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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.
When Size Matters
Large and in charge. Big is beautiful. Size matters. Yes, there are endless clichés to support the notion that the bigger something is, the better it is. In the automotive kingdom, some vehicles not only adhere to this philosophy, but redefine it. We aren’t talking the puny realm of offerings like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or even Dodge Charger. No, this is for the serious four wheeled hippos. The cars where it is more fun to be in the backseat than the front seat.
If you have more money to burn than the average NFL Quarterback, then there are some serious vehicles you can buy that are seriously long. How about the 220.9-inch Phantom Coupe? Not long enough for you? You could upsize to the 239.8-inch Phantom extended-wheelbase sedan, or maybe the 242.7-inch Maybach 62?
But for the rest of us mere mortals, there are some sizable vehicles out there under $100,000. Heck, two of the top ten are even under $30,000. So we will now present to you the top ten vehicles that are longer than The Hobbit.
Tenacious Hyundai — the company that refuses to quit edging into niches, entering new segments and surprising consumers.
If you hadn’t guessed, they’re at it again. This time, trying to pitch the Genesis and Equus luxury sedans as fleet limousines at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas. Don’t feel bad if you’re unfamiliar with that too. As previously stated, this is niche stuff.
LCT stands for limousine, charter and tour operators. The International LCT Show is the largest gathering of people who build and use limos, so naturally Hyundai made an appearance there to push the goods according to the LCT website.
While limo services have traditionally relied almost exclusively on Lincoln Town Cars and Cadillac Escalades, Hyundai is hoping to break in by offering purchase incentives. The Genesis will come with a $3,500 discount, while the larger Equus’ price sheds $4,500.
Who knows, the next time you call for an airport limo a Hyundai could appear in the driveway.
GALLERY: Hyundai Equus Stretch Edition
[Source: Automotive News]
Hyundai‘s nice little publicity stunt is now over: future Equus buyers will not be getting a free Apple iPad with their luxury car (much like we didn’t when we reviewed it recently).
Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor said that the iPad promotion was only available for the first year of Equus sales. Anyone who wants an Equus now will have to deal with a weighty lump of dead tree for their owner’s manual, though the iPad app is still available in the App Store.
The free iPad was a strong attraction for the initial launch of the Equus, though not necessarily a selling point—we don’t know how many people threw down $58,000 for the sake of a $500 iPad. No word on whether future Equus buyers will be stuck with a Blackberry Playbook.
Click here to read AutoGuide’s Hyundai Equus Review and see after the jump for our video:
The Hyundai Genesis will get all-wheel drive, but it won’t come until 2014, when the car is updated with a revised platform and other changes.
While Hyundai CEO John Krafcik has confirmed in the past that the Genesis, Genesis Coupe and Equus will offer this set-up, a report in Car and Driver indicates that it won’t be offered on the current generation models. The addition of AWD will certainly help sales of the car in the Snow Belt states, where buyers almost universally opt for AWD over their two-wheel counterparts. In the meantime, the Genesis gets revised powertrains, including an 8-speed automatic transmission and a new 429-horsepower 5.0L V8.
[Source: Car and Driver]
For all the skepticism surrounding the Hyundai Equus, the Korean luxury sedan appears to be doing well, even exceeding Hyundai’s own expectations.
Hyundai’s Midwestern PR head Dean Bedore gave us some insight into the success of the Equus, noting that it currently has a 5 percent market share of the luxury car segment, while Hyundai itself has the same overall market share. Bedore noted that the only thing stopping Hyundai from selling more of them was a lack of supply.
Equus sales are currently outpacing brands like Rolls-Royce, Maybach and Bentley, along with sports cars like the BMW Z4, Audi R8 and Nissan GT-R. We are well aware of the apples vs. oranges nature of these kinds of comparisons, but we still found it neat that a $58,000 Hyundai is succeeding when even 5 years ago, such a notion would have been unthinkable.
Hit the jump to see the full list
Hyundai‘s vice-chairman, Shin Jong-Woon unequivocally quashed rumors regarding a separate premium brand for Hyundai’s upscale vehicles, telling Automotive News “There are no plans for Hyundai to make a separate brand.”
Hyundai spokesman Frank Ahrens elaborated on Jong-Woon’s comments, citing costs and branding difficulties as the main obstacles towards establishing a premium channel ala Lexus, Infiniti or Acura.
“It’s expensive. Dealerships, marketing, all those things. You don’t just spin it off at no cost,” said Ahrens. ”Secondly, you’ve heard us talk a great deal about trying to raise the brand perception. And that’s perception for all the vehicles. So how would it help the brands if we were to cut off our top level?”
While Toyota has had smashing success with their Lexus brand – it is currently the best selling luxury car brand in America – other brands like Infiniti, and to a greater extent Acura, have had difficulty emulating the success of Lexus. Hyundai is currently attempting to raise the overall profile of its brand, and top-tier products sold as Hyundai vehicles are perhaps the best solution to helping Hyundai gain more acceptance in the public’s eye.
[Source: Automotive News]
When Hyundai first introduced the Genesis, people chuckled at a Korean automaker offering a rear-drive luxury car. Now established as a modestly successful model, Hyundai has ventured further into the luxury market with the full-sized Equus, designed to rival cars like the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS.
With the possibility that it could be a total flop and with even Hyundai execs and PR reps cautioning that it is in no way designed to be anywhere near a volume model, the new Hyundai flagship is off to a strong start. In its first month on sale, competing in a market packed with incentive-filled vehicles so dealers can meet year-end quotas, a total of 196 Equus models were purchased.
That might not sound like a lot, but the Equus actually out-sold 13 other cars in the market, including the much-hyped Nissan Leaf, of which just 19 were delivered in December. Equus sales also topped those of four exclusive, low volume brands: Rolls-Royce (39), Lamborghini (26), Ferrari (151) and Maserati (180).
The Equus topped the Acura RL (141 units), numerous sports cars including the Porsche Boxster and Audi TT, as well as a few other vehicles you’d expect it wouldn’t, like the Mercedes SL, SLK and CL.
The Equus is hardly a sound business case on its own, but it is helping to change Hyundai’s brand image. The Equus “shot right out of the gate” said Hyundai Motor America PR Rep Dan Bedore commenting that among niche market cars it’s a hit. “Dealers are clamoring for cars,” he says.
GALLERY: Hyundai Equus
See the full list after the jump:
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At the New York Auto Show earlier this year Hyundai debuted its new Equus flagship luxury sedan complete with several premium services, including an iPad Owners Manual. With the car now set to go on sale at select dealerships, Hyundai has given us a brief glimpse at this particular feature and how its so much more than just a dull owners manual on a fancy piece of Apple machinery.
Priced at $58,000 the Equus is a serious bargain as far as luxury saloons go. The only problem is, it’s in stark contrast to much of the rest of the Hyundai lineup and so the company hopes to keep potential customers out of Accent-filled lots by bringing the car right to them. That’s right, anyone interested in an Equus can have the car brought to their house or office for a test drive. And when it comes to service, Hyundai will pick up and drop off your Equus, leaving you a loaner – which they promise will be, at the low end, a Genesis Sedan. These features are all part of the “Your Time, Your Place,” service program that Hyundai created in an effort to appeal to the fact that potential owners value their time.
GALLERY: 2011 Hyundai Equus
Having launched the Genesis sedan not that long ago, Hyundai is already looking to up the horsepower with a new 5.0-liter V8 engine that will also be offered in the new Equus luxury flagship sedan.
Replacing the current 4.6-liter unit, the 5.0-liter will make 429-hp and 376 ft-lbs of torque, an increase of 45-hp and 43 ft-lbs respectively. Impressively, despite the increased displacement and power, fuel economy will also improve thanks to an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission. Along with what will no doubt be improved acceleration, the Genesis will get a bump of one mpg on both the highway and in the city for a total of 18/26-mpg.
Previously we had reported that Hyundai will offer this new engine and transmission combo in the Equus, but we had yet to confirm the duo for the Genesis.
Hyundai‘s new Equus luxury sedan is the company’s undoubted star of the SEMA show, and long-time Hyundai partner Rhys Millen Racing for a special show car.
The big news here are the RMR bolt-on intake and exhaust pieces that add an estimated 30 horsepower. A 14″ brake kit helps bring the portly sedan to a stop, and 21″ HRE wheels will no doubt help act as anchors to the already heavy car. Carbon fiber spoilers and mirrors will help accent the Red Bull inspired blue paintjob, while the interior features ballerific ostrich leather upholstery. Stay tuned for this car to appear in a rap video sometime soon.
Hit the jump to see the official press release
Gallery: Hyundai Rhys Millen Racing Signature Edition Equus
Well, we suppose it was inevitable. Hyundai is set to unveil the Equus DUB Edition at the SEMA show, and really, should we have expected anything different?
The DUB edition takes Jay-Z’s mantra of “all black everything” to the next level, with tinted windows, tailights, a Trex DUB Design mesh grille, DUB Design custom body kit and a custom black and charcoal two-tone paint job. Riding on 24′s, the Equus will also get people’s attention with a booming audio system that builds on the Lexicon system already present in the car. Infiniti Kappa speakers and amps round out the system, and custom leather and suede on the seats and headliner swaddles the car’s occupants in pimptastic luxury.
We’re honestly a little surprised at how mild the build was – there’s not even an air suspension. Our guess is Hyundai is hedging their bets, by trying to attract the hip-hop crowd to the Equus while still retaining the discretely wealthy clientele that flocked to the Genesis.
Hit the jump to see the official press release
We’ve seen the renderings of Rhys Millen’s Equus project for SEMA, and while it’s still a little underwhelming of a project (especially for a SEMA car), we’re excited to see Hyundai pushing forward with the Equus and leveraging their existing partnerships to show the world what a little bit of tasteful modifications can do to a car.
Now it looks like the car was recently caught hanging outside an interior reupholstery shop in Southern California, clearly getting some last minute touches in the lead-up to the show. The exterior work seems to have been completed nicely in a flat-blue with a carbon fiber wrap over the top-half of the car. We’re surprised not to see any bodywork and we have to think that when it debuts at SEMA there will be a larger set of custom wheels.
GALLERY: Rhys Millen Racing SEMA Hyundai Equus
[Source: Inside Line]
Hyundai‘s first entry into the ultra-premium sector, the 2011 Equus, will start at $58,000 in Signature trim. For an extra $6,500, buyers can upgrade to the Equus Ultimate, which is equipped fairly differently from the Signature.
The Ultimate package features a four-seater arrangement, similar to a Maybach, with reclining seats, as well as a massage function and leg support for the passenger side seat, a cooling system and an entertainment screen. Also available is a refrigerator, power headrests and vanity mirrors – all of which are for the rear seat area, which should give you a clue as to what the Equus Ultimate is really meant for.
All Equus owners will get an Apple iPad with a pre-loaded owners manual, as well as a pick-up and drop-off service for service appointments, where a dealership employee will collect and return your Equus and loan you a Genesis free of charge while your vehicle is being serviced.
Hit the jump for the official press release
After a great run at last year’s SEMA show, where the Hyundai Genesis Coupe was at the forefront of most display booths, Hyundai is butressing their previously announced Sonata Turbo with a pimped out Equus, by Hyundai tuner Rhys Millen Racing.
The Equus, Hyundai’s cut-price S-Class competitor, has been fitted with a carbon fiber good, Red Bull Racing inspired paint, and HRE wheels. An RMR designed intake and exhaust kit give the car a 30 horsepower bump, while a big brake kit helps bring the land-yacht to a halt. If all of that wasn’t enough, the interior has been swathed in ostrich leather.
Hyundai is embarking on a $150 million expansion of its Orange County, California headquarters, allowing it to double in size from 700 to 1400 employees.
“This investment ensures that Orange County will remain U.S. hub, with our headquarters in Fountain Valley, for the foreseeable future,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “The new building will give us the flexibility to grow with our brand, reflect our modern design sensibility, and showcase our commitment to sustainability.”
The move to expand its facilities and double its workforce amid a recession indicates Hyundai’s confidence in their continued growth. Their new building will also be LEED certified, an increasingly common move among new structures in North America. Employees will move to a temporary work space while the company constructs its new offices.
[Source: The Car Connection]