Hyundai Is Selling More than Stylish Sheet Metal

Gary S. Vasilash

In something of a follow-up to yesterday’s post regarding the interest that U.S. consumers evidentially have in fuel economy as indicated by the sales of the Prius, it is worth noting that one way that Hyundai Motor America is reporting its sales numbers is by breaking down its fleet miles per gallon (mpg) sales.

While it seems that the primary thing that get’s talked about vis-à-vis Hyundai is its Fluidic Sculpture design language, which has certainly set the bar exceedingly high in the various segments which it has rolled it out (which is essentially all of the segments in which it competes, from the Accent at the small end up through the Genesis; it is on the new Santa Fe CUV; it has yet to appear on the Tucson CUV, though you can bet it will, and the Equus senior sedan remains an outlier).


Hyundai Elantra Coupe

However, the company is, through a judicious use of materials (especially an array of exceedingly strong steels) and clever powertrain engineering, putting a whole lot of cars on the road that provide 40 mpg, which is at present the number that really counts. (What’s interesting about the Hyundai approach to its 40 mpg cars is that whereas other OEMs are putting out special packages for some of the vehicles that hit that number, Hyundai is just making 40 mpg cars part of the mix. In other words, they’re not producing stripped-down, more expensive models that get better fuel efficiency. They’re just making it part of the regular mix.)

So while the company’s sales are doing really well (e.g., September was 25th consecutive year-over-year monthly sales increase; Azera sales had a 1,028% jump over last September), it is notable that of its 60,025 units in September, 38% had a corporate average fuel economy level of 37.4 mpg, which is really rather impressive.

Yes, growing evidence that interest in fuel economy is growing strong. Growth-wise, that is.