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Old 29th March 2005, 14:29   #1
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Question 2005 Hyundai Sonata: Is it a contender?



So, Hyundai is set to attack the Indian D class segment with their soon to be launched Sonata.

The previous or current generation Sonata which has been on sale in our country for years now, has lost its shine in the face of newer, far more modern competitors. In its day, the Sonata outsold all its rivals by a 3:1 ratio, even the old generation Accord. However, all that changed the day the new Honda Accord was launched. This clearly goes to show that in this segment, the luxury segment in India, how a car looks is as important as how it drives and how good its engines are.

So, with the launch of the new Sonata and its toned down, anonymous styling, will it make an impact in India the same way the original Sonata did?



I doubt it. Mid-size family cars abroad, the market Hyundai is aiming for, are considered luxury cars in India. The new sonata, with its odd mix of straight lines, sharp angles and typical Hyundai grill really does not look the part (look at this month's ACI cover and you will realise bad the car looks!). While the previous generation, with its flashy chrome and what many called "Jaguaresqe" styling caught your attention and made you either like it or hate it, the new model simply looks like a bad copy of the Honda Accord.

The interiors look decidely bland and plasticy as well. Yes, it has more room inside and I am sure it will be loaded with all the bells & whistles when it goes on sale here, but it is still outclassed by the quality materials used in the Honda's, Toyota's and the Mondeo.

That leaves Hyundai with its only weapon. It's price. What price can they sell it at, this must really be making their bean counters pull their hair out. They cannot price it too low as it will clash with the Elantra, consequently devalueing its premium image. Price it too high and buyers will simply opt for the Accord or Mondeo, both of which have a better image in the market.

The D segment market is not influenced purely by value propositions. You need to have more than just a decent, no-nonsense vehicle to make an impact here, and this is where the Sonata loses out. Who in their right mind would buy a Sonata when the Accord is available at Rs.1,00,000 more? The depreciation of the Sonata would negate any savings made in the initial purchase price.

If I was Hyundai, I would concentrate on getting the Tuscon out as soon as possible and for as low a price as possible. That is the only vehicle that stands a chance in the Rs.10 lakh + bracket.

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Old 29th March 2005, 14:44   #2
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1) the grill some how reminds me of the elantra. if people here notice it and feel the same , well .....

2) the outgoing sonata was bought more due to its look rather than snob value. here its lost the plot with the looks too

3) snob value isnt a major selling point for hyundai. buyers who want snob value - opt straightaway for the accord.

4) price is the only weapon left and as you pointed out RT pricing this car will not be a cakewalk for hyundai. price it high ....loses to the accord ...price it low and go dangeroulsy close to the elantra range....who will buy it ?

well well - looks to be a no gain situation for hyundai.......but then u never know with markets in India.

as of now - the Accord is unbeatable and IMO will remain unbeatable !
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Old 29th March 2005, 14:51   #3
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The question is: What if the Sonata is sold at around Rs.12 lakhs for the base model. That brings it head-to-head against the Corolla and Octavia. Now, buyers are getting a larger car for the same price. What would they go for?

That is, ofcourse, if Hyundai decide to axe the Elantra and look at very low returns or even just about breaking even on it. Again, doubtful situation, but makes for an interesting thought.
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Old 29th March 2005, 14:53   #4
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Sonata always have been a bad copy of other cars.. And now even with the 2005 one, they have kept up their reputation.. LOL...
They should try getting a design if their own and not be like s/w engineer's(including myself) who just copy and paste code from google...
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Old 29th March 2005, 14:57   #5
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Well, looking at the front pic. If the Elantra looked like a big Accent, this surely looks like a big Elantra. The rear is no doubt the Honda Accord.

The only angle i'd seen so far was this.


Which made the car look good. It had that Mitsubishi Evo, VW Pheaton sorta jumbled up image but, from the pics you've posted, it looks very much "Korean".

However, i feel this model, with a few changes can look much better than the old one. It's just that it's been made to look bulky where it shouldn't.

I wont say it's a bad design, it feels more original than the older one but, it still needs a few minor adjustments.

As for the engine options, i won't comment until i see what they're gonna launch here.

Shan2nu

Last edited by Shan2nu : 29th March 2005 at 15:00.
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Old 29th March 2005, 14:57   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtech
The question is: What if the Sonata is sold at around Rs.12 lakhs for the base model. That brings it head-to-head against the Corolla and Octavia. Now, buyers are getting a larger car for the same price. What would they go for?

That is, ofcourse, if Hyundai decide to axe the Elantra and look at very low returns or even just about breaking even on it. Again, doubtful situation, but makes for an interesting thought.
Exactly RT , they would have to do a serious rethink on the elantra then ......and if they axe the elantra and price the sonata as you say ...what does it come up against ?

skoda and corolla !!!

IMO - it will get murdered and soon go the elantra way !

ps - just another thought - instead of axing the Elantra why dont Hyundai axe the accent .....and sell the Elantra at abt 6.5 lacs. as it is the car is available for 7 lacs under discount. just remove a few bells and whistles .....localise it .....wat say ? possible ?

Last edited by normally_crazy : 29th March 2005 at 15:00.
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Old 29th March 2005, 15:03   #7
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No doubt about it that the new Sonata is very similar looking to the Accord ( from behind atleast). The front actually looks the Elantra with a similar looking grille. Our Indian market is so different and price sensitive too. People want more for their money and Hyundai knows that very well. Hence they provide all the goodies in a car at a lesser price. The car may really not have anything going for it but if Hyundai comes up with a killer price like 12 lakhs as rtech mentioned, the Sonata will definately have lots of takers. Plus the +ve things about Hyundai like their A S S and I have also heard they give you a spare car to use while yours is being serviced.

Initial response will be good IMO but it remains to be seen if it fizzles out in due course of time.

And oh yes the new Mondeo is at a very tempting price now

Dippy

Last edited by Dippy : 29th March 2005 at 15:05.
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Old 29th March 2005, 15:12   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy
And oh yes the new Mondeo is at a very tempting price now

Dippy
now you are tempting me dippy ...............but no xenons !!

but i seriously doubt that this sonata mite actually suceed here ..there are simply far too many superior cars to it right now here !

Hyundai has to come up with something really SPECIAL for the sonata.

cheers
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Old 29th March 2005, 16:15   #9
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Very well-put Rtech. To add to the discussion:

1. I must agree that the new Sonata looked much better in the press release pictures than it does in actual on-the-road pictures (AutocarIndia). Hyundai ought to realise that copied designs have little or no long lasting brand value. I mean, look at that rear end? It looks like the aftermath of an affair between the Hyundai design team and a laid-off Honda employee! How can Hyundai hope to become a top 4 player if it cant even design for itself?

2. The new Sonata can have one distinct advantage : CRDi Engines!! Which other D segmenter do you know of that offers all that space alongwith diesel economy?

3. It still rides and handles like C-R-A-P. Autocarindia certainly took the easy way out by claiming that "we didnt have the roads to check the handling". C'mon, they could have come up with a better excuse if they didnt want to comment on the Sonatas handling.

4. Hyundais ASS is probably better than the competition...but only when you compare it with contenders of the B Class (Fiat, Tata etc.). Be warned that Accord owners are extremely happy with Hondas ASS.

5. The pricing is undoubtedly important, but whats more important is the marketing. Hyundai had marketed the Santro/Accent brilliantly but made a complete botch of their Getz efforts.

Shantanu, you absolutely rock with the PS. Your job looks distinctively better than what Hyundai has managed. Superb!

GTO
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Old 29th March 2005, 17:04   #10
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Quote:

2. The new Sonata can have one distinct advantage : CRDi Engines!! Which other D segmenter do you know of that offers all that space alongwith diesel economy?
u got a point there GTO

but i think it stands good only if they pitch the pricing against the octavia or smtin.

Else, y wud somebody investing in a 15+ lac car give a damn about diesel/petrol. N as it is, the difference in the cost between the two fuels is goin down everyday.

The earlier sonata sold most when the older accord was in. When the new accord was launched, the sales for the sonata plummeted. Also, the only major reason for its selling was the "jaguar" like look.

Performance wasnt something appealing ( dont think i need to justify that)

The way out for Hyundai here seems to be something like what NC said. Place Elantra at around 7-8 lacs (riskin the accent tht is) and place the sonata at around 12.

Else, IMO phase out the elantra n place the new sonata there.
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Old 29th March 2005, 17:44   #11
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I dont understand why the Sonata doesnt stops copying other cars in styling. The current sonata rear is a total rip of the jaguar and the front lamps r like the c-class. Once again they have done the same... though i like the front looks the rear is way too similar to the current generation accord.

Last edited by Sahil : 29th March 2005 at 17:48.
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Old 29th March 2005, 18:43   #12
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Hey,
Firstly,what Hyundai has in its favour is the CRDi engine which will obviously satify its owners.And secondly,the pricing at 12lacs.
Now considering these two points,do you really think the Indian buyers need to look beyond??? Nopes.I dont think so at all.What matters for them is the FE and the Pricing.
Handling will not be a concern with the buyers to that extend with these two strong points.And above all,the Hyundai A.S.S is excellent,which is a bonus!!
And lastly,even the Baleno handling is awful on the stock tires.Now with meatier rubber it certainly can be improved to an extend.
So i hardly see any reasons for this car not selling.It will be a hot seller for sure.

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Old 29th March 2005, 18:48   #13
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Quote:
Now considering these two points,do you really think the Indian buyers need to look beyond??? Nopes.I dont think so at all.What matters for them is the FE and the Pricing.
Not in this segment. FE and price play secondary roles to image and badge value the higher up the ladder you go.
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Old 29th March 2005, 18:57   #14
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Just got my ACI,
The car does not look as good as it does ion the concept pictures.
Also the interiors are something i would expect in a C segment though i read that the back seatr i just perfect and that the dynamics and all are much improved.
But priced in accord territory, i do not see much takers for this car.
Reasons are -
dash design
looks
quality of interiors
A.S.S
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Old 29th March 2005, 19:04   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtech
Not in this segment. FE and price play secondary roles to image and badge value the higher up the ladder you go.
In those regards very true.It lacks the so called snob-value.
But then,they are people who buy a Skoda 1.9tdi instead of its Petrol sibling.And the Mondeo did'nt sell like hot-cakes due to its lack in the FE department.Correct me if im wrong!
And also i fail to understand,why have they positioned this car in the C segment,despite thier own Hyundai Elantra being in it??

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