PAHRUMP, NV – Hyundai’s top U.S. executive isn’t sure how the new 2- and 5-door variantsin its compact Elantra lineup will sell, but says production will be flexible enough to meet demand.

"We want to see how (they) pan out,” John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America CEO tells WardsAuto in an interview here. “We'll be watching the builds on the (the auto maker’s) website and seeing where the (customer) demand patterns are.”

Krafcik’s comments are at odds with what Hyundai officials said in November at a media event in Superior Twp., MI. Company executives at the time estimated the new coupe would comprise 20% of total Elantra sales, with deliveries of the 5-door Elantra GT seen as “incremental.”

Hyundai assembles slightly more than half of the Elantra sedans it sells in the U.S. at its Montgomery, AL, plant. The rest are imported from the auto maker’s Ulsan, South Korea, plant, which also will be the sole source of the coupe and 5-door model. Both variants were unveiled earlier this month at the Chicago auto show.

Because two factories are manufacturing the cars, Krafcik says the production mix easily can be adjusted to meet demand.

He does not know whether the coupe and GT models eventually will be built in Montgomery. The plant added the popular Elantra sedan last year, made possible by shifting the Santa Fe cross/utility vehicle to sister-brand Kia’s West Point, GA, facility. Hyundai also builds the Sonata midsize sedan in Montgomery.

The Elantra GT 5-door comes with a driver-selectable steering system. Krafcik says the technology may filter down to other Hyundai models, but is well-suited to the GT because it will attract buyers shopping that type of car.

“You're going to have folks that are interested in sportier driving and folks that are interested in the function a hatchback provides,” he says. “It was just the perfect place to try it. We'll see how it goes.”

With the proliferation of electric steering systems, offering multiple steering calibrations is a “very easy” thing to implement, Krafcik says. “We go through hundreds, probably thousands, of steering iterations during the development process. It's hard to come up with one calibration that works for everyone.”

GT buyers can choose between normal, city and enthusiast modes, which vary on-center feel depending on speed and whether the vehicle is traveling in a straight line.

One thing not on tap for the GT is a more powerful engine. Krafcik says Hyundai has no plans to match the “hot-hatch” Mazdaspeed3. The Elantra 5-door has the same 148-hp, 1.8L 4-cyl. engine as does the sedan, while the Mazdaspeed3 boasts a 263-hp, 2.3L turbocharged 4-cyl. mill.

The Elantra coupe arrives at U.S. Hyundai dealerships this spring, followed by the GT hatchback this summer.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com