AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
It made quite a big splash in re-designed 2012 form, not only garnering the prestigious North American Car of the Year title, but also proving quite a hit with shoppers in the compact segment.
Now, Hyundai has released official information regarding features and equipment for the car’s sophomore season, though updates are somewhat low key for 2013 after last year’s sweeping changes.
A new color, Atlantic Blue, has been added to the roster, while the base GLS with a manual gearbox gets a higher level of standard equipment (essentially last year’s Comfort Package). This includes standard air conditioning, telescopic steering wheel, tinted glass, cruise control and 16-inch steel wheels.
On the higher trimmed Limited, a power driver’s seat with standard lumbar has been added, while Dual zone automatic climate control now forms part of the Technology Package option.
As per its debut season, the 2013 Elantra is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque. Offered with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transaxle, Hyundai says this motor is capable of delivering 40 miles per gallon on the open road, as well as Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) status (a 145 hp version of this engine is rated at Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle status in California, Oregon and several North East states).
With gas currently selling for around $4.00 per gallon, Hyundai is betting that this year, more and more Americans will be drawn to the idea of compact size vehicles with high feature content that deliver decent fuel mileage, cars very much like the current Elantra.
The current state of economy and the ever rising price of fuel is changing car buying habits in American households. Where once mid-size sedans like the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry ruled, those spots are now being replaced by smaller cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra (above).
Consumer survey specialists J.D. Powers and Associates is forecasting that for the first time in two-decades, the compact car will outsell the mid-size car by the end of this year. It also predicts that by 2015, about 20% of cars sold in the U.S. will be compacts, and mid-size vehicles will occupy only 14% of the market.
Part of the reason for this shift in vehicle sizes has to do with the size and technology of compact cars sold currently. These days, you can find all manner of gadgets and luxury features in a compact car, plus they are getting bigger in size. For instance, the current Corolla is only 10-inches shorter than its Camry sibling, so it is no longer a small, small car.
With all the advantages of a bigger vehicle available in a slightly smaller, more fuel efficient package, at a considerably lower price tag (typically $5000 less), no wonder more and more people are choosing to downsize their vehicles.
Several years ago the prospect of seeing Chery cars on our shores appeared imminent, thanks to a deal signed between the Chinese automaker and entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin.
However the deal fell apart and further plans to market cars in the US, including fledgling deals with Chrysler during its dark Cerberus period have come to nought.
Now, Chery is eying the European market, attempting to market a compact sedan called the Qoros that’s the result of a joint venture with Israel Corp (the Middle Eastern nation’s largest holding company). The Qoros is said to be more upmarket than anything Chery currently produces at home and both companies have ambitious plans, setting initial production targets of 150,000 units a year, with a new factory being constructed near Shanghai to produce the car.
In order to be sold in Europe, the Qoros will have to meet, among other things, NCAP safety standards; a goal has been set of achieving five-star crash status and former Mini design direct Gert Hildebrand has signed up to work on the project, while Austrian company Magna-Steyr is reported to be actively involved.
Whether such ambitions plans will come to fruition remains to be seen, especially in lieu of Chery’s previous failed attempts to infiltrate Western markets and past legal issues, ranging from trademark infringements to shady contract dealings. Nonetheless, if the Qoros does succeed, it just might mark the start of a new era in the automotive business and renewed low price competition in the European marketplace.
[Source: Left Lane News]