NOTE: A adaptation of this commodity was aboriginal appear on or about June 5, 2020, on my Seeking Alpha Marketplace site.
For the ages of May 2020, the Hyundai (OTCPK:HYMLF) Palisade had its best ages aback it launched in the U.S. in backward June 2019. It awash a whopping 7,866 units in the U.S. – artlessly the accomplished account cardinal aback inception.
Even admitting abounding automakers accomplished a bit of a backlash in May 2020 from the generational lows of April 2019, that is not the aforementioned as the industry actuality aback to area it was afore April 2019, or alike March 2019. The industry backlash is partial, not complete.
Yet, the Hyundai Palisade airy this trend in a best affecting way, accepting aback not aloof to area it had been in February 2020 or December 2019 – but calmly beating every distinct sales cardinal aback inception, a year ago. This Superman-like achievement from the Hyundai Palisade warrants an explanation.
But first, an important allotment of accomplishments on the Hyundai Palisade itself.
Hyundai had been affairs a 3-row adaptation of the Santa Fe for several years. It was not a artefact accidentally commensurable with the Palisade for primarily two reasons:
It was not full-size. The 3-row Santa Fe was artlessly not ample enough, acceptation that it was not a austere adversary to the Chevrolet Traverse or Honda Pilot, two of the class-leading entries in agreement of autogenous amplitude – for both bodies and their luggage.
It was not upscale. While the Santa Fe of 2018 was no best bargain in its aftermost iteration, it was additionally not a exceptional product. It was still aggressive afterpiece to the basal bisected of the accumulation market.
In the “old days,” the 3-row SUVs were body-on-frame and bedeviled by cartage such as Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and Ford Expedition, with added entries including Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada. Those cartage excelled in towing abundant trailers, over 6,000 lbs.
However, the amplification of the 3-row SUV articulation meant that best consumers who were new to the articulation had beneath charge for the heaviest towing. Rather, these new consumers adopted ride/steering that acquainted added like a car, and they additionally capital bigger ammunition consumption.
This meant that about all the new entries in the 3-row SUV articulation over the aftermost 10-20 years accept been unibody vehicles, instead of body-on-frame. Actuality is the account of the 3-row SUV entries for which we accept appear numbers, or at atomic estimates, as in the case of the Tesla (TSLA) Model X. Land Rover does no best address U.S. sales numbers for the Discovery, so it has been bare from this table:
Tesla Model X
New entrants for 2019
Net of new entrants
Data source: Anniversary company’s annual reporting, added estimates (for Model X)
As you can see in the table above, this is a assorted aggregation of altered amount points. I accept additionally provided the added abstracts absolute of bristles of the best contempo articulation entrants – Cadillac XT6, BMW X7, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade and Lincoln Aviator. The articulation was bottomward 5% overall, but afterwards the bristles newest entrants, it would accept been bottomward 11%. Of course, some of those who purchased the new entrants would acceptable accept gone with the incumbents instead, had those new entrants not been available.
In this table, I accept lined up the Hyundai Palisade adjoin the added best contempo entrants in the unibody 3-row SUV market, for which we accept had account sales abstracts for a majority of the period. BMW chock-full advertisement account U.S. sales abstracts at the alpha of 2020, and I accept artlessly disconnected BMW’s Q1 aftereffect by 3, to access at a account set of numbers:
Data source: Anniversary company’s account and annual reporting
As you can see in the table above, the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade bound accomplished about the aforementioned akin of sales afterwards mid-2019. The two variants of “the same” basal agent tracked anniversary added aural about 1,000 or so units per ages – until May 2020.
The 2019 cardinal may accomplish you admiration back the Subaru Ascent started U.S. sales and how bound it accomplished this affectionate of sales level. It launched a year afore the Kia and Hyundai models, so actuality are the 2018 numbers for the Subaru Ascent in the U.S., which launched in June 2018:
Data source: Subaru U.S. Media Center
Look at the May 2020 results: Afterwards accepting been about close aback allusive birth (July 2019), the Hyundai Palisade aback awash about 3x as abounding units in the U.S. as its sister vehicle, the Kia Telluride. How do we explain this?
The acknowledgment is best absolutely actual simple: The Hyundai Palisade is fabricated in Korea, compared to the Kia Telluride which is fabricated about 75 afar South-West of Atlanta, Georgia.
I accept apprenticed both cars. They are both class-leading and actual similar. There is annihilation in the cars themselves that somehow accreditation any allusive alterity in sales. And that is what we had apparent in the U.S. sales numbers aback birth – agnate sales numbers every month, added or bare 1,000 or so units.
Rather, the alone actual variables are:
Pricing. I accept not apparent annihilation allusive in agreement of appraisement accomplishments that would differentiate the Telluride from the Palisade, in May 2020.
Supply shortages. These two cartage are so attractive, accept been in abbreviate supply, and alike sometimes awash aloft MSRP, that it seems accessible that a different accumulation curtailment for the Telluride seems to be the alone accessible account to this alteration in May 2020 ages U.S. sales numbers.
Basically, the Hyundai dealers had solid accumulation from Korea for the Palisade in May 2020, admitting there were no Telluride units actuality congenital by Kia in Georgia, USA. That would explain it all. And that will acceptable change, in the abutting few abbreviate months, as Kia’s U.S. assembly resumes and shipments adeptness the U.S. dealerships. But for now, that agency is abrupt in its appulse on about sales numbers, near-term.
Look at the aboriginal table in this commodity afresh – the big one, with all 3-row SUVs that address U.S. sales after-effects or for which we accept acceptable estimates. How abounding of those 32 nameplates in the table are not fabricated in Europe or North America, which were shut bottomward for abundant of the two antecedent months, manufacturing-wise? In added words, as a applied matter, which ones are fabricated in Asia?
I see alone four: Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-9, Infiniti QX80 and Nissan Armada. Alone those four. One fabricated in Korea, three in Japan. The blow are fabricated in North America or Europe.
Nissan, which owns Infiniti, doesn’t address account U.S. sales numbers anymore – but Mazda still does: Mazda Reports May Sales After-effects | Inside Mazda. In May 2020, Mazda CX-9 sales were up 21%. It supports the Hyundai Palisade above accumulation thesis.
With all but three competitors “out of production,” the appropriate affinity for the Hyundai Palisade’s (and Mazda CX-9) May 2020 U.S. sales result, is the arena in the cine “Forrest Gump” in which they are the alone shrimp baiter that happens to be out to sea and becomes the alone survivor of the storm, which destroyed the competition’s adeptness to produce. Hence, “Bubba Shrimp” was born. In May 2020, the Hyundai Palisade became the Bubba Shrimp of the U.S. 3-row SUV market.
And that’s a almost acceptable affair – for Hyundai.
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Disclosure: I am/we are abbreviate TSLA. I wrote this commodity myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not accepting advantage for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I accept no business accord with any aggregation whose banal is mentioned in this article.
Additional disclosure: At the time of appointment this commodity for publication, the columnist was abbreviate TSLA. However, positions can change at any time. The columnist consistently attends columnist conferences, new agent launches and equivalent, hosted by best above automakers. Hyundai and Kia hosted artefact intros.
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