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Posts Tagged ‘korean automakers’

Hyundai Takes Aim at Toyota with 2015 Sonata

New Korean sedan tones down styling, adds more features.

by on Apr.16, 2014

Hyundai's Dave Zuchowski introduces the new Sonata at the New York International Auto Show.

Not all that long ago, Hyundai was an afterthought in the competitive midsize sedan market, largely focusing on bargain hunting buyers. But all that changed, a few years back, when it introduced a stylish new remake of the Sonata sedan, the first model to showcase its distinctive “Fluidic Sculpture” design language.

For 2015, the Korean carmaker is rolling out an all-new version of the Sonata, and while it is toning down the previous model’s sometimes over-the-top angles and curves, Hyundai is growing more confident it can take on even some of the midsize segment’s most formidable players, notably including the Toyota Camry.

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“The Sonata has been playing a key role in Hyundai Motor’s rapid growth in the global market, as well as leading the development of the Korean auto industry. We are confident that the all-new Sonata will change the landscape of the global midsize sedan market,” said Choong Ho Kim, the maker’s president and CEO, said when the all-new version was unveiled in South Korea last month. Now, U.S. buyers will have a chance to decide as the all-new Sonata makes its American debut at the New York Auto Show. (more…)

Kia Looks to Invade New Territory with K900

Maker says new car provides luxury, technology and value.

by on Feb.12, 2014

Kia is counting on the K900 to help reshape the maker's image among luxury buyers.

The world of luxury automobiles is changing. There are more players in the segment than ever before, including makers that are better known for being affordable rather than luxurious. Kia is looking to be part of the “in” crowd with its first-ever luxury marque, the K900.

The South Korean automaker is counting on open-minded buyers looking for luxury at a great price to help the company gain a foothold in the segment against the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

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Michael Sprague, executive vice president sales and marketing, said that the rollout of the K900 is also part of the South Korean-brand’s long-term strategy, which includes concentrating on boosting the quality of its products, strengthening the overall reputation of the Kia brand, elevating the consumer’s experience while in Kia dealerships and identifying opportunities for new segments for growth. (more…)

Hyundai North America CEO Krafcik Leaving Company

No official reason given for departure, but contract not renewed.

by on Dec.27, 2013

John Krafcik is no longer CEO of Hyundai North America. No explanation was given for his departure.

In a surprise move and without clear explanation, John Krafcik is out as President and CEO of Hyundai North America despite the fact he oversaw the maker’s most successful rise in sales and market share during his five-year run.

Dave Zuchowski, currently Hyundai’s executive vice president of U.S. sales, will take over as President and CEO on Jan. 1, 2014.

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It has been widely reported, several Hyundai competitors targeted Krafcik for senior management positions. While no official explanation was given for his departure, sources tell TheDetroitBureau.com the recruiting was not the reason his contract was not renewed. (more…)

Hyundai Mulls Adding To U.S. Production Capacity

Maker may tweak Alabama plant to build more vehicles.

by on Jun.24, 2013

Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik.

Despite a harried sales pace for the year featuring a record-setting performance in May, Hyundai is still pondering whether to add more assembly capacity in the United States.

Hyundai Motor America Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik said during a visit to Detroit that automaker isn’t sure it’s the right time to add more production capacity in the U.S.

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The maker’s U.S. plant in Montgomery, Ala. is running three shifts. Hyundai added the additional shift last September, which bulked up production by 20,000 units annually.

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U.S. Auto Sales Surge in March

Vehicle sales outpacing the rest of the economy.

by on Apr.02, 2013

March car sales hit a five-year high led by compacts and trucks.

March U.S. auto sales surged to their highest level in more than five years – with several makers reporting all-time records for the month.

But the overall increase was smaller than the double-digit gains of recent months, raising concerns about whether the unexpectedly strong pace of the automotive recovery will continue – especially in the light of continuing concerns about the impact of Washington gridlock on the overall economy.

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Analysts noted that sales incentives have been declining in recent months, even as average transaction prices – what motorists actually pay after adding options and subtracting discounts – has continued rising. On the other hand, pent-up demand appears to be just one of the positive factors likely to keep momentum going after the industry’s worst downturn since the Great Recession.

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March Auto Sales Tracking at Best Rate in Nearly Six Years

Incentives flat, transaction prices rise.

by on Apr.02, 2013

U.S. vehicle sales were up in March led by, in part, truck sales.

While a number of key automakers have yet to formally release their sales numbers, preliminary data suggest that March will see the highest level of U.S. car and truck sales in nearly six years.

Preliminary indications suggest that sales will average out to an annualized rate of as much as 15.6 million – well above current industry forecasts for all of 2013 – and the best total since December 2007, just before the U.S. auto market plunged into its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

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The strong March performance appears to reflect a variety of factors, including the availability of a number of new and well-reviewed products, pent-up demand, low interest rates and even tax-refund checks. At the same time, analysts suggest that makers continue reeling buyers into their showrooms despite cutting back on incentives and boosting prices on many models.

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