After pickup trucks, midsize sedans are the hottest-selling vehicles in the U.S. market -- and it's a market that Korean giant Hyundai (NASDAQOTH:HYMTF) would like to dominate.
Hyundai will show off the U.S. version of its all-new 2015 Sonata sedan this week in New York. The Korean version was revealed earlier this year, and it's a more mainstream-looking entry (some would say "less interesting") than the outgoing model.
It's loaded with high-tech features and should find some happy customers here. But will it be able to gain market share on the big four sedans -- Toyota's (NYSE:TM) Camry, Honda's (NYSE:HMC) Accord, Nissan's (NASDAQOTH:NSANY) Altima, and Ford's (NYSE:F) Fusion -- that dominate this market segment today?
If so, that would be a significant achievement for Hyundai. The Camry and Accord are backed by decades of reliable, competent predecessors, while the Altima is aggressively priced and the latest Fusion has found popularity as the stylish, premium alternative.
Will the new Sonata have what it takes to thrive against that crowd? In this video, Fool contributor John Rosevear runs down what he expects to see when the new Sonata is unveiled later this week.
A transcript of the video is below.
John Rosevear: Hey Fools, it's John Rosevear, senior auto analyst for fool dot com. The New York International Auto Show starts this week, media days are next Wednesday and Thursday, and we're expecting the automakers to unveil several interesting new models.
I'll be there with my Foolish colleague Rex Moore, we'll bring you a video report of the show's highlights at the end of each day, and we'll have a bunch of more in-depth reports for you over the next week or so after that.
One of the debuts we'll be taking a close look at will be the unveiling of the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Hyundai has already shown off a version of the 2015 Sonata in Korea, but they say the U.S. version will be different in some key ways, and we'll be seeing it at a special media event on Tuesday night in New York.
The Sonata of course is Hyundai's midsize sedan, it competes with the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord and the Ford Fusion, all of which are heavyweight contenders that sell in huge numbers here in the U.S., and Hyundai would definitely like a larger piece of that pie.
So they're stepping up with a new Sonata that at least in the Korean version has been toned down considerably from the current car, hoping to appeal to a wider audience, and they've stepped up the refinement and feature list as well.
Hyundai says the new Sonata is about an inch longer and wider than the current model, and it's also more rigid, which should improve handling and on-road feel, and Hyundai says it'll have a much more refined ride, as well as more room inside.
And as you'd expect in this super competitive segment, the new Sonata steps up with a full range of electronic safety systems and infotainment technology. We've really seen Ford raise the bar in this segment with the current Fusion, which can be equipped better than some luxury cars were equipped not so long ago, and Hyundai definitely has the resources to jump on to that trend.
The Korean version of the Sonata is going to be offered with a choice of three different four-cylinder engines, as well as six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
We don't yet know what they'll offer here in the U.S., or where they're planning to price it, I'm tempted to say they'll probably offer a V6 option on the U.S. model but maybe not, the Fusion is only offered with four cylinders, though some are turbos.
Rex and I will have much more for you on the new Sonata when we get a close up look at it later this week. Thanks for watching.