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The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada announced the Canadian Car of the Year today at the Toronto International Auto Show.
The top three picks were the Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Accent and Kia Optima. All three, among many others were put through a series of tests by 70 Canadian automotive journalists in the last week of October, 2011.
Cars are initially judged within their segment, and then the winners may go on to be selected as the car of the year.
“The Elantra is the best new car we brought to market, ever. I’m happy all the automotive journalists agree with my opinion,” said Steve Kelleher, president and CEO of Hyundai Canada.
The Elantra sells in Canada for a base price of $15,849, CAD, which is roughly the same in U.S. dollars, though it’s about $500 more than the American version.
Last year AJAC picked the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze for the award.
GALLERY: 2012 Hyundai Elantra
De-dooring the Elantra is part of the company’s strategy to pull younger buyers in who they say are willing to sacrifice practicality for coupe appeal. It’s also a product targeted squarely at the Honda Civic Coupe, which has retained its dominance in the category despite rivals like the Kia Forte Koup and Scion tC.
The coupe is pretty-much the same as the sedan, featuring standard Hyundai sensibilities like heated seats, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and more.
In keeping with the push toward a younger crowd, the Coupe gets a few sport-inspired touches, though people purchasing these cars are anything but track junkies. The same 1.8-liter 148-hp four delivers power to the front wheels with Hyundai’s homemade six-speed manual or automatic.
The Coupe won’t however, join the rest of the 40-mpg club in Hyundai’s lineup, missing the bar slightly with a 39 mpg highway rating. Still, a 33 mpg average isn’t half bad and driving enthusiasts can get there with an entertaining 6-speed stick.
Consumers can choose from two trim levels, the base GS or premium SE. Both come with generous standard equipment, but the nicer accouterments like leather seats remain reserved for SE buyers. The wheels also get an inch bigger for the SE, growing from 16 to 17 inches. Finally, an optional technology package is again withheld from the lower-end model but includes a 7-inch infotainment system, rear-view camera, an upgraded stereo and other cool stuff like proximity key entry, push-button start and more.
The sportier SE model gets a stiffer suspension that Hyundai says is designed for the car’s lower-profile tires. Despite getting the coupe treatment, the EPA classifies this as a mid-size car, which is interesting because it competes directly with compacts like the Honda Civic coupe and Kia Forte Koup which are both badged as compacts. Hyundai says it will deliver the best of both worlds (two door sex appeal and rear passenger roominess).
Regardless of the extra bulk, the car still manages to wiggle in between the Honda and Kia’s power to weight ratios, meaning customers can walk *erm drive away without feeling much buyer’s remorse.
GALLERY: 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
GALLERY: 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe Reveal
Watch video of the Elantra Coupe below:
Recently the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Touring was spied testing in Canada, and it appears that the second generation of its Hyundai Elantra Touring model will make its American debut at the upcoming 2012 Chicago Auto Show.
The new Elantra Touring won’t be the only Elantra variant making its debut as the Korean automaker is also planning to unveil a two-door version of their popular compact. But like the current Elantra Touring model in America, the new one will surely be just like the European Hyundai i30, which debuted at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
Interestingly enough, reports are coming in that Hyundai will lose the Touring badge from the model’s name, simply branding it as a five-door hatchback – perhaps trying to get away from the unhip stigma of being a wagon. It is expected to be powered by the same 1.8L engine in the current Elantra model, with 148-hp and achieve 40-mpg on the highway – if you believe Hyundai’s claims. Reports of a 200-hp turbocharged model and a plug-in hybrid variant are still a possibility.
GALLERY: 2013 Elantra Touring Spy Photos
GALLERY: European Hyundai i30 Hatch
Adding to Hyundai’s Super Bowl ad lineup, the automaker’s fourth commercial focuses on the Elantra.
Celebrating its 2012 North American Car of the Year victory, the Elantra takes a 30-second “Victory Lap” during the game. The Elantra won the award in January, and what better time than the Super Bowl to celebrate the big win. Instead of a parade, the Elantra takes a victory lap around the neighborhood with a little fanfare (hey, honking your horn can be considered fanfare.)
Watch Hyundai “Victory Lap” commercial after the jump.
Hyundai might still be under fire by consumers that aren’t having such stellar mpg results with their Elantra, but the Korean automaker had no problems announcing that they’ve achieved the 36-mpg corporate average fuel economy four years ahead of the US government’s rule for 2016.
Hyundai America CEO John Krafcik refuses to step down from the claim that the Elantra is able to achieve its 29/40-mpg claims in the real world, despite owners and even the media stating otherwise. Last month advocacy group Consumer Watchdog petitioned the EPA to re-test the Elantra while Hyundai has been reaching out to unhappy Elantra owners through its dealers to help educate them on their driving patterns and how to increase fuel efficiency.
“I don’t fully understand some of the accusations, but part of it is due to the fact we’re doing better in the marketplace now, and people are aware of and know Hyundai a little bit better than they did a few years ago,” he says. “Probably every car in every car maker’s lineup has people complaining about the real-world fuel economy they’re getting.”
[Source: Wards Auto]
With the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto just around the corner, the finalists for Canadian Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year (the winners of which will be announced during the opening ceremonies of the show on February 16) have been announced.
For the car category, the three finalists are the Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Elantra and Kia Optima (shown above), while in the utility category, they are the BMW X3, Dodge Journey and Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel.
Each of these vehicles won their respective categories during the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s annual Test Fest, which takes place each Fall in Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario. This time out, some 170 vehicles in 11 different categories were evaluated by 70 auto journalists from across Canada, with the CCOTY finalists selected following four days of back-to-back testing on the street, test track and off-road course.
Besides car and utility of the year, AJAC also awards another category at the CIAS, Best New Design. For that one, this year’s three finalists are the Hyundai Veloster, Jaguar XKR-S and Range Rover Evoque.
Little is known about the new CUV, though the third-generation will probably feature the same drivetrain with somewhat improved performance and fuel economy. We’re also guessing the majority of aesthetic updates will be on the inside, keeping in line with the company’s other updated interior designs. Another example is the updated Elantra— you can see pictures-a-plenty of the futuristic design cues in our review.
The Santa Fe got an update in 2010 (pictured above), and the CUV isn’t a poor seller, but it isn’t great either falling into the middle range for overall sales last year with just over 74,000 units sold in North America. That’s a lot better than the abysmal 1,524 Azeras sold last year, or if you really want embarrassing numbers: 18 in December. It’s also nowhere near the Sonata, which capped 2011 off with almost 226,000 units sold.
While a fresh design and a little more horsepower isn’t going to slingshot the Santa Fe to such regal status among the fleet, it could stand to get current Hyundai customers back into the showroom at just the right time, when their 2010 leases are set to expire. Sales have been more-or-less stable since the update, but are on a slow decline, meaning the reiteration is probably a wise choice.
GALLERY: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe
[Source: Motor Trend]
In a contest where any of the three finalists could seemingly have won, the Hyundai Elantra has officially been crowned the 2012 North American Car of the Year. The Elantra beat-out the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Passat for the honor, which was announced today in Detroit at the start of the North American International Auto Show.
The Elantra has been praised for its impressive design, high-grade interior and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that it gets 40-mpg standard – regardless of the transmission choice and without having to purchase an expensive high fuel-efficiency model.
The North American Car of the Year selection process is decided by a panel comprising 50 accredited automotive journalists from the US and Canada.
Last year’s North American Car of the Year was the Chevrolet Volt.
GALLERY: 2012 Hyundai Elantra
Consumer Watchdog is not backing down from its bid of calling out Hyundai‘s MPG claims for their popular Elantra, and has now issued out a letter to Hyundai’s CEO asking the company to pull its prominent 40-mpg claims from car’s advertisements until the EPA re-tests the model.
Elantra owners from around the country are reporting that their vehicles’ average gas rating is more in the 18- to 19-mpg range rather than the advertised 29-mpg city, 40-mpg highway that Hyundai is advertising. To add more fuel to the fire, Consumers Union and Motor Trend’s tests were well short of the 33-mpg combined claim and even the most mileage-obsessed drivers over at Fuelly.com couldn’t get their Elantras close to the 33-mpg claim.
And while most people understand that there is a discrepancy between mpg claims from manufacturers and real world driving scenarios, their complaint lies in the fact that the Elantra falls well beyond a 10-percent difference. Consumer Watchdog is now calling Hyundai out as being deceptive and hope that Hyundai will pull the claims from their ads before more consumers purchase the Elantra under false pretenses.
Motor Trend tested the Elantra to 25.9-mpg while Consumers Union averaged 29-mpg. USA Today on the other hand tested just 22-mpg.
Just when we thought absolutely nothing negative about Hyundai could hit the press, this happens. A group called Consumer Watchdog has requested that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigate Hyundai’s MPG claim on their popular Elantra model.
Hyundai states that the Elantra can get 29-mpg city, 40-mpg highway with a 33-mpg average, but Consumer Watchdog is claiming that the vehicle’s real-world MPG average is more in the mid-20s. Reports are coming in from Elantra owners all over that they’re having a very difficult time achieving any MPG-average in the 30s, with even USA Today tech writer Jefferson Graham reporting that he only average a disappointing 22-mpg.
Hit the jump to read the press release
Honda CEO Takanobu Ito stepped up and assumed responsibility for the Honda Civic’s miserable start in the United States, telling Automotive News that ”The ultimate responsibility rests with me.”
The Civic was left off the Consumer Reports list of recommended vehicles, a rarity for any Honda product. Cheap interior materials were blamed, and many reviewers reported dull styling and driving dynamics as other disappointments. Civic sales are down 15 percent this year, and Honda product planners are hoping for a model refresh as soon as 2013, well ahead of Honda’s usual vehicle schedule.
While Honda decided to stick with a smaller footprint and reduced content for the new Civic (betting on a downward economy) competitors like Hyundai, Chevrolet and Ford went in the opposite direction, offering advanced features like backup cameras, self-parking, powerful engines and bold styling. This approach won out in the end, with the Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus reporting strong sales in the segment.
[Source: Automotive News]
Hyundai has already admitted that they have two sets of tooling for their three-door Veloster, so that Hyundai can switch the door’s location for either left or right-hand drive markets, and the company has admitted that a Veloster with two rear doors is a possibility for the future.
Hyundai is apparently planning a five-door version for European markets, and company representatives were coy when asked whether it was coming to the U.S. Hyundai was similarly evasive regarding the Elantra Touring coming to the U.S., but with previous versions having already made the trip across the ocean, we might as well expect it at an upcoming auto show.
[Source: Car and Driver]
However, Ford can only officially say that the 2012 Focus attains 40 mpg when equipped with the Super Fuel Economy package and six-speed automatic transmission. Ford is eager to prove that the Focus is more fuel efficient regardless or its options, so the American automaker organized a media drive in Romeo, Michigan.
Ford invited reporters to drive the Elantra at a steady 45 miles per hour around the 2.5-mile track. Then the reporters drove a Focus without the SFE package and lapped the track at the same speed. Conditions were equal for both cars and an engineer sat in the backseat, monitoring the fuel economy. The results showed that the average fuel economy of the Focus was 40.4 mpg and the Elantra achieved 37.8 mpg. This proves that the Focus is more efficient at a steady 45 mph than the Elantra.
[Source: Automotive News]
Hyundai will invest $173 million to modify and expand its Alabama engine plant. The expansion also includes a new engine program for the Hyundai Elantra, with a target completion date of March, 2o12. Hyundai will also hire 214 new workers within the plant to build the new engines.
There have also been informal discussions regarding a new U.S plant with at least three states in the Southeast. Hyundai CFO Lee Won-hee stated with the improvement in the auto market, Hyundai could consider building a second U.S factory. Hyundai’s sales have improved by 31 percent so far in 2011.
For all the fuss about Hyundai‘s success in the United States, the Korean automaker is making even bigger waves in Canada, where the brand reigned supreme for Q1 of this year.
While truck sales far outpace car sales in Canada (just like in America – and both markets are topped by the Ford F-Series), Hyundai managed to beat out everyone else in passenger car sales, besting Toyota (including Scion and Lexus) by 219 units and GM by 1,654 units, for total sales of 18,704 cars.
But the race is hardly over, and without a proper truck, Hyundai still lags behind Ford, GM and Chrysler, were which buoyed by their lineup of pickups and other truck-based products. It’s interesting to note that Canada’s light-truck sales are still strong even in the face of higher gas prices (the $4/gallon threshold was passed long ago). On the other hand, passenger cars sold in Canada tend to be small compacts, and Hyundai chose to reveal their 2012 Accent at Canadian auto shows before they made their American debut. With the Accent, Elantra and Veloster all capable of 40 MPG, the brand looks well positioned to do very well in the Canadian marketplace, even if it is a relatively small one.
[Source: Sympatico Autos]
Hyundai may arguably be the hottest mainstream brand in the auto industry, but when it comes to dealer profitability, Hyundai dealers seem to lag behind their less popular rivals.
In a report by Automotive News, the CEO of a large dealer group told the paper that Hyundai “not yet a good business equation for dealers”. Even though the product is red hot, used car sales are weak, traffic through the service department is low and supply of the hot new cars being sold is said to be tight. These three factors are the most crucial when it comes to helping dealers turn a profit, and some potential franchisees are turning away from Hyundai as a result.
While service and used cars can cover as much as 85 percent of costs at a Chevrolet dealership, Hyundai can only count on those for 35 to 40 percent of costs, putting the onus on dealers to move new cars, which have much slimmer margins. Hyundai, for their part, has ambitious goals, aiming to become one of the most profitable dealer franchises around, but acknowledges that some of the factors that have fueled their success, like low sticker prices and reliable vehicles, may actually be hindering their progress.
[Source: Automotive News]
Hyundai has recalled over 190,000 Elantra models over concerns that the passenger side airbags might not work properly.
The Elantras were from the last generation, built from July 2006 to November 2008, and cover model years 2007 to 2009.
The recall deals with a defect in the airbag seat sensor that detects a person’s weight and deploys the airbag accordingly, not deploying the airbag if the passenger is a child, for example. The sensor is located in the center console, and could break easily—if liquid is spilled into the console, for example. Then, the side airbag could fire regardless of the passenger’s size and weight, injuring a child.
Over 96,000 additional Elantras from 2007 and 2008 are also being examined for a driver’s side airbag that could deploy incorrectly if the seat is set in a certain position.
Hyundai is partnering with technology company NAVTEQ to offer drivers a “green” option for route guidance. The “green” choice will apparently yield a 6 percent bump in fuel economy, which should dovetail nicely with Hyundai’s new Sonata Hybrid and their Elantra, Veloster and Accent small cars, which are capable of 40 mpg on the highway.
Of course, driving in anger during a high traffic stop and go commute is the worst way to conserve fuel, but also the most common mode of driving for many people.
Hit the jump to read the press release
Hyundai dealers were reportedly shown a coupe version of the Elantra compact, set to debut in spring, as well as a new Azera full-size sedan that will go on sale in the fall.
While Hyundai officials would not confirm or deny the Elantra Coupe’s existence, one dealer told Automotive News that an image of the car was presented and it was “gorgeous”.
The Azera, which replaces the long-in-the-tooth current version, will get a 3.3L direct-injection V6 that makes 260 horsepower. The Korean market Grandeur, which was unveiled recently, should provide a good idea of what the Azera will look like.
[Source: Automotive News]
Hyundai is looking to capture 5 percent of the U.S. car market in 2011, amid projections that show greater overall sales for new vehicles in the coming year.
With Hyundai sales up 24 percent in 2010, and a market share of 4.6 percent, the new target is certainly reachable, especially with new products like the Elantra and Accent compacts. The company will also cut fleet and rental sales from 17 percent to around 13 or 14 percent. Fleet sales help boost overall sales figures but are less profitable due to automakers selling vehicles in bulk.
This year’s Super Bowl is heavy on automotive ads, with Hyundai, Audi, Volkswagen and Chevrolet all spending megabucks to get a coveted ad slot at television’s biggest event of the year.
Hyundai’s spots largely focus on their new superstar, the 2011 Elantra, with Hyundai calling for an end to hypnotizingly dull compacts. A fourth spot highlights the Sonata Hybrid and the engineering that went into it. The Elantra spots look like they were inspired by an acid trip, as evidenced by the screen cap above.
Fortunately, you don’t have to watch the big game just to see the ads. Hit the jump to check out all 3 of Hyundai’s Super Bowl commercials.
The Fiat 500 just missed the now coveted 40 mpg mark, returning 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg highway with the 5-speed manual, while automatic versions will net 27 mpg in town and 34 mpg while cruising. While the numbers are nothing to frown about, expectations were higher considering the car’s 1.4L four-cylinder engine and compact packaging.
The Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus will all offer 40 mpg capability with more practicality, but we doubt they’ll be as fun to drive. With that said, the $15,995 price point is fairly close to the three compacts, and we expect the lines to be drawn according to those who desire an all-purpose, efficient car versus something stylish and sporty.
Hyundai is celebrating its first ever year in which it sold 500,000 vehicles, with the Sonata leading the charge, moving over 183,000 units. The Elantra and Santa Fe were second and third, respectively.
The company’s previous record was 467,009 units in 2007, but Hyundai expects to sell about 537,000 units this year. The record year also coincides with the 25th anniversary of Hyundai’s entry into the American market, and we offer our congratulations on this occassion.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
For all the hype surrounding Ford‘s Fiesta subcompact, which is capable of hitting 40 mpg, it looks like subcompacts, especially those than can hit the vaunted number, aren’t selling all that well in the USA.
Even though gas prices will almost certainly hit $3 a gallon, customers are still gravitating towards compact cars, according to Cars.com’s David Thomas. This means vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra are well positioned with their 40 mpg fuel economy numbers, spacious interior and premium features…but if gas prices keep going past $3 (and they almost certainly will) then the sub compact segment may see a resurgence, just like the summer of 2008 when gas was around $4.
The big winners in the segment are still the Nissan Versa and Honda Fit respectively, with the Versa enjoying a nearly 3,000 unit lead over the Fit in November. Hyundai’s Accent and the Fit are nearly neck and neck, while the Fiesta comes in at fourth place, but cars like the Chevrolet Aveo and Toyota Yaris are nipping at its heels, even with stale-dated designs and no 40 mpg capability. We think the significant delta in price between a bare bones Aveo and a more expensive Fiesta hatch may have something to do with this.
[Source: Kicking Tires]