Filed under: Sedan , Marketing/Advertising , Hyundai , Nissan , Toyota , Design/Style When Hyundai rolled out their outrageously styled Sonata three years ago, car buyers took notice. It’s eye-catching exterior styling, well-appointed interior and affordable price was just what a lot of family sedan buyers wanted. Few will admit it, but carmakers sat up and paid attention, too. However, Andy Palmer, Nissan executive vice president for global planning, doesn’t mind telling the world that his company certainly saw the significance of the midsize Korean sedan. So much so that they briefly halted design work on the 2013 Altima . “We even delayed development by a short amount just to check that the (new Altima’s) proportions were right, the (package) was right (and that) the product overall was right,” Palmer tells Ward’s Auto. “I’d say they (Hyundai) are our major point of reference.” But with the Altima as the second-best selling car in its segment, Nissan is focusing not on the Sonata, but on Toyota and the No. 1 best seller: Camry . “If you keep coming with better cars and better communications, telling better stories, over a period of time,” Palmer says. “I guarantee you’ll be talking about Toyota and Nissan.” Hyundai Sonata caused Nissan to reassess 2013 Altima development originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Apr 2012 14:44:00 EST.
Filed under: Sedan , Hyundai , Toyota When does a mid-size sedan become a top-notch competitor to the Toyota Camry ? The answer is apparently whenever said competitor begins stealing market share from America’s top-selling sedan. Bloomberg reports that Toyota North America Chairman Yoshimi Inaba called the Hyundai Sonata “a very honorable contender in the market” during an interview earlier this week. Inaba adds that Toyota has great respect for the strong-selling Hyundai, and we’re guessing they’re not the only automaker keeping an ever closer eye on Camp Hyundai. Sales of the Sonata soared by 35 percent in 2010 to 196,623 units. Meanwhile, 2010 Camry sales dropped by 31 percent to 327,804 units. To make matters worse for Toyota and the Camry, supply disruptions stemming from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami have further hurt Camry sales while the Sonata continues to attract new buyers. In fact, the Sonata outsold the Camry in May, in part because of Toyota’s production issues. But while the Sonata has been gaining on the Camry, that trend could reverse itself with an all-new Camry set to arrive later this year. Toyota President Akio Toyoda already told U.S.