Autos

Hyundai aiming for entry-level and used-car buyers with new, under $20,000 SUV

Key Points
  • Hyundai's latest offering is the compact Venue, expected to be priced under $20,000 for the base model.
  • "It's pretty darn small but it's a perfect entry-level vehicle for someone who might have, in the past, only had sedans to choose from," says Hyundai America COO Brian Smith.
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Hyundai introduces sub-$20K 'Venue' SUV at New York auto show

Hyundai is hoping to make the SUV more accessible to entry-level buyers.

The automaker's latest offering is the compact Venue, expected to be priced under $20,000 for the base model. That price tag brings it under the Hyundai Kona, which is larger than the Venue.

"It's pretty darn small but it's a perfect entry-level vehicle for someone who might have, in the past, only had sedans to choose from," Hyundai America COO Brian Smith said in an interview with CNBC's Phil LeBeau from the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday.

According to marketing and research agency Hedges & Co., 31% of new SUV buyers have a household income of under $50,000. Those are mostly single-person households.

Hyundai is also targeting used-car buyers with the Venue.

"There are many used-car buyers who are just used-car buyers, but interestingly 40 million people a year end up buying a used car and half of them thought about buying new first," Smith said on "The Exchange."

The cost also addresses another issue: burgeoning auto loans. The average monthly payment is now $554, compared with $527 a year ago, according to Edmonds.

Smith thinks that number will not continue to grow and pointed out that Hyundai offers a broad range of choices – from performance cars to electric vehicles.

"With more diversity and more options, instead of just continuing to push prices up, people are going to see ways to go sideways."