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Hyundai North America CEO John Krafcik reaffirmed, in an interview with Fox News, that the Korean automaker doesn’t intend to join the truck market but will look instead into the six and seven passenger crossover segment.
With vehicles in over a dozen automotive segments, Hyundai is seeing success in both the pre- and post-family stages, but is struggling in the family life stage, where their Veracruz sits. In 2009, the Entourage minivan was discontinued which left the Santa Fe as their only three-row vehicle. In 2011, the Veracruz sold a disappointing 9,146 units which utterly fails to compete with the 130,235 Kia Sorentos sold last year, it’s obvious that Hyundai has their work cut out for them in that particular market.
“We’re not a big truck player. I like to say brands define themselves as much by what they choose not to do as what they chose to do. We could be a truck player if we wanted to, we choose to focus on more fuel efficient segments of the market,” Krafcik said.
So it appears that Hyundai will probably be working more on crossovers and possibly SUVs but for now, we won’t see trucks bearing their badge anytime soon.
[Source: Fox News]
It’s no idle boast, especially as many lithium-batteries are said to have a maximum life span of around 7-8 years, yet until now Hyundai hadn’t released any specifics on its lifetime warranty for the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid’s battery pack.
As result, there’s been much speculation in regards to exactly what this battery warranty covers and doesn’t cover, though Hyundai, in an attempt to address these rumors has finally set the record straight.
In a statement issued from the company, it declared that, “the Hyundai Lifetime Hybrid Battery Replacement Guarantee ensures that if the 2012 Sonata hybrid lithium-polymer battery fails, Hyundai will replace the battery and cover recycling costs for the old battery pack free of charge to the original owner. The coverage is not transferable, and does not apply to lease and commercial vehicles or vehicles serviced outside the U.S.”
Note how the above doesn’t mention the battery system’s integrated hardware, software and controllers. These are covered by a warranty, though in this case it’s the Sonata’s Powertrain warranty which is good for 10 years or 100,000 miles, which ever comes first.
Hyundai’s US CEO John Krafcik, has already stated that Hyundai is able to offer the battery warranty because after extensive durability testing, failure rates for the battery system have proved to be minimal.
That said, if owners do experience major battery failure on their Sonata Hybrids, they might want to consider the car’s mileage and condition before looking to cash in on the warranty program, as depending on the circumstances, it could still work out to be quite expensive.
[Source: Car & Driver]
Hyundai hyped its Veloster and the automotive media had high hopes for the
innovative odd four-door hatchback, but when the reviews came out, the praise was missing. Good? Yes. But great? Hardly.
Still, Hyundai is calling the Veloster an early success, capturing the highest percentage of the “compact sporty car” market in its first full month on sale. Veloster sales accounted for 31% of this niche market, topping the Scion tC and Fiat 500, each taking 15% of the pie, and even topping the MINI Cooper, which accounts for 29 percent of the segment.
Perhaps more impressive is how high demand is for the car, with Hyundai indicating that it takes a Veloster just 8 days to move off a dealer lot. By comparison, the next closest competitor is the Scion tC, which sells in 22 days. The CR-Z, the car Hyundai pegged the Veloster at most, hoping to draw-in a legion of disappointed Honda enthusiasts, takes a brutal 139 days to sell.
According to J.D. Power numbers the highest percentage of Veloster buyers are already Hyundai customers (20%), suggesting either that the car is helping to retain customers, or that it is cannibalizing sales of other models. The most popular conquest brands are Chevrolet, Honda and Ford, with the most popular trade-in models for the Veloster being the Honda Civic and Mazda3.
Hyundai claims one major reason for the car’s success is its value, with an average transaction price of $20,902 compared to $21,154 for the tC, $21,383 for the CR-Z and a spendy $25,950 for the MINI Cooper.
Similar good things are happening in the rest of Hyundai’s 40-mpg lineup says Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik during a recent presentation at the Hyundai Technical Center in Ann Arbor, MI, with the Accent with just 20 days of cars in stock while over 70% of buyers are conquests from other brands. “The only reason the Accent isn’t the best seller in the segment is because can’t produce them fast enough,” he said.
Much the same can be said for the Elantra, which has “surpassed expectations” says Krafcik, saying it’s the fourth most shopped car in the entire industry, behind the Accord, Sonata and Camry.
As it stands, the supply issue is a major concern, for Hyundai and its dealers, with near-excessive demand for Hyundai’s well-priced high-mpg models like the Veloster.
GALLERY: Hyundai Veloster
With the debut of a new 5.0-liter Tau V8 in the Genesis Sedan R-Spec and rumors that it will find its way under the hood of the Genesis Coupe, Hyundai isn’t necessarily committed to eight-cylinders. That’s not surprising as the industry moves towards forced induction options like turbocharging and supercharging in order to deliver ideal power levels with reduced fuel consumption.
At a recent product preview and engineering tech session at Hyundai Motor America’s technical center in Ann Arbor, MI, powertrain boss John Juriga admitted that a turbocharged version of the company’s 3.8-liter V6 (offered in both the Genesis coupe and sedan) is a possibility for the future. “The 3.8 is a contender for turbocharging for some high-output applications,” he said. In fact, Juriga did one better, going on to comment that such an engine already exists and is undergoing testing. Speaking with AutoGuide, Jurega qualified that statement, commenting that the Hyundai engineering team is constantly exploring new engine options and that the existence of a prototype is no guarantee that such an engine will make it into production.
Expanding on Juriga’s comments, HMA CEO John Krafcik indicated that the Korean automaker is currently at a crossroads as to its future engine plans for its high-performance and premium models. Krafcik referenced the brand’s two SEMA Show Genesis Coupe concept cars, one powered by a 5.0-liter V8, the other by a supercharged 3.8-liter V6. The two cars, he explains, were built to generate feedback, to see which method of power delivery is preferred, with the more traditional high-displacement V8 versus the forced induction option.
“We’re looking for feedback from you folks,” said Krafcik, speaking to the assembled journalists. AutoGuide was obviously more enamored with the V8 option when we got a chance to see both cars at the SEMA Show, although a turbocharged V6 option, versus a supercharged one, might change that. Let us know what you’d rather drive in the comments section below.
Proving that the V8-powered Genesis Coupe is in fact possible, Hyundai unveiled the RMR500 concept at the SEMA Show recently, built with its motorsports partner Rhys Millen Racing. Powered by the brand’s new 5.0-liter Tau V8, as found in the Genesis Sedan R-Spec and with a few modifications, it makes an incredible 450-hp.
During a Q&A session today at the automaker’s technical center in Ann Arbor, MI, when asked if the company was serious about bringing such a car to market, Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik replied: “How could you not be serious about that? How could you not be serious about a 450-hp Tau-V8 powered Genesis Coupe?”
Stopping just short of confirming the V8 Genesis Coupe, Krafcik did exclaim, “I want that for my next company car.”
Hyundai recently revealed photos of its facelifted 2013 Genesis Coupe, which will debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January. While specific details aren’t yet available, the 2.0T base engine is expected to increase from 210-hp to 274-hp, while the 3.8-liter V6 is expected to jump from 306 to 333-hp thanks to direct-injection technology. If Krafcik’s comments are any indication, those waiting for a V8-powered Genesis Coupe, might not be waiting in vain.
GALLERY: Hyundai Genesis Coupe RMR500
Hyundai CEO John Krafcik will keep his company’s focus on being a fuel economy leader, and has ruled out a high-performance sports car, even as he discussed the various ways in which the new CAFE regulations can be gamed to produce low fleet fuel economy ratings.
With large vehicles being held to less stringent standards under CAFE (as well as a different formula for measuring MPG than the one used for consumers), Krafcik said that auto makers may not have as strong an incentive to produce compact, fuel efficient vehicles.
Giving the full-size truck market as an example (full-size trucks will be able to comply with more lax regulations) Krafcik told Ward’s Auto that “every well-intentioned action has an unintended negative consequence. This is a classic one. Because of the new CAFE guidelines, the most fuel-efficient segment for pickup trucks, the small ones, aren’t going to be available in the U.S. market. That’s crazy.”
While Hyundai had the best fleet average fuel economy of any auto maker in the 2010 model year, Krafcik said that hitting the 2025 target of a 54.5 mpg fleet average will be tough. Krafcik also ruled out the idea of a high-end sports car, stating “… it would be expensive, and what would it really do for us?”
[Source: Ward's Auto]
While Hyundai has made great strides in the compact and mid-size segments, with the new Elantra and Sonata, arguably the car that put it on the map was the sub-compact Accent. While a less-than-great piece of engineering in the past, it did serve a purpose. With the second generation of the Accent, Hyundai has infused the car with many of traits of its larger siblings in the hopes of leading the segment with style, features and fuel economy. The plan is that this new value equation will result in big sales. It has.
In its first full month on sale the Accent topped segment leaders, with 6,938 units sold. “The all-new Accent outsold two great small cars we really respect in July – the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. In fact, the sales numbers weren’t even close with the Accent handily out-selling the second-place Versa at 5,359 units, while the Fiesta came a close third with 5,296 units.
Krafcik credits the car’s fuel economy, design and built-in-value. “It’s a good indication that consumers are connecting with our new design, 40-mpg fuel economy, and the Assurance Trade-In Value Guarantee,” he said. “It’s a great recipe for this economy.”
GALLERY: 2012 Hyundai Accent
Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik announced a five-door Hyundai Accent is coming to the U.S., boldly saying it will “kick the Fiesta’s butt.”
The announcement came in a Q&A session with readers on Jalopnik after one reader asked if Hyundai will introduce a five-door Accent.
Such bold talk is rare from a manufacturer, especially from its CEO, but we’re glad to hear it.
The five-door Hyundai Accent is expected to debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show, but we have an idea on what it will look like after it was unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show in China last month as the Hyundai Verna.
With Hyundai‘s recent sales success, the Korean automaker is considering expanding its product offerings to include new models in the luxury segment that would rival the most popular and high-volume vehicles currently offered by Japanese and German competitors. While Hyundai already offers the Genesis Sedan and the new Equus flagship model, the two vehicles being studied include a direct rival to the BMW 3 Series and as well as a crossover that would target the Lexus RX350.
To do this Hyundai is likely to officially spin-off the Genesis name into its own brand says Hyundai Motor America President John Krafcik. Three plans are being considered, with the most likely being to sell the luxury models in the same dealership as the current Hyundai lineup, using the dealer-within-a-dealer strategy. The two other options include keeping the cars branded as Hyundais, or building all new dealers to support the new models, just as Toyota did with Lexus and Honda with Acura.
Krafcik is eager to expand, but says the decision won’t be made any time soon with the key factor being the success of the Equus – a full-sized luxury sedan aimed at vehicles like the Mercedes S-Class but costing 30 percent less at $58,000.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal]
Hyundai is set to build the new Elantra at their Alabama factory, as it joins the Sonata and Santa Fe at the plant. The new Elantra is already on sale in South Korea, but is set to debut in U.S. spec at this November’s 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.
In a press release, Hyundai CEO John Krafcik said “Hyundai‘s philosophy is to build our vehicles where we sell them, and with the addition of the Elantra to our U.S. production mix we now manufacture our three most popular models right here in the U.S.”
The move to produce the Elantra in the United States allows Hyundai to price the car even more aggressively as it aims to capture an ever larger market share in the United States.
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 has pledged to donate $100,000 each to 68 hospitals and non profit organizations to help fight pediatric cancer. Dealers will contribute $200 from each vehicle sale to the cause, and most of the financing is said to be arriving in this way.
The program, known as Hyundai Hope on Wheels will oversee the distribution of the nearly $ 7 million to the various charities. ”While we’ve made progress over the last few decades and now have an 85 percent cure rate, cancer still takes more lives than any other childhood disease,” said Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik. “This September, in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Hyundai will shine a nationwide spotlight on this cause and provide more than $6 million in grants for pediatric cancer research and support programs. We love taking on big challenges at Hyundai, and we can think of no more worthy challenge than finding a cure for all forms of pediatric cancer.”
Hope on Wheels will have donated close to $23 million by year’s end,
Hit the jump to see the official press release
At the LA Auto Show this November, Hyundai will debut a new concept car that will give a better idea of how the Korean automaker intends to achieve its 50-mpg CAFE goal. Company CEO John Krafcik recently made the bold statement that Hyundai would average 50-mpg across its lineup by 2025. Currently, the automaker has just over a 30-mpg fleet average – the best in the industry.
While no details have been provided, it’s possible that Hyundai could show a near-production version of the Blue-Will Concept, which has been rumored to hit production as a Toyota Prius rival.
That vehicle is a plug-in hybrid that uses a 152-hp 1.6-liter direct-injection gasoline engine and a 100kW electric motor with a lithium-polymer battery pack. Hyundai claims 106-mpg in plug-in hybrid mode and 50-55-mpg in standard hybrid mode.
GALLERY: Hyundai Blue-Will Concept Debut in Frankfurt
Ward’s Auto is reporting via their Twitter feed that Hyundai North America President and CEO John Krafcik told reporters that their North American arm will have a fleet average fuel economy rating of 50 mpg by 2025.
Hyundai is currently planning the launch of their first hybrid, the Sonata Hybrid, for this fall, with more models to follow. The upcoming Veloster is rumored to be able to achieve 40 mpg. However, a 50 mpg fleet average is an extremely ambitious target and will almost certainly take some kind of radical developments in the field of internal combustion engines, as well as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles to achieve. Hyundai’s new Sonata, available only with four-cylinder engines, is selling briskly and is able to return better fuel economy ratings than the competition thanks to a focus on reducing curb weight. Hyundai seems to be one of the few manufacturers committed to this strategy, one that should give them an advantage going forward.
[Source: Wards Auto]
Back in 2000 Hyundai Kia CEO Chung Mong-koo refused a request by the company’s chairman, and his own father, to step down from the top post of the Korean automaker. Today, Mong-koo is getting the respect he rightly deserves, after being named Asia’s top automotive business leader by Automotive News.
The industry publication sited Hyundai’s quality improvement and expansion into new segments as part of the reason for Mong-koo’s award. This in turn has allowed Hyundai to increase sales globally and increase market share. Automotive News even said he had transformed Hyundai into a “superpower.”
Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik was also awarded the honor of being AN‘s top U.S. executive at an Asian automaker.
In other markets, awards went to Volkswagen chairman Martin Winterkorn as the top European automotive CEO, while Ford’s own Allan Mulally was named the top auto exec for an American automaker.
[Source: Korean Herald]
Speaking at a press event in Korea, Hyundai CEO John Krafcik let it slip that the Hyundai Sonata Turbo will start at just under $25,000, undercutting its V6 segment rivals by about $3,000.
The Sonata Turbo puts out 274-horsepower and a combined 32 mpg from its 2.0L four-cylinder engine. Hyundai intends for the vehicle to be a faster and more efficient alternative to V6 powered competitors like the Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Krafcik also announced that the Hyundai Veloster, Hyundai’s long awaited sports coupe based on the Elantra compact, will use a 1.6L direct injection four-banger to put out 140 horsepower while getting 40 mpg on the highway. With the Veloster taking straight aim at the Honda CR-Z, the Hyundai offers a significant power advantage, and better estimated fuel economy on the highway.
[Source: Automotive News]
With the all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata 4-cylinder now on sale with its best-in-class power and fuel economy, the Korean automaker will launch turbocharged and hybrid versions of its mid-size sedan at the New York Auto Show in late March. The Hybrid Blue Drive model is expected to use the new 2.4-liter GDI Theta II engine and a lithium polymer battery pack. As for the Turbo, it will be a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with direct-injection and make at least 250-hp according to Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik.
AutoGuide will bring you live coverage of the 2010 New York Auto Show starting March 31st. In the mean time, read our glowing review of the 2011 Sonata here:
While we can’t write any driving impressions about the new 2011 Hyundai Sonata due to an embargo that lifts Monday, we can tell you that during the vehicle’s launch our car achieved an incredible 46.8 mpg. And as impressive as that number sounds, it was still only enough to earn the team of AutoGuide.com Editor-in-Chief Colum Wood and TopSpeed.com Senior Editor Philippe Daix a bronze medal. First place went to the team of Donald Buffamanti of AutoSpies and Jaime Florez of Ruedas ESPN with a 52.8 mpg rating that would even impress a Prius.
The gold medal winners got more than just praise, however, as Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik offered to treat anyone who could beat his personal time of 47.8 mpg to a private dinner.
We’ll be the first to admit that the 46.8 mpg rating was hardly done under real world conditions. Although while Buffamanti and Florez used cruise control up hills and coasted in neutral down hills (despite engineers saying that it shouldn’t matter), we even used our air conditioning, albeit only when going down hill.
For the record, Hyundai officially rates the 2011 Sonata at 24/35 mpg (city/highway) for the manual transmission and 22/35 mpg for the automatic. To put these numbers, and our 46.8 mpg number into perspective, the Toyota Prius is rated at 51/48 mpg, while during a similar fuel economy challenge we managed 65 mpg in the Prius. And while you won’t get Prius fuel economy numbers out of a Sonata, you will get a vehicle that is so spacious its technically classified as a large sedan by the EPA, plus it delivers 198-hp!
Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels program donated $50,000 to the Detroit Medical Center Children’s Hopsital of Michigan. The Hyundai Hope on Wheels Tour traveled across the nation and raised more than $1.3 million for pediatric cancer research, and the DMC Children’s Hospital as the final stop.
The $50,000 donation will fund research by the hospital’s pediactric neuro-oncologist Dr. Maxim Y. Yankelevich in developing new immunotherapy programs for children with brain tumors.
“Hyundai and its dealers have been committed to supporting the children, families and doctors battling childhood cancer for more than ten years,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “Even in the face of tough economic times for our industry, we will not waver in our commitment to supporting the medical research and training that will produce better treatments, therapies, and one day, a cure.”
Cancer patients from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan had their handprints added to the Hyundai Hope on Wheels Santa Fe, joining the colorful handprints of children from across the country. Once the handprints were added, the car was moved to Hyundai’s display at the North American International Auto Show.
For more information on the Hyundai Hope on Wheels program, visit: www.hyundaihopeonwheels.org.
Gallery: Hyundai Hope on Wheels Santa Fe
Official release after the jump: