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First Drive: 2017 Hyundai Elantra

More technology, better ride equate to new competitor in compact car segment.

by on Feb.01, 2016

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra boasts improved handling and more technology in its latest iteration.

The buzz throughout the car business revolves around utility vehicles and trucks.

But compact cars remain one of the industry’s largest segments and Hyundai, the ambitious South Korean automaker, plans to intensify the competition with the new version of the popular Elantra with subtle and not so subtle improvements.

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The automaker is ramping up the availability of safety technology on the new compact, such as automatic braking, as well as connectivity services, such as Apple CarPlay. The focus on technology both for safety and fun should worry rivals like Honda and Toyota that have long dominated the segment. (more…)

Hyundai Set to Launch 1st Pickup, Flood of New SUVs

Official Santa Cruz announcement to come by April.

by on Jan.29, 2016

Hyundai won raves for the Santa Cruz concept, a car-based pickup unveiled in early 2015.

In a market increasingly dominated by pickups and utility vehicles, Hyundai is “out of whack,” with a car-dominated model mix, but that’s about to change, says the company’s top U.S. executive.

Sometime before April, the Korean carmaker is formally planning to announce it will build the well-received Santa Cruz pickup that debuted in concept form at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. But it will be just one in a flurry of new crossover-based models for both the mainstream Hyundai and new Genesis luxury brands, officials have confirmed.

“We’re out of whack, a fish swimming upstream,” in the current environment, said Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski, noting that while truck models currently account for 58% of the U.S. vehicle market, they make up barely 27% of Hyundai’s American volume.

Keep on Truckin'!

And without getting more in line with market trends, Hyundai is beginning to see its steady growth begin to sputter, officials acknowledged during a media preview of the new Elantra sedan in San Diego.

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Toyota Snags Two More Sales Records

Corolla again dominates global sales.

by on Jan.25, 2016

Toyota completely redesigned the Corolla in 2014, aiming to shed its plain vanilla image.

While it has yet to release its final, 2015 results, Toyota is expected to retain its crown as the world’s best-selling automaker, a lead it has held since 2012. But the Japanese automaker has two other victories it can celebrate.

The Toyota Corolla was yet again the world’s best-selling vehicle in 2015, with buyers snapping up 1,339,024 of the compact model. That’s up 4.7% for the year, with the Corolla accounting for a whopping 1.5% of the global new vehicle market. It also marks the highest sales for any single vehicle in automotive history, according to tracking service Focus2Move.

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Despite the headaches it suffered as a result of the revelation last September that it had cheated on diesel emissions tests, Volkswagen managed to nudge its way into second place with the compact Golf line delivering a hefty 8.4% jump in sales for the year, at 1,041,279 vehicles sold worldwide.

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Honda’s Hydrogen-Powered Clarity to Cost $60,000

Japanese maker set to be third to market fuel-cell vehicle.

by on Jan.22, 2016

Honda revealed its Clarity fuel-cell vehicle in LA, and will put it into production later this year.

Honda’s new Clarity Fuel Cell sedan might be able to save the environment, but it’s likely to cut into the saving of customers who want to buy one.

The hydrogen car, set to reach U.S. showrooms “before the end of 2016,” will carry a sticker price of around $60,000, according to the Japanese maker, about $2,000 more than the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle launched late last year. But, at $499 a month, the Clarity will go for the same lease rate as the Mirai and a hydrogen-powered version of Hyundai’s Tucson SUV.

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“The company will start by leasing vehicles and expects to move to retail sales with increased volumes and market coverage,” Honda said in a news release. Initially, it noted, the Clarity Fuel Cell sedan will be offered only in Los Angeles and Orange countries, and around San Francisco and the California capital of Sacramento.

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Feds, 18 Automakers Agree to Form Broad Consortium to Improve Auto Safety

First joint project to focus on cyber-security; concept modeled after successful aerospace effort.

by on Jan.15, 2016

U.S. Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx, surrounded by industry leaders, at the news conference.

© 2016 TheDetroitBureau.com

In an unprecedented move, 18 global automakers have agreed to form a broad consortium aimed at not only developing advanced safety technology but also bringing it to a broad a range of consumers as quickly as possible.

The concept was modeled after a similar and successful program developed by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration to work with aerospace manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus.

The Last Word!

The first of what could become a wide range of projects is already underway, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned. The members of the new consortium agreed earlier this month to pool resources in an effort to thwart the threat of hackers. Cyber-security is considered a critical issue as the industry adds more digital technology to vehicles and works towards a collective goal of putting autonomous vehicles on the road.

The new safety consortium is a “strong start,” and a “new approach,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, surrounded by senior executives from all 18 automakers.

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Hyundai Takes Wraps off Genesis G90 Flagship

Automaker launches premium brand.

by on Jan.11, 2016

Hyundai debuted its Genesis G90: the flagship sedan for the maker's new premium brand.

Hyundai’s long-awaited, executive-level Genesis brand got its first entry: the Genesis G90. The new luxury sedan made its debut at the North American International Auto Show.

The G90 “will deliver a concept of ‘New Luxury’ to our customers,” promised Hyundai R&D chief Woong-Chul Yang during an earlier reveal. “The G90 sits at the pinnacle of the Genesis brand and demonstrates how we apply our human-centered values to give our customer true satisfaction in every aspect of the vehicle ownership experience.”

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The G90, which is known as the EQ900 in Asia, replaces the Hyundai Equus at the top of the automaker’s portfolio. The Equus was Hyundai’s first effort to push into the Premium Luxury market, a segment dominated by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and competitors like the new BMW 7-Series. (more…)

Automakers Shift Production as Sedans Slide, SUVs Surge

More Santa Fe Sports, fewer Sonatas, at Hyundai’s Alabama plant.

by on Jan.08, 2016

The Santa Fe Sport. Hyundai believes it could sell lots more if it had the production capacity.

Hyundai plans to add production of its Santa Fe Sport at its assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama this coming summer, hoping to keep up with a surge in demand for utility vehicles driven, at least in part, by low fuel prices.

The boost in production of the Santa Fe Sport will come at the expense of the Hyundai Sonata, since the capacity of the Alabama plant will remain around 400,000 a year. But that’s no surprise, industry analysts say, as Sonata sales in the U.S. slipped 1.7% in 2015 due to lagging demand for sedans, in general. Sales of the compact Hyundai SUV, however, were limited by a lack of supply.

We're Your Trusted Utility!

And Hyundai isn’t alone, said Stephanie Brinley, a senior automotive analyst with IHS Automotive. “What we are seeing in the 2015 results is an increased appetite for SUVs, with sedans taking a hit.”

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Hyundai Charges into EV Market with New Ioniq

New model comes as HEV,PHEV or simply battery electric.

by on Dec.08, 2015

Hyundai is teasing its new multi platform Ioniq ahead of its debut in January in Korea.

Hyundai is charging up its product portfolio for 2016 with a vehicle it has never offered consumers before: an electric vehicle.

The new Ioniq will be available next year as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure battery electric, which will make the South Korean automaker the first to offer buyers a choice of all three in the same body style.

Tech Talk!

The car will be shown first Korea then it will hit the show circuit for a bit with appearances at the Geneva and New York auto shows in the spring. The automaker hasn’t offered up a timetable for when it will move from show car to showroom model, only that it will happen next year. (more…)

Hyundai Reveals New Genesis G90 Flagship

Rendering closely resembles Vision-G concept.

by on Nov.10, 2015

The Genesis G90 will replace the current Hyundai Equus and top the new luxury brand's line-up.

Think of it as “déjà vu all over again,” or so the late Yogi Berra might have put it.

Hyundai is offering a first look at what the flagship of its new Genesis luxury brand will look like and, it seems, the G90 sedan will look a lot like the Vision-G concept that the maker rolled out for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last August.

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Also to be known as the G900 in the Korean market, the sedan “will deliver a concept of ‘New Luxury’ to our customers,” promised Hyundai R&D chief Woong-Chul Yang. “The G90 sits at the pinnacle of the Genesis brand and demonstrates how we apply our human-centered values to give our customer true satisfaction in every aspect of the vehicle ownership experience.”

(more…)

In the Beginning – How the New Genesis Brand Will Get Off the Ground

Shared dealers, but a unique dealer experience.

by on Nov.05, 2015

Hyundai's US design chief Chris Chapman with the HCD-16 Vision G Coupe concept.

When the new Genesis luxury brand debuts next year, parent Hyundai Motor Co. will introduce it in a careful series of steps, the details of some yet to be worked out, according to insiders and well-informed industry observers.

Only two product lines will be ready at first, both based on Hyundai’s existing, high-end products. And while they will get new names and badges, they will continue to be sold within the confines of existing dealerships, rather than from fancy new showrooms, a move that could significantly reduce Hyundai’s initial cash outlay.

Unique Insight!

But in the years that follow, Genesis will begin to receive an assortment of new products, and will see a focus on new sales and service techniques designed to differentiate the new luxury brand from more established competitors from the U.S., Europe and Japan, sources agree.

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