Hyundai working to improve dealership network

With a much improved product lineup in place, Hyundai is now focusing on improving its existing dealership network.

With Hyundai's product transformation now well underway, the Korea automaker is turning its focus to its next major project - its dealer network.

For years Hyundai dealerships have relied on volume to drive profits, which turned away many of the big name dealership groups. As a result most Hyundai stores were run by smaller entities with shallower pockets, but that tide is starting to turn.

So far this year 40 Hyundai dealerships have changed hands, with 19 of those transactions happening after September 1. The transition appears to be working too with the first 21 stores to change hands increasing their average monthly sales from 25 new vehicles to 48 vehicles.

"We're starting to get really, really good dealers that haven't been Hyundai dealers before coming in, buying franchises and paying good blue sky for a franchise," Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America's sales boss, told Automotive News. "So now I don't add any more dealers. I get a good, experienced dealer in who gives us better facilities; he doubles sales, and I keep the same dealer count. It's a win-win situation."

Hyundai says it initiated about half of the 40 dealership owner changes.

If Hyundai can continue its product and dealer renovation, it could have a real shot at vying for the top U.S. spot. Earlier this month Hyundai announced it set a new U.S. yearly sales record in October, leaving two months to build on that record sales total.

1.'Next Hyundai phase...' view