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Hyundai, Sonata in the Limelight

Hyundai Sonata line at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing LLC plant in Hope Hull, near Montgomery.

Hyundai Sonata line at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing LLC plant in Hope Hull, near Montgomery.

Hyundai and its Alabama-made Sonata were star attractions at this year’s Detroit auto show.

The company itself continues to produce cars at a record level, knocking industry analysts back on their heels with sales growth that defies the recession and puts to shame the performance of other auto manufacturers.

“Our challenge is going to be can our plants supply what we think will be a remarkable consumer demand,” John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America told the news service AFP.

“Our goal is not to become the biggest car company,” he added. “Our goal is to become the most-loved car company and a trusted lifetime partner of our owners.”
Hyundai’s U.S. sales were up 8 percent in 2009—the depth of the recession and the year overall auto industry sales fell 21 percent and General Motors and Chrysler were forced into bankruptcy. Hyundai also led in sales growth in 2010—24 percent compared to the industry average of 11 percent.

Putting the icing on the cake at the auto show, Hyundai’s Alabama-made Sonata was named one of three finalists for the 2011 North American Car of the Year by the Automotive Press Association. Production at the company’s plant outside of Montgomery was boosted in 2010 by 100,000 vehicles a year, to a total of 300,000, and focus was placed on Sonata production, while shifting other models to a new Kia plant across the Georgia line.

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