Hyundai Motor on Tuesday started South Korean sales of its Palisade large sport utility vehicle (SUV), a model it hopes would spearhead a sales recovery in the United States when released in its major overseas market next year.
Consumer preferences have shifted swiftly to SUVs in recent times, impacting Hyundai with its sedan-heavy line-up. The automaker has since introduced new SUVs, including a redesigned Santa Fe this year, however its U.S. sales still dropped 1.6 percent in January-November in a near flat market.
Weak sales in the United States and China has left the automaker bracing for a fifth consecutive year of yearly profit decline.
In South Korea, the Palisade’s price begins at 36.22 million won ($32,224.20), bit higher than the smaller Santa Fe.
“I think it will sell well in Korea due to its price competitiveness, though the model could cannibalize sales of the Santa Fe,” stated auto analyst Sean Kim at Dongbu Securities.
Hyundai has not yet revealed U.S. pricing for the three-row, eight-seat car, which will rival with the likes of Toyota Motor’s Highlander and Ford Motor’s Explorer.
At home, the automaker has commenced on a marketing blitz for the new model, consisting a full, front page teaser ad in a popular newspaper, an endorsement by pop star BTS and showing the car in television drama Encounter.
The Palisade will replace the larger variation of the Santa Fe as Hyundai’s biggest SUV. The automaker is seeking to end a poor record in the large SUV segment, where it discontinued its Veracruz in 2013 as sales decreased.
The new model will help Hyundai boost its number of SUV models to six next year, from two last year. Its premium brand Genesis also prepares to release its first SUV next year.