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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]
Hyundai CEO John Krafcik confirmed to Autoblog that their next generation of Genesis, Genesis Coupe and Equus rear-drive cars would also be offered with all-wheel-drive.
While no powertrains have been announced for any of the cars, the news of AWD will be welcome for those in the Snowbelt states, where traction going to all four wheels is so prevalent that most dealers don’t even bother to order rear-drive variants of cars like the Infiniti G, and Mercedes C, E and S-Class sedans.
Autoblog also dropped a vague hint that the next Genesis Coupe will go “upmarket” next time, perhaps setting its sights on the BMW M3 rather than the current crop of pony cars. Honestly, the Genesis Coupe, while a decent car, might want to set its sights on the Ford Mustang 5.0, which seems to have the bargain-M3 formula down to a science.
Hyundai‘s upcoming pimpmobile ultra-luxury sedan will be offered in two trim levels, the Equus Signature and the Equus Ultimate. What’s the difference, you ask?
The Signature is the plebian version, with features like, a massaging driver’s seat, parking assistance, an air suspension system and a 17-speaker, 608-watt Lexicon stereo, just like the Rolls Royce Phantom. The Ultimate ups the ante with backup cameras that can see around corners, massaging and reclining read seats with foot rests and a rear seat refrigirator -just like a first class cabin.
Both Equus models come with a fancy owners manual on an Apple iPad – as if the novelty of owning Korea’s first ultra luxury sedan wasn’t enticing enough.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Hyundai recently debuted a new 5.0L version of their Tau V8, reportedly making 429-horsepower. The engine will do duty in the new Equus luxury sedan, and according to some, the Genesis sedan as well. But what everyone wants to know is, where’s the Genesis Coupe V8?
On paper, it seems like a natural fit, turning the Genesis coupe into a natural Mustang killer. The Mustangs 5.0 motor only makes 412-horsepower, so Hyundai would have the Ford trumped in the all-important horsepower ratings game. But one thing everyone seems to forget is that Hyundai previously stated that a V8 engine wouldn’t fit into the coupe’s engine bay.
We don’t know if Hyundai was just trying to placate those who might be underwhelmed by a V6, or if they have been hiding this little gem the entire time. More likely than all of those is that this is just idle speculation dreamed up by someone who wants to see a 5.0 badge on the side of a Genesis Coupe.
Hyundai has just announced that after the market launch of its new flagship Equus luxury sedan, it will offer an engine option above the planned 4.6L Tau V8. The optional engine will be a new 5.0L Tau V8, making 429-hp. That same engine will then also find its way into the Genesis luxury sedan.
With a power increase of around 45-hp with the larger engine, torque will also jump from 333 ft-lbs to 376. And aiding in both power deliver and fuel consumption is a new 8-speed automatic – although it’s not yet clear if the Genesis will also get the 8-speed box.
The move is designed to keep Hyundai’s flagship competitive with the new twin-turbo motors from BMW and Mercedes, but as most buyers won’t see the Equus as a rival to the established marques, we have to think this is more of a shot across the bow of Lexus, with the larger Genesis motor offering far more power than what Lexus equips its LS models with.
A year after its first showing on U.S soil and at the very same venue, Hyundai will officially unveil the production version of its flagship luxury sedan at the New York Auto Show. Hyundai has not said as much, but the full-sized luxury car is expected to keep the Equus name. What it will be missing, however, is that big hood ornament, although Hyundai is likely to offer it through dealers.
As a competitor to the BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS and Mercedes S-Class, the Equus is based on the Genesis platform, itself a supposed rival to cars like the BMW 5 Series. While Hyundai can’t reasonably expect to take on the Germans (not yet, anyway), the Equus is likely to steal away a few Lexus LS customers. And with the LS priced around $63,000, you can be sure the Equus will come in under that.
So what do you get in a Korean luxury car? Well, we think it’s quite handsome, plus it’s also very large. At 74.8-inches wide, it’s thicker than an S-Class or Lexus LS. The wheelbase is relatively short for this type of vehicle at 119.9-inches and with an overall length of 203.1-inches (just slightly longer than the long wheelbase LS460), don’t expect stellar handling. Under the hood the Equus gets the same 4.6-liter V8 found in the top-level Genesis Sedan. Making 380-hp it should deliver a 0-60 mph time of just over six seconds, with a quarter mile time in the low 14s.
Inside is where the real treats are, with every imaginable luxury available. On a Korean-spec model we had a chance to experience last year, there were massaging and reclining rear seats, seat-back mounted flip up tables, LCD screen DVD players and even a fridge. The Equus also had heated and cooled seats and privacy shades for the back and side-rear windows. One feature we particularly liked was that the side window shades pop up by pulling on the power window switch a second time – which reduces the overall number of buttons and switches in the cabin. In fact, we were surprised by the limited number of cabin-cluttering switches. Another notable feature is the fact that the front passenger seat can be adjusted from an armrest console in the rear – presumably for the comfort and convenience of executive types riding in the back. The interior materials are definitely high quality, although not quite what you might find in a Lexus LS. Then again, the interior of the BMW 750 isn’t quite what you’d find in a Lexus either. The excessive amount of wood trim certainly isn’t one of our favorite parts, but the genuine Suede headliner is.
Equus drivers will be able to appreciate high-tech features like a back-up camera (and front-facing camera), a blind spot monitoring system, active cruise control, a 528-watt 17-speaker Lexicon audio system and an adjustable air-ride suspension. Hyundai marketing boss Joel Ewanick said that by the time the Equus makes its way to the U.S. the suspension will receive a few tweaks. Normally this means “softening,” but Ewanick surprised us by saying that it will actually be made slightly stiffer than what is offered in Korea.
GALLERY: Hyundai Equus
For more on the upcoming 2011 Hyundai Equus see our video interview with Hyundai Motor America’s VP of Marketing Joel Ewanick after the jump:
Rather than spin off the new premium Hyundai products into their own brand, necessitating the creation of new dealerships and huge marketing budgets, the Korean automaker is opting for the “showroom-within-a-showroom” approach. According to documents obtained by Ward’s, Hyundai Motor America (HMA) is looking to make the move soon, creating a luxury area within current dealerships where staff will display and sell new models like the Genesis Sedan and Genesis Coupe as well as the upcoming Equus flagship luxury sedan (pictured above).
Instead of costing dealerships millions of dollars, the new displays are only likely to run in the hundreds of thousands. This setup is quite different from what Japanese automakers like Toyota did when it launched the Lexus brand, opting instead to set up entirely separate dealerships.
“Similar to the attributes of Toyota-Scion buildings, this strategy will create physical and psychological separation in the Hyundai showroom environment,” writes HMA VP of national sales Dave Zuchowski in his memo.
Cars like the Genesis Coupe, in its higher end trim, compete with models like the Infiniti G37 and BMW 335i Coupe, while the Genesis Sedan stacks up against vehicles like the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Lexus GS. The new Equus, however, is aimed at top-tier models like the BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS. It is expected to cost slightly less than an LS and will go on sale this Fall.
Hyundai sees the Equus as another, but important, step on the road to becoming a legitimate luxury retailer. “We intend to use the launch of the new Equus to develop and further establish Hyundai as a legitimate force in the premium-luxury segments,” says Zuchowski.
See after the jump for AutGuide’s first look at the new 2011 Hyundai Equus:
Ahead of its expected debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March, these two official pictures of Hyundai’s new flagship luxury sedan, the Equus, have been leaked.
Hot on the heels of the Genesis luxury sedan, the Equus is aimed at the upper echelon of luxury motoring, and is intended to take on cars like the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS.
The vehicle will be 7 inches longer than the Genesis sedan, 1.5-inches wider and boast a wheelbase that is 4.5-inches longer as well. Initially the car will be offered with the same two powerplants that are found in the Genesis; the 290hp 3.8-liter V6 and 375hp 4.6-liter V8, although it is expected that a 5.0-liter V8 will eventually be offered and will boast as much as 420hp.
Based on the conversion rate the Equus could cost almost $100,000 but that is extremely unlikely and we imagine a base price closer to $60,000.