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Hyundai’s Crown Jewel?

The new Equus sedan is hidden in plain sight in New York!

by on Apr.15, 2009

A bold new grille for a bold entry into the luxury segment?

Equus has bold new grille signifying a contemplated bold move by Hyundai into the luxury segment?

Of the 30-something introductions of new models and concepts at the New York International Auto Show, the one vehicle that could be another Car of the Year award winner for Hyundai was on a turntable on the far side of its display.

This was Thursday afternoon and the last formal presentation of the show. The few remaining out-of-town journalists who hadn’t already gone home were about to split for planes home. And those from the New York metro area were anxious to split for the second night of Passover’s Seder or go home for early Good Friday.

I was staying until the bitter end, and luckily saw Hyundai’s director of public relations from Seoul, Oles Gadacz after leaving another presentation. After exchanging pleasantries, Gadacz commented he was in New York, “to test the waters for their new global luxury flagship, the Equus … that may or may not come to the United States.”

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comGuiding me to the non-functioning display, I saw the gleaming, shimmering  Equus — the result of a three year design and development program, dubbed the VI project, which cost around 500 billion Korean Won or roughly $338 million.

This is a stunning, obviously luxury car front-to-rear and top-to-bottom. Gadacz said, “It will be competitive with the BMW 7-series, Lexus LX460 and Mercedes-Benz S-class and will replace the ten year old previous Equus model.” (more…)

Sneak Peak: Hyundai Nuvis Concept

Forget the show car looks, underneath is a Korean plan to top Japanese hybrid technology.

by on Apr.10, 2009


The innards of Nuvis contain a hybrid powertrain system that the company has big plans for in its quest to surpass the reputation of Japanese automakers as the proven Oriental innovators.

Eleven and counting. That’s how Hyundai bills its Nuvis concept that debuted at the 2009 New York International Auto Show. That is, Nuvis is the eleventh concept vehicle that was designed at the company’s California Design Center in Irvine. While the exterior and interior styling cues are, perhaps, indicators of the Korean brand’s next crossover vehicle, what really counts is what’s underneath all the show car hype and glitz. 

The innards of Nuvis contain a hybrid powertrain system that the company has big plans for in its quest to surpass the Japanese as the proven Oriental innovators. Hyundai has said it will best all competing automakers in North American fuel economy by 2015, a bold statement from what was once a company that purveyed older, discarded Japanese designs. (But then who thought Hyundai could ever overcome its well deserved reputation for poor quality from its first generation of U.S. compact offerings that debuted back in the 1980s?) Still, a Toyota Prius with 50 mpg on the EPA window sticker when it debuts next month is an ambitious, critics would say, unobtainable target. 

So this quest comes down to Hyundai’s “all-new,” Korean designed “Hybrid Blue Drive architecture” that will really define the Nuvis as a successful concept or just another quickly forgotten helping of Asian fast food. Unfortunately little of the technical detail needed to judge whether Hyundai’s rear-drive parallel hybrid drive system is sophisticated enough to run with the proven, pacesetting Toyota technology. 

What is known is encouraging, but it hardly stands as a breakthrough: a relatively fuel-efficient 2.4-liter engine is combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 30kW (205 N-m) electric motor to maximize fuel economy. Hybrid Blue Drive has an all-electric mode and a parallel drive mode, meaning that the wheels are turned by power coming directly from the gasoline engine, or the electric motor, or both together, as conditions demand. This parallel hybrid setup will be foundation for future Hyundai hybrid drive vehicles, starting with the next-generation Sonata in the United States.  (more…)