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Home » Success Stories » From Underdog to Top Dog: Tuscaloosa Hyundai’s Strategy for Winning with Elantra

From Underdog to Top Dog: Tuscaloosa Hyundai’s Strategy for Winning with Elantra


Toyota Corolla is the bestselling car in the world but NOT in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In  Tuscaloosa, Hyundai Elantra owns the distinction of bestselling small car. This isn’t by accident. Tuscaloosa Hyundai (THY) took the time to research the market and look for opportunity, then had the discipline to stay persistent and consistent until they obtained leadership in the segment.


Tuscaloosa Hyundai is located in the Birmingham DMA and is responsible for the area covering west-central Alabama. STRONG would have to develop a strategy to position Elantra, which showed high potential based on demographics and psychographics in the area, against Corolla, Civic and Sentra.


Tuscaloosa County is the home to the University of Alabama and Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing USA and their suppliers. As a result, the geography is younger and more affluent than Alabama as a whole. Plus, Tuscaloosa is only 45 minutes to Birmingham’s southern suburbs home to multiple Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan Dealers. STRONG looked at the area and found the highest potential near the dealership but would have to attack other areas dominated by Honda, Toyota, and Nissan throughout the market. In most markets, Hyundai Elantra is the #1 selling Hyundai model. To be successful THY had to succeed with Elantra and conquest sales from the Japanese import competitors.


Using Elantra as the ad vehicle, Strong recommended a “visible where it counts” strategy with broadcast, direct contact, digital and social. Elantra was featured with price, lease and monthly payment merchandising.


Tuscaloosa Hyundai did not waver on this strategy over 4 years and as a result, gained leadership in the small car segment with Elantra.

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