RETAILING : Hyundai Reacts to Flat Sales With Korean Company’s First Rebate Offer

Compiled by Mary Ann Galante, Times Staff Writer

Faced with 2 months of sagging sales, Hyundai Motor America of Garden Grove on Wednesday began offering its first consumer cash rebate on sales of selected Excel models.

Under the national program, Hyundai buyers are being offered a $1,000 rebate on 1988 and 1989 GLS, GS and SE models, and $600 on GL models, to be collected when customers take delivery. The rebates can also be used to reduce the purchase price of Hyundais.

The South Korean-made Hyundai was introduced in the United States in February, 1986, and became the nation’s best-selling imported subcompact for the next 2 years.

Recently, however, U.S. sales have taken a nose-dive. In January, Hyundai sold 15,174 cars, a 32% drop from the 22,324 sold during the comparable month last year. In February, Hyundai’s sales totaled 14,056, a 37% plunge from the number of cars sold in February, 1988.


Hyundai spokeswoman Debbie Douglas acknowledged that the drop in sales is one reason for the rebate offer. “Hyundai is just trying to compete (and) gain a competitive advantage,” she said.

Douglas added that the program also “offers consumers an exceptional value in a competitive market. . . . So it benefits us and the consumer.”

In addition to the Excel, Hyundai recently introduced the Sonata, a mid-size car.