Hyundai may import Elantra from Korea to meet surging demand


The rakish 2011 Hyundai Elantra hit U.S. dealerships back in December. Since then, Hyundai's 40-miles per gallon rated compact, which is priced from $14,830 (plus a $720 destination fee) for the base GLS equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, has flown off the lots. In December, Elantra sales totaled 13,096 units, up from 5,763 in 2009.

This increased demand has prompted Hyundai to consider importing some Elantras from Korea. Currently, Hyundai produces U.S.-market Elantras at its Montgomery, AL plant. This facility's annual production capacity, which stands at 330,000 total units, may not be enough to satisfy the U.S.' thirst for the rakish compact. Recently, Hyundai spokesman Frank Ahrens told Automotive News (sub. req.) that:

    If Elantra does what we think, hope it will do, it will mean we'll have to export them from Korea. We're pretty bullish on it, given the reviews it's received so far and the price.

The 2011 Elantra is $1,445 cheaper than a base Chevrolet Cruze and $1,440 less than a base 2012 Ford Focus, which makes Hyundai's model a pocketbook-friendly alternative to its main competitors in the compact class.

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