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Hyundai Amps it Up for SEMA

South Korean maker rolls out six special models.

by on Nov.04, 2014

The Blood Type Genesis Sedan bumps the recently redesigned four-door’s Tau V-8 up to an impressive 700 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque.

There’s plenty to keep your interest piqued at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, whether you’re looking for performance parts, appearance upgrades – even such mundane things as in-car air fresheners. And then there are all the customized cars, including a wide array sponsored by manufacturers like Hyundai.

The Korean carmaker used its SEMA news conference to pull the wraps off six special models, each offering a different take on one of its production vehicles, like the Genesis sedan and coupe, and the latest-generation Hyundai Sonata.

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“I like to see cars we build reimagined,” explained Mike O’Brien, Hyundai’s vice president of corporate and product planning. (more…)

Korean Unions Protest Hyundai’s $10B Headquarters

Plans to build new home in Gangnam district raises ire.

by on Sep.29, 2014

Hyundai Motor Chairman Mong-Koo Chung is feeling the heat after paying $10 billion to put the maker's new headquarters in Seoul's ritzy Gangnam district.

Not everyone is pleased about Hyundai Motor Co. going “Gangnam Style.” The South Korean automaker faces more labor unrest following the group’s decision to spend $10 billion for a plot of land in Seoul’s most fashionable Gangnam district.

The unions staged a partial strike at Hyundai Motor factories last week and announced plans to continue to walkouts again this week to show their displeasure with the recent decision to spend money on a record-breaking bid for what is described as an expensive trophy property while demanding wage restraint from the workers in its automotive factories.

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The Hyundai-led group – which includes sister firms Kia Motors Co and Hyundai Mobis Co – made the record bid for the land earlier this month. Hyundai’s bid for the property was more than triple the property’s appraised amount as it outbid Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant. (more…)

Hyundai One-(HP)-Ups the Dodge Hellcat

708-hp Sonata concept coming to SEMA Show.

by on Sep.22, 2014

Hyundai's SEMA concept will just nudge past the 707-hp Dodge Challenger Hellcat in the HP race.

Better check the rearview mirror, Dodge, there’s a Hyundai trying to pass your new Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Once again partnering with aftermarket tuner house Bisimoto Engineering, the Korean carmaker plans to bring a customized version of the 2015 Sonata sedan to the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas. And the concept vehicle reportedly will make a hefty 708-horsepower, a small but significant one more than the Dodge muscle car.

Power to the People!

And where the Detroit maker relies on a supercharged version of its 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 to create what it is billing as the most powerful factory-built muscle car ever, Hyundai and Bisimoto turned to a downsized four as their starting point.

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FCA, Hyundai Movin’ on Up with New HQs

Automakers pick pricey digs to call home.

by on Sep.19, 2014

Fiat Chrysler's headquarters in London has an impressive neighbor: the Queen of England. Photo Credit: Buckingham.palace.london.arp

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Hyundai Motor suddenly have one thing in common: a willingness to spend big money for their new headquarters buildings in Great Britain and South Korea.

The two companies recently plunked down cash on for locations that raised eyebrows. Fiat Chrysler (FCA) is putting its international home in the most expensive office district in the world in London’s West End.

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FCA agreed to lease three floors in The Economist Plaza, a building on St James’s Street that also houses The Economist magazine and is a 10-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, according to Bloomberg. The area is home to some of London’s priciest shopping. (more…)

Kia Announces $1 billion Mexican Assembly Plant

Factory set to open in 2016; add much-needed production capacity.

by on Aug.28, 2014

The new plant is expected to produce several small models, including a version of the Kia Forte Koup.

Desperate to add more much-needed production capacity, Kia Motors will become the latest automaker to open a new assembly plant in Mexico.

Intended to serve markets up and down the Americas, the $1 billion plant will begin operations in just two years, and will be tooled to eventually build as many as 300,000 vehicles annually. The facility is expected to produce a number of different compact models, according to the Korean carmaker, though it did not identify specific plans yet.

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The factory will become one of a growing list of automotive assembly plants operating in the Spanish-speaking country, Mexico already on target to become the sixth-largest auto-producing nation in the world as makers such as Nissan, Audi and now Kia set up shop or expand existing production facilities.

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Hyundai Agrees to $17.35 Million Fine from NHTSA

Feds slap maker for failing to report brake problem in five days.

by on Aug.08, 2014

Hyundai was fined $17.35 million for failing to report a brake problem on 2009-2012 Genesis sedans.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration levied a $17.35 million fine against Hyundai for taking too long to report a brake defect on 43,500 vehicles. The fine is the first evidence that federal regulators are stepping up enforcement, officials said.

“Safety is our top priority, and all automakers should understand that there is no excuse for failing to report a safety-related defect, as required by law,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “This Administration will act aggressively and hold automakers accountable when they put the American public at risk.”

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Earlier this year, the agency fined General Motors a record $35 million for its handling of the ignition switch problem that resulted in the recall of more than 2.6 million vehicles, 13 deaths and dozens of injuries. GM recently began accepting claims from victims and their families injured or killed as a result of the problem, and it set aside $400 million to pay the claims. (more…)

Hyundai Issues Third Recall in One Week

Korean maker recalls 420,000 vehicles.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Hyundai is recalling 61,000 Veracruz models from 2007-2012 for electrical issues.

After recalling 889,000 Sonatas a few days ago, the company added another 420,000 vehicles to its recall list, including the Sonata again, for brake, electrical and rust issues.

The South Korean maker is taking back 225,000 Santa Fe crossovers in 20 cold weather states. The 2001 to 2006 model year vehicles may have rusted coil springs that could fracture and puncture a tire. The springs impacted are in states that use salt on their roads in the winter.

The Last Word!

For the third time, the company is recalling Sonatas. This time, 133,000 2011 Sonatas may be leaking brake fluid, which could cause the car to take longer to stop and perhaps end up in a collision. (more…)

Hyundai Tells Drivers to Park 2015 Sonata

Major brake problem forces recall; Toyota pressured to recall Camrys.

by on Jul.30, 2014

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata's being recalled for the second time since its introduction. This action involves faulty brakes.

Hyundai issued its second recall on its 2015 Sonata and ordered drivers to park the newly introduced sedan due to a problem with its brakes. At the same time, the pressure on Toyota to do the same with thousands of Camrys is ramping up.

The South Korean automaker is recalling 5,700 Sonatas built from April 25 to June 16 due to a manufacturing error that may cause either or both of the front brake calipers to fracture making it more difficult to stop the car. The fix requires replacement of the faulty brake calipers.

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Hyundai recalled the Sonata last month for a faulty wiring harness that could limit the effectiveness of the power steering. (more…)

Buyers Question Value of Trouble-Prone Tech Features

New JD Power APEAL study finds buyers, on whole, less satisfied with latest vehicles.

by on Jul.23, 2014

Porsche dominates APEAL with products like the 911.

Automakers are intent on entering the connected world, loading their latest vehicles up with high-tech features such as 4G WiFi hotspots, voice-operated navigation, and even infotainment systems that can read out Facebook posts. But while these may appeal to young, tech-savvy shoppers, other buyers question the benefits, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates.

The quality consultancy’s latest APEAL study finds that, on the whole, car buyers are slightly less pleased with the new cars, trucks and crossovers they are being offered this year. But the survey of recent buyers did find gains in owner satisfaction when it comes to improvements in vehicle fuel economy. Buyers are much more ambiguous about high-tech additions to their new vehicles.

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Porsche was the highest-ranked brand in the latest study, while Hyundai delivered a surprise by landing the top spot among mainstream brands.

“Manufacturers often look to new features and technologies to keep their vehicles fresh and attractive, but designing systems that consumers find intuitive and easy to use has been a challenge,” said Power Vice President Renee Stephens.

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Despite Skeptics, Fuel-Cell Vehicles Hit the Market

“Fool cells” or “fuel of the future”?

by on Jul.15, 2014

Toyota Executive Vice President Mitsuhisa Kato reveals the company's new FCV fuel cell vehicle in Japan.

Hyundai’s first fuel-cell vehicle, a zero-emissions version of its Tucson sport-ute, has just gone on sale in Southern California, and hydrogen-powered Honda and Toyota models will follow in the months ahead.  Mercedes-Benz is fleet testing its own F-Cell model, and other makers, such as General Motors, may soon enter the fuel-cell market, as well.

To proponents, hydrogen is the ultimate form of clean energy, and one that overcomes many of the drawbacks of battery power such as limited range and long charging cycles. Yet reaction to the technology remains sharply divided.

Fuel for Thought!

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of TeslaMotors, the California-based battery-carmaker, has repeatedly asserted that hydrogen vehicles will never pay off commercially, deriding them as “fool cells.”

But after years on the back burner as money and resources were shifted to battery technology, hydrogen has been regaining momentum in the U.S. and abroad.

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