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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:
Several years ago Hyundai announced its plan to be the most fuel-efficient automaker in the U.S. The news was met with much skepticism. But not that long afterward and an impressive new lineup of award-winning vehicles and the Korean automaker has already met its goal and is well on the way to achieving the 2016 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of 35.5 mpg early.
The news comes as the EPA releases its Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends Report for 2009, which rates Hyundai first at an average of 30.1 mpg. This also makes Hyundai the only automaker with an average of 30 mpg or higher. In second place is Honda at 29.7 mpg, third belongs to Volkswagen at 29.6 mpg, Toyota is fourth at 29.4 mpg and Kia (also owned by Hyundai) is fifth at 28.0 mpg.
Possibly even more impressive is that Hyundai has done all this without having a single diesel or hybrid in its lineup. Hyundai does, however, plan to introduce its first hybrid based on the all-new 2011 Sonata, next year. New turbochared engines and direct-injection engines are also planned.
“Our thoughtful application of cost-effective, fuel-efficient technologies has helped us achieve our goal of leading the industry in fuel economy ahead of schedule,” said Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik. “Now we hope to extend that leadership with the launch of our new direct injection, turbocharging and lithium-polymer hybrid technologies, all of which will be a part of the 2011 Sonata lineup launching early next year.”
Official release after the jump:
Korean automaker's flagship to take on BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS
Hyundai continues to shake up perceptions of what a Korean automaker can be, announcing today that it will offer its flagship Equus sedan in the U.S. starting next year.
The Equus is based on the same architecture as the Genesis, but is noticeably larger. Hyundai intends that it will compete with the world’s premiere luxury saloons including the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS.
“We showed the car at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, and the response was fantastic,” says John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. “Since then, we’ve had a fleet traveling around the country, capturing input from our dealers and consumers. Here, too, the response was extraordinarily positive, and similar to the market reaction to the award-winning Genesis, so we’ve decided to bring it to the U.S.”
And as though showcasing the car at the New York Auto Show wasn’t enough of a shock to the traditionalists, Hyundai will again display the vehicle this weekend at the ultra-prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Hyundai has yet to release specifications on the new model, but it’s certain to be offered with the company’s 375hp 4.6-liter V8. Recently we reported that the Korean automaker has also developed a 5.0-liter V8 engine as well, and there is a strong possibility that powerplant could be offered in North America.
Hyundai is also undecided on whether or not its flagship will keep it’s Korean-market name, indicating that the Equus badge may be dropped in favor of a more U.S.-friendly name.
GALLERY: 2011 Hyundai Equus
Official release after the jump:
It may be a whole half year away but already some details are emerging about the cars expected to debut at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And the first vehicle is the all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata.
Recently the Sonata was spied testing in Dubai and it gave us a pretty good indication of what the vehicle will look like. Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik has said that it is intended to be a bold design that will help set the car apart from its successful Japanese competitors from Honda and Toyota. In fact, the 2011 Sonata is supposed to have a trendy four-door coupe profile.
There is no word on engine choices, but it’s not hard to guess that a four-cylinder engine will be standard with a V6 optional. High-technology items like direct-injection and a six-speed automatic transmission are also possibilities.
Additionally, Hyundai is expected to release a hybrid version of the 2011 Sonata, although that particular model is likely due out later.
[Photo Credit: Assayyarat]
Clunkers include Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes vehicles
Hyundai is the first automaker to start accepting trade-ins under the pending Cash-for-Clunkers legislation, and during the first week of trade-ins CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) rebates have accounted for seven percent of all sales for Hyundai Motor America.
While the Cash-for-Clunkers incentives have yet to be finalized by the U.S. government, automakers have been given a guarantee that all CARS trade-ins would be honored retroactively until July 2nd. In the mean time, Hyundai corporate is offering its dealers loans to cover the difference so customers can walk away with a new Hyundai at a significantly reduced cost.
The CARS legislation gives a $4,500 rebate on a new car when it gets 10 mpg or more better fuel mileage than the one traded in. The rebate is $3,500 on vehicles that get 4 to 9 mpg better or trucks that get 2 to 4 mpg better.
The most popular CARS purchase at Hyundai is for the Elantra compact car (pictured above), which accounts for 41 percent of all CARS deals at Hyundai in the first week. One reason for this as that customers can walk away with an Elantra for just $8,620 after trade.
The Sonata mid-sized sedan is the next popular purchase. In total Hyundai has 13 vehicle/engine combinations that are eligible for rebates under the CARS legislation, including the 2010 Genesis Coupe 2.0T.
“The early response we’re seeing demonstrates the CARS program is working, with inefficient gas guzzlers being traded-in for fuel-efficient Hyundai models,” said Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik. “We expect overall sales from this program to grow as consumer awareness increases – it should surpass ten percent of our retail sales this month.”
As for the vehicles traded in, Hyundai’s data shows that 32 percent of all clunkers are Ford products, while 23 percent are Dodges. Surprisingly, the list of clunkers also includes models from such prestigious brands as Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
Official release after the jump:
Hyundai USA CEO compares sporty sub-compact to Honda's iconic CRX
According to Hyundai CEO John Krafcik, the company’s upcoming replacement for the Tiburon will look significantly like the Veloster Concept that debuted at the 2007 L.A. Auto Show. In fact, Krafcik said that the sub-compact will look 70 to 80 percent like the funky concept, calling it “Accent sized,” and a, “four passenger Honda CRX.”
Much like the CRX, the Veloster will be a car you can drive hard and still get good mileage in, thanks to a direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder that Krafcik promises will get over 40 mpg.
The new model will be front-wheel drive and Krafcik says it will have one particular trait that is not offered in its segment. He wouldn’t say exactly what that was, but did mention that it could be one of a few design items, including some sort of unconventional roof, doors or rear hatch.
The Tiburon’s sporty-CRX-like successor is due out as a 2012 model at dealers by late 2011.
Automaker urges legislation be fast-tracked
According to a Hall & Partners survey performed on behalf of Hyundai, the delay in passing a “Cash for Clunkers” bill is costing the U.S. auto industry as many as 100,000 lost sales each month.
The survey results showed that 38 percent of potential new car buyers were aware of a pending “cash for clunkers” bill and that 11 percent of buyers were delaying their purchase until the bill is passed.
Considering an average of 1 million monthly sales, this accounts for roughly 100,000 lost sales.
“With sales in the U.S. auto industry forecast at the lowest levels in 26 years, it’s imperative that we move forward with this stimulus bill,” said Hyundai Motor America President John Krafcik. “The auto industry makes up 10 percent of the consumer portion of the country’s gross domestic product. Any stimulus to the auto industry will make a major improvement in the overall U.S. economy, which remains severely depressed.”
“The longer this bill, which is so important to the U.S. economy, remains stuck in Congress the greater the pressures placed on all aspects of the U.S. automotive industry – from suppliers to manufacturers to dealers. We urge Congress to move quickly so that American consumers can benefit from this program during the peak summer selling season,” said Krafcik.
Yesterday results of car sales for the month of May were released showing a decrease of 33.7 percent as compared to the same period a year earlier.
Official release after the jump:
Actually, it won't be a Tiburon at all
With all the excitement surrounding the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, you’ve probably forgotten all about the Tiburon.
Do they still make those?
Our point exactly… and technically speaking, no, they don’t make Tiburon’s any more… although you can still buy a “new” one.
OK, so the car does still exist, but it won’t for long. Hyundai is planning the next iteration of the sporty front-wheel drive vehicle but conceptually it’s going to be completely different and it probably won’t even use the Tiburon name.
Hyundai U.S.A.’s CEO John Krafcik told AutoWeek that the next car, expected in 2011, will be “positioned below the current Tiburon.”
It will still use the front drive Accent/Elantra platform and will be powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine – so it better be small and light weight if it’s going to be at all sporty.
“It is not going to be all about performance,” Krafcik continued.
Instead, the car will be more economical and more environmentally friendly. It will, however, be recognizable as a sibling to the Genesis Coupe, with styling also based on the Veloster Concept car.
GALLERY: Hyundai Veloster Concept