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Hyundai to Launch Diesel Model for First Time in US
Targeting a Niche Market
Hyundai to Launch Diesel Model for First Time in US
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • April 9, 2018, 01:30
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The New Santa Fe.
The New Santa Fe.


Hyundai Motor will launch its diesel car in the US for the first time in more than 30 years since its entry into the US market. With the launch of the new Santa Fe Diesel, which is a sports utility (SUV) to be launched in the US in July or August, the company is determined to meet demand for diesel vehicles in a niche market in the US where gasoline cars are preferred.

According to the US press, Hyundai Motor built an engine lineup of the new Santa Fe for the North American market with three types -- gasoline 2.4 natural intake, gasoline 2.0 turbo and 2.2 turbo diesel engines. The Korean automaker will release the gasoline models first and the diesel model next year. It will be the first time that Hyundai will launch a diesel car in the US market since making a foray into the US market in 1986.

US consumers prefer gasoline cars so much to such an extent that the US automobile market is called “a graveyard for diesel cars.” German companies that had poured their energy into high-efficiency, environmentally friendly diesel engines made a lot of efforts in the US diesel car market for years, but they failed to reach their sales goal in the US diesel car market and with the diesel-gate of Audi Volkswagen two years ago, the diesel market virtually collapsed.

Under these circumstances, Hyundai's desire to launch the Santa Fe Diesel in the United States means its desperate need to catch even niche demand. "We have made this decision because diesel cars have the advantage of high fuel efficiency, strong torque and traction," said an official of Hyundai Motor America. In fact, the 2.2 diesel engine mounted on the Santa Fe has a maximum torque of 45.0 kg/m, which is higher than the 36 kg/m of the gasoline 2.0 turbo engine. In particular, US consumers often carry trailers behind their SUVs for leisure purposes, but they want cars with a towing force based on strong torque.

The new Santa Fe will also get a new name. The current five-seat model called the Santa Fe Sport will be renamed the Santa Fe, while the current seven-seat Santa Fe will be given new name, the Santa Fe XL.

The reason why Hyundai Motor is working hard for the Santa Fe Diesel like this is that Hyundai's success in the US market will hinge on the Santa Fe will determine whether or not Hyundai will be able to make a recovery in sales in the US market. As the Sonata and the Elantra are slumping together, the SUV preference trend in the US market has become more intense, so Hyundai Motor has no choice but to bet on the new Santa Fe big time.