Since the Genesis was unleashed, and promptly silenced skeptical critics, the Hyundai Sonata has seen a sharp decline in the amount of attention it received. That all seems on the verge of changing dramatically with huge projections that the South Korean automaker expects to sell nearly 60,000 units just in Korea this year alone. That appears to only be the start of things with a heavily revised 2011 Sonata even more capably situated to battle with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
To put these sales numbers in perspective, 60,000 units is more than the sales of the entire Saturn line last year, which didn’t even add up to 50,000 units. But while current projections and sales is good news enough, the strong response to the upwardly aimed Genesis has driven Hyundai to update their midsize Sonata with a fresh look for 2011 that is surely making Toyota and Honda nervous. Production of the 2011 sedan will begin early next year at the plant located in Alabama.
Judging by early renderings, photos and projections, Hyundai is successfully implementing a “trickle-down” approach to restyling their entire lineup with the Genesis and Genesis coupe providing the general framework and inspiration for the new look being adopted by Hyundai. As part of the effort to supplant perennial midsize sedan leaders from Toyota and Honda, the new Sonata will be equipped with a strong 2.5-liter engine in the U.S. and a smaller powerplant in other worldwide markets. Sales projections for the 2011 Sonata are being estimated at an enormous 450,000 units.
Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun said in a statement that the Sonata will raise Hyundai’s brand value by setting a new standard for world-class mid-size sedans with state-of-the-art technology, quality and “fluidic sculpture” design. All versions of the Sonata will be equipped with a standard Vehicle Dynamic Control with Hill-start Assist Control and Brake Assist System functions. Other highlights include an available three-piece panoramic sunroof and a new Parking Guide System (PGS).
In South Korea, the new Sonata’s prices range from the equivalent of $17,600 to $21,450.