Hyundai started their campaign in Thailand with the side-by-side launch of 3 models: the Sonata, the Santa Fe, and the Coupe. Since then sales have been slow enough, with the Sonata notching up a modest 70 orders, while the Coupe sales are similarly low, with just 6-8 units a month.
Hyundai recently launched three models in Thailand, the Sonata being one of them. Now, it seems that the Thai Sonata is already an "old model" as a 2009 facelift is already being unleashed in Korea. It seems a little odd that Hyundai would choose to launch in Thailand with a car that was so close to being updated.
Hyundai has entered the Thai market, and if you visit their showrooms you will be greeted by friendly sales staff hoping you will take an interest in one of the 3 models Hyundai Thailand have on offer.
The Santa Fe SUV, and the aptly named Coupe come in CBU (completely built up) form, meaning that they cost more than is reasonable due to being subject to heavy import duties on the way into the country. This is the first reason that I would give both of these cars a wide birth, and the second reason is the other car on show, the Sonata.
South Korea's top automaker, Hyundai Motor Co. announced yesterday that they plan to open a production facility in Thailand. Hyundai Motor (Thailand) will distribute 3 models in Thailand, with production of the Sonata due to start in the 4th quarter of this year.
Hyundai are hoping for a successful re-entry to the Thai market, and it has been 10 years since their last effort in Thailand came to an abrupt end in 1997 during the Thai financial crisis. But the timing of this move isn't fantastic given the political uncertainty in the Country leading up to the elections.