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Hyundai Goes Nuts for Sport and Crossover/Utilities

Eight new Hyundai models planned by 2020

SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Michigan—Hyundai will launch an electric Kona, a diesel SUV, a midsize Ford Explorer competitor, an a-segment CUV, and a fuel cell CUV, in addition to the 2018 Kona B-segment CUV, all by 2020, said Mike O'Brien, the automaker's vice president of product, corporate and digital planning.

Hyundai has been losing market share in the U.S. recently in large part because it has been short of crossover/utility and sport/utility models, and hasn't been able to produce enough of the models it has, the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, and Tucson.

Sales of the Hyundai Tucson rose 8 percent in October, and Santa Fe/Santa Fe Sport was up 15 percent, versus October '16, though Subaru outsold the Hyundai brand to take seventh place in U.S. sales for the month.

"We've been slow in terms of ramping the volume up," O'Brien conceded. It's too early to say which, or how many of the new models would be produced in North America, versus South Korea.

Most of the new CUVs/SUVs are all-new models, including the midsize SUV and the a-segment CUV. The three-row Hyundai Santa Fe is on the small end of the midsize segment, O'Brien said, and so the new model launching mid-2019 will be longer, wider, and taller, to compete with such models as the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander.

The A-segment crossover will likely be smaller than anything currently on the market, designed, and priced to catch consumers trading in subcompact/B-segment sedans.

The new, 2018 Hyundai Kona B-segment CUV (Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax) makes its North American premiere later this month at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. A new fuel cell SUV premieres at the Consumer Electronics Show.

A battery-electric powered CUV and two more new, internal combustion-powered SUVs, probably the Santa Fe/Sport replacements, launch in mid- to late-2018. A diesel SUV arrives in early 2019, followed by the large-midsize CUV, and then the A-segment CUV.