AutoGuide News Blog
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.
AutoGuide.com’s new cars section saw a mix of browsers researching performance and practicality this week.
After several announcements of various models that were awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating, the IIHS has released its full list of its safest cars for 2013.
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) celebrated the 500,000th vehicle being completed this morning.
“Building 500,000 vehicles in just over two years is quite a milestone for our first U.S. manufacturing plant to accomplish,” said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO for Kia Motors America and KMMG. “The commitment from each one of our team members is a big reason we’ve been able to achieve 17 consecutive months of record sales. Their dedication to building world class, high quality vehicles is apparent in each vehicle we produce.”
KMMG provides jobs to more than 3000 people to date and manufactures the Sorento CUV and Optima sedan, which was the car to get the half-million unit distinction.
The 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year short list has just been announced, and women motoring writers from around the world will begin voting for their top picks.
Cutting a list of contenders from 300 down to 32, judges will now allocate points to the nominated cars that fall into four categories: Family Car, Luxury Car, Sports Car and Economy Car. Just one of the 10 criteria that cars are allotting points for is Child Friendliness, which is something vehicles aren’t usually judged on in a competition.
Winners of the 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year will be announced before the end of March, and awards will be presented at the Paris Motor Show in September. You can check out the complete short list after below.
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
If you were able to keep your eyes off of Adriana Lima to acknowledge that there was indeed a car in Kia‘s Super Bowl ad, then you should find this Optima SX Limited familiar. The top-of-the-line Limited Package for the 2012 Optima SX was made official today at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.
The fully-loaded trim sits on top of the turbocharged Optima SX and starts with a $3,300 package as an option. Included at that price is black or white Nappa leather added to the seats, door panels, and center console, LED daytime running lights, wood interior trim, additional exterior chrome, 18-inch wheels, red front brake calipers, a first-aid kit, and the ever-important SXL badging.
But here’s the catch. Reaching for the Limited package requires you to also purchase the $4,350 SX Technology and Premium package, bringing the Optima SX Limited to a whopping $34,900. With it however, you will also get a backup camera, in-dash navigation, eight-speaker Infinity audio system, heated and cooled front seats, four-way power front-passenger seat, panoramic sunroof, heated rear outboard seating, and power-folding mirrors. Unfortunately only three colors are available for the Optima SX Limited: Ebony Black, Snow White Pearl, and Titanium Metallic.
Regardless, you’ll get to enjoy the benefits of a turbocharged, 2.0L engine with 274-hp and a six-speed automatic transmission.
GALLERY: 2012 Kia Optima SX Limited Package
GALLERY: 2012 Kia Optima SX Limited Reveal
In the auto business, 2011 proved to be the year of the Koreans; both Hyundai and affiliate Kia sold a record number of vehicles, while their shares outperformed those of other automakers, including the likes of heavyweights such as General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen.
That said, some of the sales in new vehicles from the Koreans actually cannibalized others within their ranks, notably the Kia Optima (K5 in South Korea), which after its latest redesign saw orders triple, though some of that came at the expense of Hyundai’s Sonata, which only saw demand increase by some 5.2 percent in the same period.
There’s every chance the same thing could happen again with Kia planning to launch the more upmarket K9, designed to go after the same customers as the Hyundai’s Genesis and Equus.
Frank Ahrens, a spokesman for Hyundai said the car-to-car rivalry between the two brands extends to all segments. Further complicating matters is the fact that although Hyundai and Kia are overseen by the same chairman (Chung Mong Koo) and share a development center, they are run as two separate companies and arch rivals at that.
There’s no question that Hyundai’s original 51 percent purchase of Kia Motors back in 1998 rejuvenated the brand and helped it grow into a purveyor of world-class vehicles with competitive prices. All the same, the companies need to sort out their differences now more than ever because it seems global competition is going to intensify in 2012 especially with Honda and Toyota returning to pre-disaster capacity.
This will likely mean Hyundai and Kia will need to develop a successful alignment strategy for their respective product lines, for example: focusing one brand on premium products and the other on volume sales. In doing so, they stand a greater chance of stealing sales from Japanese, American and European rivals instead of each other.
It seems that signs of greater product differentiation between Hyundai and Kia’s offerings are afoot; Kia’s European COO, Paul Philpott, said during a recent interview that “Hyundai will become the mainstream brand with Kia [functioning as] the sportier, dynamic little brother.”
In terms of prime time viewing, it often doesn’t get any better than during the Super Bowl. As a result companies want to make every second of air time count during the commercial breaks, often leading to some of the most inventive ads of all time.
This year, Kia Motors is pulling out all the stops, thanks to a commercial which Michale Sprague, head of Kia’s US marketing and communications calls “the ultimate man’s dream.” It’s all part of a plan for Kia to boost its image into a more upscale, edgier brand.
Essentially, the ad incorporates a Kia Optima tearing around a race track, while scantily clad supermodel Adriana Lima and mixed-martial arts fighter Chuck Liddell do what they do best, as Mötley Crüe rock on stage, performing Kickstart My Heart.
The 60-second commercial will first be seen in movie theaters beginning on February 3, while 15-second teaser ads will also air beforehand. In an attempt to maximize the ad’s potential Kia will also leverage both the Twitter and Facebook followings of the stars featured in the commercial.
[Source: USA Today]
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.
10. Chevrolet Spark
Just a few years ago picking a Top 10 Cars list from the LA Auto Show would have been a simple task, with few world premieres and most of the vehicles on display having already been revealed at some overseas venue. That’s no longer the case, with over 20 global debuts this year. So with a sizable list to choose from, the AutoGuide team sat down at the end of the two media days of press conferences to determine the most exciting, most interesting and most important reveals of the show. And here they are:
From the Fiat 500 to the Smart fortwo and Scion iQ, the mini car segment continues to grow in North America. Not wanting to pass this segment by, Chevrolet has entered the fray with a tiny car of its own, the Spark. Sized down from even the new Sonic sub-compact it still has a livable amount of space and comes powered by an ultra-small 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine making just 85-hp. Thankfully it weighs just 2,300 lbs, so acceleration, shouldn’t be terrible.
Notable features on this car include a standard 7-inch screen with Chevy’s new MyLink system and Bluetooth. Plus, power windows, air conditioning and 10 airbags come standard.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Spark