The Hyundai Sonata could be on its way out after one final face lift, which Hyundai is tentatively planning for release in 2025. While the Sonata has enjoyed a successful production run spanning 37 years so far, the midsize sedan will reportedly not live past 40, according to Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.
Hyundai tells Car and Driver that the Sonata will continue to be an important part of its lineup, but Chosun Ilbo’s sources at Hyundai say it’s an “open secret” that the Sonata is being phased out soon.
These sources say the Sonata is on the chopping block because Hyundai is transitioning its production capacity towards upcoming EVs and, of course, SUVs, which accounted for 47.3 percent of all Hyundai sales in 2021. Hey, at some point Hyundai will probably need its assembly lines to crank out vehicles that combine both, with EV SUVs!
Especially as the South Korean carmaker transitions completely to the production of electric cars, which Hyundai says it will do by 2035. And in order for that to happen, Hyundai will have to prioritize its EVs over longstanding combustion models like the Sonata.
There are already signs of this happening, such as a month-long hiatus of Sonata and Grandeur production at a Hyundai factory in Asan, a city in the South Chungcheong province in the the carmaker’s home country. The Asan factory stopped making the Sonata and Grandeur in January to boost the production of the Hyundai Ioniq 6 EV, which is also a sedan. But it’s an EV, as opposed to the ICE or hybrid Hyundai Sonata.
The Sonata possibly being phased out also isn’t so surprising, however, when you consider its decline on the market. Before the eighth-generation was released in 2019, the Hyundai Sonata was the most exported car in Korea. Older generations of the midsize sedan easily sold over one million cars, but the latest model seems to have stagnated at around 440,000 cars sold.
Some blame it on the polarizing design of the latest Sonata; others say it’s the slump in sedan sales. And a slew of Hyundai recalls can’t have made it better for the Sonata, overall. When you combine all of these factors, the imminent —albeit still not official — departure of the midsize sedan makes more sense.