Hyundai has discontinued the Sonata luxury sedan in India, on account of poor sales. This is the fourth D-Segment sedan to be discontinued from the Indian car market in the past couple of years. Honda has culled the Accord while Volkswagen has pulled the Passat out. With Nissan stopping the Teana sales for the past few months, Hyundai is the fourth manufacturer to have joined this brigade.
December 2014 was a month when Hyundai discontinued another car, the hugely successful Santro Xing.
While the future of the Sonata and the Teana remain uncertain, the Accord will make a comeback in 2016, with the B8 MQB platform based Passat due to arrive later this year. Hyundai’s decision to discontinue its flagship sedan offering in India, has to do with the car’s biggest handicap, the lack of a turbo diesel engine under the hood. Luxury cars in India, by default, sell well only if offered with a diesel engine option.
Launched in 2012, the Sonata Fluidic, has been a petrol-only car, choosing to make do with a 2.4 liter-4 cylinder gas direct injection (GDI) motor with 198 Bhp-250 Nm. This engine was paired to 6 speed manual and automatic transmission options, both of which drove the front wheels. The car that’s just been discontinued was the third generation of the Sonata sold in India.
The first, a Jaguar lookalike that was launched in 2001, was petrol only and never made the cut due to its thirsty ways. In its second, more German looking iteration that made a 2005 debut, the Sonata was called the Embera. 2009 saw the Transform arriving. Both the Embera and the Transform versions of the car offered both petrol and turbo diesel power. Yet, the car failed to capture the imagination of the car buyer as back then, Hyundai was known primarily as a purveyor of budget cars.
While the South Korean automaker’s image has now assumed an upward swing, the lack of a diesel option put paid to the third generation Sonata’s plans of succeeding here. While there has been some chatter about a new turbo diesel engine being developed for use in the Next-Generation Sonata that packs the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design philosophy, it remains to be seen if Hyundai will bring back this D-Segmenter with an oil burner under the hood. For now though, the Sonata will go into history as a car that tried thrice and failed all three times.