Hyundai to market SUV, mid-size sedan in Sept.

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Hyundai Motor America will begin marketing its first sport-utility vehicle, the Santa Fe, and first upper mid-size sedan, the XG300, in early September, Automotive News reported July 11. The Santa Fe "will consume most of our advertising efforts, starting with the Olympics and really launching in October," when the sport-utility will be in dealerships, said CEO Finbarr O'Neill at the Automotive Press Association luncheon here today. In addition to the general market, Hyundai will be "involved in the Hispanic market and the Internet," he said. Priced up to $23,000, the Santa Fe will compete against the Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute, Lexus RX 300 and Nissan Xterra.Hyundai plans to sell at least 50,000 sport-utilities in its first year in the U.S., Mr. O'Neill said. The factory can produce 80,000, he said. Hyundai's XG300, priced at about $25,000, will be available in September. It is positioned against the Oldsmobile Intrigue, Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry and Avalon. He acknowledged that XG300 sales will be modest. "We will have limited budget to market behind that," Mr. O'Neill said. Hyundai will advertise in lifestyle magazines and on cable TV, targeted to older consumers. Bates USA, New York, handles Hyundai's advertising.

Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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