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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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Hyundai Refines Equus for 2014

From “cheap and cheerful” to posh and luxurious.

by on Mar.27, 2013

Hyundai's 2014 Equus features 30 new and enhanced features to compete against some tough competiton.

If you still think “cheap and cheerful” when someone mentions Hyundai, you obviously haven’t checked out the changes the Korean carmaker has undergone in recent years. And nothing symbolizes that more than the Equus, the maker’s big sedan that takes aim at some pretty formidable competition in the premium-luxury segment.

Less than three years after reaching U.S. shores, the Hyundai Equus is set to undergo some significant updates for the 2014 model-year, which Hyundai revealed this week at the New York Auto Show. That’s probably no surprise considering the tough competition it faces from Europe, Japan and the U.S., notably an all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class the German maker plans to reveal in just a couple months.

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According to Hyundai, there are “30 new and enhanced features,” starting with some immediately obvious tweaks to the exterior and interior. They include new front bumpers and a revised grille, as well as the addition of standard LED fog lamps and new 19-inch “turbine blade” wheels.

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Kia Completes Forte Family with New Koup

Rakish design makes it sportiest entry in the family.

by on Mar.27, 2013

The new Koup rounds out the Kia Forte family.

Kia has ridden a wave of new products to increased sales and market share and it hopes to build on that momentum with the third member of the redesigned Forte line-up – the all-new 2014 Kia Forte Koup SX – that debuted today at the 2013 New York Auto Show.

The Koup SX joins the sedan and hatchback versions of the compact Forte family. Like its siblings, it features European-inspired design and performance to match with a 1.6-liter gasoline direct-injected turbocharged four-cylinder engine putting out 201 horsepower and 195 foot-pounds of torque.

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“The Forte Koup is arguably the sportiest vehicle in our award-winning lineup, and it has helped raise Kia’s brand awareness significantly among automotive enthusiasts,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing & communications, KMA. “Its rakish design, premium amenities and powerful turbocharged engine set it apart from the competition. With the debut of the Forte sedan and five-door earlier this year, and now the Koup in New York, the Forte lineup has been completely revamped from top to bottom.”

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How a New Korean War Would Affect America

Hyundai and Kia are among the companies that stand to lose, after our troops protect their protectionist homeland.

by on Jun.15, 2009

The Hyundai Kia Machine Corporation, Changwon Kyongnam

Even if short-lasting, once we get past U.S. causalities, a war in Korea would be devastating to the U. S. consumer economy.

The possibility of an active war on the Korean peninsula of Northeast Asia should be creating a lot more concern than it has in the United States. And, no, that’s not because it might become a meat-grinder of casualties for young American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines the way it did nearly 60 years ago.

The U. S. has only 28,000 troops in Korea now and is heavily committed, some say over committed, in Iraq and Afghanistan with virtually no support from our alleged allies. Even if short-lasting, once we get past U.S. causalities, a war in Korea would be devastating to the U. S. consumer economy, including the “big box” retailers like Cosco and Best Buy.

As I punch in the letters forming this article, they are appearing on a flat screen monitor made by Samsung, a South Korean conglomerate in a market that is closed to U.S. exports. Samsung also made the cell phone in my shirt pocket, and the TV in the family room. My wife’s new cell phone, like mine from Verizon Wireless, is manufactured by LG, another Republic of Korea electronics maker, once part of the Hyundai Group.

In the matter of a resumption of the Korean War, the Chinese are perhaps our best friends.

In a resumption of the Korean War, the Chinese, believe it or not, are perhaps our best friends.

In the matter of a resumption of the Korean War, the Chinese are perhaps our best friends. Hyundai is unquestionably the most successful new car company in the American market. In the first five months of this year, the leading Korean car company retailed 287,302 Hyundai and Kia cars and trucks here, of which 212,446 were imported. Don’t even ask how many U.S. made cars were allowed to enter the closed Korean market.  This export barrage made Hyundai the sixth largest vehicle seller in the U. S., only 2,000 fewer than fifth-place Nissan managed. But don’t look for them to weigh in on this issue of national security. (more…)

Kia – Out From the Shadows

Hyundai’s little brother growing big on its own.

by on Jun.12, 2009

"The foundation of the brand." While the hip new Soul may be gaining Kia some much-needed attention, it's the Forte that will be the brand's volume leader.

"The foundation of the brand." While the hip new Soul may be gaining Kia some much-needed attention, it's the Forte that will be the brand's volume leader.

In automotive circles, these days, it’s often said that “flat is the new up.”  With most major automakers posting hefty double-digit declines, even a single-digit sales dip, is considered a huge success.

So, with its volume off just 6.8 percent, Kia is among the industry’s “winners,” in the ongoing market collapse.  That’s all the more true when one considers that the South Korean carmaker’s market share has soared from just 2%, last year to 3.1% during the first five months of 2009.

“While we don’t know how things will work out for the year, as a whole,” suggests Tom Loveless, Kia’s vice president of sales, “we’d have to shut down completely not to post some market share gain in 2009.”

For years, Kia lived in the shadow of its bigger sibling, Hyundai Motors.  Suddenly, however, it is carving out an identity of its own.  It’s reversing a reputation for quality problems, and it’s launching stand-out products, such as the new Soul crossover, which has been accompanied by what is arguably the year’s most well-received ad campaign, featuring a pair of hip hamsters. (more…)

Kia Has Soul

New wagon/crossover central to Korean makers growth goals.

by on Mar.13, 2009

Long time waiting; Soul made its debut at the 2007 LA Auto Show.

Long time waiting: The Soul made its debut at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Kia has Soul, and with the addition of the new wagon/crossover, the Korean automaker believes it can buck the downward slide of the U.S. auto market.

Kia believes the flashy new Soul is coming to the U.S. market at just the right time despite the big recession that has driven car sales to their lowest level in decades.  The automaker is projecting sales of 40,000 units this year for the compact.

Tom Loveless, Kia of America vice president of sales, says the Soul marks the first step towards a more expressive design style. “I like to describe Soul as the affordable halo car. It connects with the consumer emotionally. It has huge potential for us,” he said as he presented the car at a press event in Miami.

In addition, the compact size and versatility, coupled with the cutting-edge styling will allow Soul, which is officially classified as a small station wagon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to pull buyers from a broad cross section of cars and crossover vehicles, Loveless said. “This car will give us an opportunity to increase market share,” he said.

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