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Sonata redesigned for brand boost

Mar 07,2019
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Upgraded Sonata from Hyundai Motor. [HYUNDAI MOTOR]
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The interior of the new Sonata. [HYUNDAI MOTOR]
Hyundai Motor is hoping to reignite interest in its once best-selling sedan, the Sonata, with a completely new design and an update focusing on personalized technology.

On Wednesday, the company introduced the eighth-generation Sonata, five years since the release of the last generation. Over that period, sales of the mid-sized sedan declined as consumer demand shifted toward larger vehicles.

Sonata sales in Korea totaled more than 100,000 units in 2014, but that figure dropped to less than 70,000 last year. Hyundai’s larger Grandeur sedan generated more sales than the Sonata last year.

Hyundai is looking to recapture consumer interest with an update that features technology that syncs smartphones to the vehicle.

When connected, the vehicle will provide personalized information, such as a list of recent destinations traveled. It will also set positions for the driver’s seat and outer mirrors. The system is designed to work for multiple users so that the vehicle responds to settings for each driver.

Drivers will also be able to use digital keys on their smartphones through near-field communication technology to immediately access their personal profiles.

The vehicle features smart safety features, such as forward collision prevention, lane-keep assist and driver-attention warning, as standard.

The new Sonata also has a bolder look. Accented lines run along the hood from a cascading grille, which Hyundai said help achieve an overall sporty appearance. The vehicle is equipped with daytime running lights that appear like chrome material when turned off.

The new model is 30 millimeters (1.18 inches) shorter in height and 35 millimeters longer at the wheelbase than the predecessor, while the interior features a simplified design, with slim air vents.

Pre-orders will be taken from Mar. 11, with the price for the base model starting at 23.46 million won ($20,780).


BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]