The Hyundai Sonata had a rather sad ending. However, it shouldn’t be ignored that the car had a long stint in the Indian market.
Hyundai launched the first generation Sonata in 2001. Back then the international players had started bringing out new and fresher models. The consumer base was expanding gradually. The Hyundai Sonata was never a bad car, it was meant to outshine.
What most people don’t know is the fact that it did actually outshone it actually its only competition, the Honda Accord in 2001-2002. But things didn’t remain the same with the newer models. The car started losing its grace and presence. Let’s have a look at the car which could’ve become something. Something amazing.
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How It All Started? | Hyundai Sonata Gold
With the success of the Santro, Hyundai had let everyone know that it was a force to be reckoned with. Hyundai came out to be one of the few carmakers at that time, who really tried to understand the market and launch its products.
The Sonata Gold was supposedly made for the luxury segment. The car did make quite a stir when it launched back in 2001. It was powered by 2.4-litre MPFi engine which generated a massive 165 hp and a peak torque of 236 Nm. On the inside, the car was equipped with the best of the luxury and features. With features such as power steering, power windows, electrically adjustable mirrors, ABS, premium upholstery and much more.
The only thing it had to compete with was the Honda Accord. And it did compete well. The Hyundai Sonata sold more than 473 cars in the April-June period in 2002. Whereas, the Honda Accord sold around 300 units in the same time period. The Jaguar-y look and ann unprecedented engine quality made it completely worth it.
However, the car failed overall, considering the price tag it carried with it. Most Indian consumers at that time were probably first-time car buyers. So, they had to play it safe. While the ones who could actually afford it weren’t really sure of buying a luxury car from Hyundai, the Santro maker. Image consciousness was paramount amongst some, and it wasn’t completely wrong. If you are investing big bucks into a car, you deserve to get some image.
Second Round | Hyundai Sonata Embera
So, moving on from the 2001 debacle, Hyundai decided to launch the Embera. It was yet another attempt to tap the market. Hyundai thought, maybe the first time wasn’t the right time. What Hyundai didn’t take into consideration was the consumer trends.
The car was launched with an engine generating 142 Bhp of power, churning out an impressive 323 Nm of torque. The car was going to be the next big thing in the market. However, it didn’t. It had all the good elements in the store, it had everything a car should have. However, the practicality didn’t go well with the Indian customers.
The Hyundai Sonata delivered a poor mileage of 10.5 kmpl which reduced more in the cities. This didn’t fair well.
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One Last Try | Sonata Sonata Fluidic
Hyundai never left the field. They just came in with newer equipment. This was like the last song for Hyundai. The 2359 cc engine in this one, got even more powerful. It generated 198 bhp with 250 Nm of torque. It came with a 6-speed AMT gearbox.
Once again, mileage was the sore eye for the Sonata. Considering, it’s calibre and engine the mileage was somewhat justified. But Indian consumers have hardly cared about speed, and performance, and that too in a D segment luxury sedan. The car had an ARAI certified mileage of 12.37 kmpl. So, once again the customers gave it a pass.
Conclusion: A Different Story
We won’t be wrong when we say that the car won’t be missed. The car was evidently good looking, and performance-wise, but it just wasn’t meant to be maybe for the Indian market.
The Hyundai Sonata can be seen as a perfect example of brand positioning. Till the time, Hyundai launched the Fluidic Sonata, it had positioned itself as a budget carmaker. The consumers who had the money to spend preferred moving on to the German sedans.
It was never a bad car, it just didn’t have the right destiny perhaps.