The Korean Car Blog spotted a report by South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo stating the Hyundai Sonata won’t make it to a ninth generation. Citing “insiders,” the outlet wrote that “it is an open secret in the company that the Sonata will be discontinued, and Sonata assembly lines are being converted to produce electric cars.” Hyundai has closed its ICE development departments and targets becoming a fully electric vehicle maker by 2040. KCB wrote that a Hyundai official said, “The development project for the DN9, the next-generation Sonata model, is not in progress,” using the DN9 codename for the vehicle type and generation number, and that a parts supplier also offered, “There is no confirmed content about the development of DN9 parts.”
The ninth-generation Sonata had been predicted to arrive around 2025. If reports of the model’s end are true, Hyundai will be axing a nameplate that’s 37 years old right now, with more than nine million sales globally on its balance sheet. The Sonata is the automaker’s oldest model in South Korea and its third-best-selling internationally after the Avante, our Elantra, and the Accent.
Various reasons are given for the potential move. The first is the current Sonata’s sales dip. Last year, Korean outlet Auto Post reported on rumors of a redesigned model arriving before the usual cadence because higher-ups considered the Sonata’s daring looks partly to blame for the sales slump in the home market and North America. From a peak in 2014 at 216,936 units sold in the U.S., in 2021, the Sonata only found 83,434 U.S. buyers. The early numbers in 2022 show a bloodbath could be on the way, not what any maker wants to consider for a offering just three years into its life. Of course, it’s hard to apportion blame to declining sedan sales — especially midsizers — when the segment in general is in freefall.
There’s also Hyundai Motor Group’s conversion to an EV maker. The Ioniq 5 has done big business for the firm, the Ioniq 6 is imminent, and the Ioniq 7 is on the way. Chosun Ilbo cited an “inside source” as saying, “We can’t rule out an electric Sonata, but we’re prioritizing the development of a compact electric car rather than a less popular midsize vehicle.” Remember, on the other side of the family fence, the Kia Stinger was said to fall victim to the same shift, its end rumored to come at the end of Q2 this year.
We’re told a facelift is on the way for the Sonata, debuting either later this year or early next year. After that, it could be fade out.