Hyundai Sonata’s Worldwide Cumulative Sales Surpass Five Million Units

Published on June 17th, 2010

Hyundai Motor Company’s mid-size sedan, the Sonata, reached cumulative sales of 5 million units worldwide as of May 2010. Sonata is the third Hyundai model to reach the landmark figure, following the sub-compact model, Accent (Verna), and the compact car, Elantra (Avante), which broke the mark in 2001 and 2008 respectively.

Sales of Sonata exceeded one million units in 1994 and the four-million mark was surpassed in 2007. In less than 3 years, Sonata added another one million units to its sales to reach the five million cumulative sales.

“The five million mark is a testament to Hyundai’s continuous quality improvement, technological advancement and differentiated design,” said Steve S. Yang, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor. “It’s Korea’s No. 1 sedan and now aims to be a game changer for the segment worldwide.”

Of the total, 2.7 million units were sold in Korea while 2.3 million were sold in overseas markets. The U.S. was the biggest market for Sonata outside Korea with 1.3 million cumulative sales. Sales of Sonata from overseas markets accounted for two-thirds of total sales this year, demonstrating the growing popularity of the latest version abroad.

When the cars are lined up bumper to bumper (overall length 4,820 mm), the length is equivalent to one round trip between Seoul and New York (one-way distance 11,000 km). When the cars are piled up (overall height 1,470 mm), the 5 million units are about 800 times the height of the Mount Everest (8,848m).

Sonata is now entering its sixth generation since its launch in 1985, gaining steady popularity worldwide as Hyundai’s leading sedan and competing head to head against Toyota’s Camry and Honda’s Accord.


Launched in 1985, the first generation Sonata was based on the mid-sized car called Stella and came with a 2-liter engine. The second generation Sonata in 1988 was the first Korean mid-sized to be fitted with a front wheel drive system. The third generation Sonata was the first in its class to be fitted with airbags, while the fourth generation Sonata in 1998 was mounted with the high performing Delta engine that was developed entirely with proprietary technologies.

Hyundai launched the fifth generation Sonata in 2004 to target the overseas mid-sized vehicles market. This version delivered powerful performance through its unique, innovative Theta engine. With the segment-leading safety features and premium specifications, Hyundai sold over 1.5 million units worldwide.

The U.S. launch of the fifth-generation Sonata started with the opening of the first U.S. assembly plant for Hyundai in May 2005. The Sonata earned broad recognition for its performance and quality, including being chosen as a “Best Bet” by The Car Book in 2006 and 2008. In 2007, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Sonata “Best in Class” in the annual buyer’s guide “Best of 2007 Cars” awards, while Sonata also received Autopacific’s 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Award in the Premium Mid-size car segment.

The sixth and latest generation Sonata (Code name: YF), launched in September 2009 in Korea, adopts Hyundai’s new ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design language and boasts outstanding performance with the powerful 2.4 Theta GDi engine. In the U.S., 21,195 units were sold in May alone, making it into the Top 10 best-sellers in the U.S. for a second month in a row.

The all-new Sonata is also receiving favourable reviews from leading automotive publications : It was the best model from Car and Driver’s mid-sized car comparison tests last April, and in May, Sonata was picked as the best mid-size sedan among eight in ‘The $25,000 Family Sedan Shootout’ co-organized by USA Today,, and MotorWeek.

Hyundai plans to begin sales of the hybrid and turbo version of the all-new Sonata in the U.S. this year and in 2011, will introduce Sonata to China, among other markets, accelerating its overseas market expansion.

text & pix: Hyundai Motor


  1. Posted by Debra Cullen on November 15th, 2010, 18:13

    I mean which company would offer a modern midsized car for $20,000..And have XM satellite radio and bluetooth as standard features even on the base model..And yet deliver fantabulous fuel efficiency,combined wit light weighted-ness and easy to use yet simply awesome controls and handling..This car gives you an awesome driving experience,saves your fuel..(It is not a diesel guzzler), and on top of that comes at a great price and simply amazing features..Now nobody could deny such a car!


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