Hyundai is celebrating its one millionth Sonata, which was recently built at the company's Alabama assembly plant. The Sonata is Hyundai's midsize sedan, as well as the best selling vehicle in the company's current lineup.

Hyundai benefits from a speedy growth in popularity and sales in the US; it was just in November of 2009 when the company had built its one-millionth vehicle. Now, thanks to a rapid manufacturing pace of 300,000 Sonatas per year, the company was able to surpass that number with just the one model.

Plant workers cheered as the plant's president drove the milestone Sonata out of the final inspection area of the assembly plant.

The Sonata is built alongside the Elantra in the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery, where company employs 2,500 people.

One of the key reasons for the Sonata's boost in popularity lately is fuel economy. The 2012 Sonata is rated at up to 35 highway MPGs, two more than its Japanese rivals Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Those fuel economy numbers are for a Sonata equipped with the base 2.4-liter direct injection engine with 198 horsepower. The one millionth Sonata was equipped with the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The turbo engine delivers an impressive 274 horsepower, but is rated at a lower 34 highway MPG.

The Hyundai's value isn't limited to fuel efficiency; Hyundai is famous for its best-in-the-business fully transferable 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.

With a base price of $19,695, the Sonata is one of the few midsize cars in America that is available for less than $20,000.

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J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist, car enthusiast and writer with a degree from the University of Arizona. Mark is a devoted Formula 1 fan and also enjoys boating, flying and attending the occasional track day.

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