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After Genesis: Hyundai Looking to Take on BMW 3-Series

But Korean carmaker won’t flood showrooms with luxury models.

by on Apr.08, 2014

The new Genesis sedan will attempt to take on German rivals, such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, more directly.

In the beginning, there was Genesis.  But even as its second-generation luxury sedan begins rolling into showrooms, Hyundai is looking at its options for expanding its presence in the luxury car market, the maker’s top U.S. executive told And one very strong possibility will be to take on the vaunted benchmark of the compact luxury segment, the BMW 3-Series.

But it has already ruled out several possibilities and Hyundai Motor America’s new CEO Dave Zuchowski cautions that there’s a limit to how many new upscale models it plans to put in its showrooms.  Despite the higher profit potential of cars like the Genesis and even bigger Equus, he stressed, Hyundai isn’t walking away from its traditional “value” segment focus.

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“Genesis is our halo vehicle,” said Zuchowski, during an interview in Phoenix following a media drive of the 2015 luxury sedan.  “It elevates our brand and says we can compete with the best in the world.  But Genesis is all about image and prestige and the Sonata is all about volume,” the new CEO stressed, referring to the next-generation midsize sedan due to follow later this year.


Hyundai Stepping up the Pace with Vehicle Debuts

New Genesis, Sonata expected to make an impact.

by on Apr.02, 2014

Hyundai is ready roll out the 2015 Genesis this month, while the Sonata will be available this summer.

After something of lull last year, Hyundai is preparing to replace two key vehicles, the Genesis and the Sonata, as it begins to pick up the pace of its product launches.

Dave Zuchowski, chief executive officer Hyundai Motor America, said the introduction of new vehicles was vital to Hyundai’s growth, following the 2008-2009 recession, “Our product cadence has been very aggressive and that’s contributed to our success,” he said. “We doubled our volume over the past five years.”

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Even though the company’s expansion was slower last year, Hyundai’s sales still grew by a modest 2.5%. In addition, Hyundai’s standing with customers has steadily improved and they are also quick to recommend the brand to others. (more…)

First Official Look: 2015 Hyundai Sonata

Larger, more mature design, more new features.

by on Mar.24, 2014

Hyundai pulls the wraps off the all new 2015 Sonata during a preview in Korea.

It’s turning into a big year for the folks at Hyundai. Not only is the Korean carmaker set to start selling its next-generation Genesis luxury sedan, but it’s also getting ready to roll out an all-new version of the Sonata line.

Long an also-ran in the midsize segment, the outgoing Sonata was a real game-changer for Hyundai, showing that the maker could build more than just base econo-boxes.  It was surprisingly well-equipped for the segment, still reasonably affordable – and it introduced the maker’s distinctive Fluidic Sculpture design language.

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We got to see the updated styling approach, Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, with the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis, and the basic language carries over to the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, starting with the more distinctive grille, but also translating into a design that is a far bit more subdued – mature, if you prefer – than the over-the-top creases and curves of the outgoing midsize sedan.


Hyundai Experiences Déjà vu on Mileage Rating

Korean automaker overstates Sonata’s capability.

by on Mar.17, 2014

Hyundai is restating mileage numbers again. This time it accidentally handed out press materials for the new Sonata with the incorrect figure.

Like a relentless case of déjà vu, Hyundai is restating the mileage rating on another one of its vehicles. This time the 2014 Sonata sees its rating drop from 29.6 mpg to 28.4 mpg.

The new model went through a redesign and as part of that, the South Korean automaker tested the car at its facilities and actually determined the mileage to be 28.4 mpg; however, the number changed between the time of those results and press materials were developed. The company told media at its debut in South Korea that the mileage rating was 29.6 mpg.

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The company caught the error and issued an apology to the media that attended the event. (more…)

Hyundai, Kia Agree to Settlement Over Fake Fuel Economy Numbers

Nearly 900,000 U.S. owners eligible for settlements.

by on Dec.24, 2013

Hyundai and Kia overstated mileage by as much as 6 mph for vehicles such as this Soul.

Nearly 900,000 American owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles could be in for an unexpected holiday present, the settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed following revelations the two Korean carmakers had faked fuel economy numbers on a variety of models sold during the 2011 to 2013 model-years.

Following an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the two manufacturers – both owned by the same, Seoul-based conglomerate – acknowledged that the stated mileage of products like the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Soul had been inflated by anywhere from 1 to 6 miles per gallon.

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Hyundai originally offered to reimburse owners on an annual basis for higher fuel costs – plus a 15% bonus for the inconvenience – but the process requires motorists to visit a dealership each year to have their payment calculated depending upon how many miles they have clocked.


Hyundai Intrado Hydrogen Car Coming to Geneva

Making it possible for fuel cell technology to “take flight.”

by on Dec.11, 2013

The Hyundai Intrado Concept borrows its name from the part of a wing that enables flight.

Only weeks after announcing plans to put its first fuel-cell vehicle into production by spring, Hyundai is ready to reveal another hydrogen car concept.

And the Intrado prototype coming to the 2014 Geneva Motor Show appears to underscore how serious the Korean carmaker is about taking fuel cell technology out of the science lab and putting it onto the road.

The Intrado is more than just a technical exercise, however, the concept incorporating the second-generation Fluidic Design styling language that Hyundai recently revealed with the unveiling of its 2015 Genesis luxury sedan.

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“Hyundai Intrado envisages a motoring future that encapsulates the efficiency and freedom associated with flying,” explained Peter Schreyer, President & CDO of Hyundai Motor Group. “I believe in the power of mobility to deliver emotional as well as physical connections and this car helps us find again the joy of discovery. Intrado shows that future cars can be both relevant and exciting.”


Hyundai Topples Toyota in Repair Rankings

GM, Chrysler make major leaps.

by on Dec.04, 2013

Low repair costs for models like the Elantra helped Hyundai leapfrog Japanese rival Toyota.

One maker has traditionally ranked at the top of the quality, reliability and dependability charts, the other has spent years struggling to reverse its early image of building low-quality econoboxes.

So, it may come as a shock to see Hyundai toppling Toyota from the top rank in the latest Vehicle Health Index, a survey of annual repair costs plotted by website CarMD.  But after spending two consecutive years in second place, behind the Japanese giant, Hyundai has landed in the top spot – which means the annual cost of maintaining and repairing a Hyundai is now the lowest of any brand.

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General Motors, which has been rapidly gaining ground in other recent quality and reliability studies, landed in third place in the Vehicle Health Index followed by what might come as another surprise, Chrysler landing in fourth place, ahead of Honda, another Japanese maker traditionally linked to high quality.


Hyundai Moves Even More Up-Market with Gen-2 Genesis

Distinctive design, new features, improved ride and handling.

by on Nov.26, 2013

The new Hyundai Genesis, codenamed DH, will reach U.S. showrooms for the 2015 model-year.

In the beginning, there was Genesis.  The first effort by Hyundai to crack the luxury market was a shock to those who thought Korean carmakers could produce little more than econoboxes.  The big sedan – targeting no less formidable a competitor than the BMW 5-Series – went on to win the coveted North  American Car of the Year trophy after its debut in 2008.

In hindsight, while the original Genesis sedan was unquestionably a big leap for Hyundai, it probably wasn’t quite up to its European competitors.  Its design was generic, its ride was plush but hardly the stuff of a 5-Series when it came to flogging the Genesis around corners.  Value pricing was a critical part of the equation – much like the original Lexus models, nearly two decades earlier.

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But Hyundai’s aspirations are anything but modest.  During a recent visit to the maker’s R&D center in the Seoul suburb of Namyangju, senior company officials made it clear that they’re readying a number of additional entries into the luxury segment, including an update of their full-size 7-Series fighter, the Hyundai Equus.


Skeptics Doubtful About Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Infrastructure lacking, and will hydrogen be as clean as promised?

by on Nov.25, 2013

Honda revealed a prototype of its own next-gen hydrogen car during the LA Auto Show.

With three different automakers announcing production plans for new fuel-cell vehicles at the L.A. Auto Show, hydrogen power is back in the headlines. But even with Honda’s global autos chief Tetsuo Iwamura calling the technology the “ultimate” solution in the search for clean mobility, not everyone is quite convinced.

With only a handful of fueling stations yet available – and plenty of questions left about how to even produce hydrogen efficiently — some skeptics argue that fuel cell technology remains, as the old adage goes, “the fuel of the future and always will be.”

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Among the many skeptics is Elon Musk, the CEO of electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors, who recently asserted there is “no way” hydrogen can become a viable alternative to battery power, never mind the well-entrenched internal combustion engine. Fuel cells, he argued, are too complex, too costly and there’s a complete lack of a production and distribution network.


Hyundai Introduces Freshened Elantra for 2014

New model gets more powerful engine, improved handling.

by on Nov.21, 2013

Hyundai freshened the Elantra for 2014 giving it a sportier look and improving its performance.

Boasting multiple design changes and a more powerful engine, Hyundai unveiled the refreshed 2014 Elantra at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The updated Elantra features 75 additional or redesigned pieces, according to Mike O’Brien, Hyundai Motor America vice president of product development.

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“It’s more than just a facelift,” said O’Brien, who noted that while the Elantra has held its own in the compact segment, including cars such as the Mazda3, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai was committed to make significant improvements in the 2014 model. (more…)