Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Hyundai's Veloster Takes Aim at Younger Buyers

As new cars go, the Hyundai Veloster is no Sonata or Elantra. That's fine, Hyundai's not looking for any mass market sedan. What the Korean automaker is looking for is a model to round out its line-up. A car to make the public realize Hyundai has a line-up of more than just 3 or 4 vehicles.

Hyundai's Veloster

Which is why the announce pricing on the new Veloster is interesting.

With a base price of $17,300 the three door compact coupe is priced in the sweet spot of the young car buyer looking for an inexpensive ride, with great fuel efficiency (gets over 40 mpg), that is different.

Not weird different, but different with a unique style. Hyundai  believes it will sell more than 20,000 Veloster's annually while battling with the Scion tc and Mini Clubman to win over young, urban buyers.

The auto industry is watching the Veloster for a different reason. Executives at Hyundai rivals are wondering if the Korean automaker can stay on a roll with new models that have very competitive styling, attractive pricing, and great reliability. It's a tricky trio to get right on a brand new car. And it's too soon to know how the public will react to the Veloster.

For Hyundai, the hope is the Veloster will broaden Korean automaker's reach and brand acceptance. In the last three years Hyundai (including its subsidiary Kia) has moved up to number 6 in US sales with sales this year up 23 percent. It's nipping at the heels of Honda, but keep in mind Honda has had a very restricted supply of cars and trucks due to the impact of the Japanese earthquakes. But the numbers don't tell the whole story. Ask your friends and neighbors what they think of Hyundai, and the answer may surprise you.

That's why Veloster is not just another new car. It is the latest statement from a company laser-focused on continuing to turn heads in the US. It won't be a huge volume car, but if it's spot on, it will make another big statement about Hyundai's ability to stay on its current roll.

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