundai to dump all excess weight before it goes fully electric in 2035. The Sonata has hardly been a sales success compared to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. At this point, one has to wonder whether the Sonata is even turning a profit?
Hyundai put the final nail in the Sonata when it converted one of its main assembly lines to start producing the Ioniq 6. Some production lines for the Sonata remain open, though the source reveals that Hyundai will do one more facelift for the vehicle before it's sent to car heaven. The facelifted model will likely hit showroom floors next year, though it's unclear how long it will be available after that.
Hyundai's electric platform is highly adaptable, though it's unlikely there will be a future EV Sonata.
"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," the inside source revealed. The funky Ioniq 5 recently made a clean sweep at the World Car of the Year awards, so it is investing in all the right places.
For the record, we still think the rise of the SUV is responsible. Since it was first unveiled in 2019, the current Sonata sales tally stands at 440,000 units. Most of the previous generations went well above a million, but the competition from within Hyundai's own ranks is simply too intense.