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.
Is America ready for another strange-sounding offshore nameplate? That answer seems irrelevant in light of Ssangyong’s new plans to introduce their vehicles in America by 2016, with a goal to be in the marketplace by 2013.
Ssangyong has a history of making fairly rugged SUVs that have been sold in global markets. While their previous generation of light trucks benefited from Mercedes-Benz’s engineering expertise, their most recent vehicles, including the Rodius minivan, were considered to be some of the ugliest cars of all time.
Parent company Mahindra hopes that Ssangyong can move 20,000 cars in the United States, but with Mahindra’s failed experiment at importing pickups into the United States still looming in the background, dealers who previously agreed to become Mahindra franchisees are on guard, with one telling Automotive News that he fears the Ssangyong plans may just be a trojan horse for the eventual importation of Mahindra trucks.
The long rumored Hyundai Sonata station wagon exists, and it bowed at the Geneva Auto Show, dubbed the Hyundai i40 Tourer, in keeping with the brand’s European nomenclature.
Although Hyundai PR bigwigs have denied that the i40 will come to America, we think that rising gas prices may provide an impetus for this kind of vehicle, rather than an SUV. The i40 Tourer was designed at Hyundai’s German R&D facility, and it shows in the high-quality interior, compact 1.7L diesel engine and distinct styling. While a choice of powertrains is available, Hyundai is pushing their 1.7L diesel hard, an engine that is much more aligned with European rather than North American tastes. Expect this car to do battle with the Euro-market Volkswagen Passat wagon when it goes on sale this year.
Gallery: Hyundai i40 Tourer
After the United States legislated mandatory pedestrian warning systems for hybrid and plug-in vehicles, Hyundai was forced to go back to the drawing board, and modify their Sonata Hybrid sedan to comply with the new legislation.
The Sonata Hybrid was originally equipped to give drivers the ability to turn off the “chirping” sound emitted at low speeds to let pedestrians know that a car was approaching (at low speeds, hybrid and electric vehicles are virtually silent), but with Congress legally mandating the systems, Hyundai had to make changes to the Sonata Hybrid, with the wiring harness, driver interface and owners manual all had to be changed to ensure compliance.
The first Sonata Hybrid was delivered in January, 2011, a couple weeks behind schedule.
[Source: Green Car Reports]
Hyundai has unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, dubbed the Tuscon iX FCEV, that will allow the automaker to explore another area of alternative fuel technology.
With a total range of 403 miles (up from 230 previously), the Tuscon has some fairly good legs compared to the electric vehicles current marketed. Hyundai has also reduced the space needed to store hydrogen by 20 percent, and the vehicle gets an equivalent rating of 72 mpg. Hyundai also replaced the previous super capacitor system with a 21kw battery, which is credited with the bump in fuel economy.
Hyundai dealers were reportedly shown a coupe version of the Elantra compact, set to debut in spring, as well as a new Azera full-size sedan that will go on sale in the fall.
While Hyundai officials would not confirm or deny the Elantra Coupe’s existence, one dealer told Automotive News that an image of the car was presented and it was “gorgeous”.
The Azera, which replaces the long-in-the-tooth current version, will get a 3.3L direct-injection V6 that makes 260 horsepower. The Korean market Grandeur, which was unveiled recently, should provide a good idea of what the Azera will look like.
[Source: Automotive News]
This year’s Super Bowl is heavy on automotive ads, with Hyundai, Audi, Volkswagen and Chevrolet all spending megabucks to get a coveted ad slot at television’s biggest event of the year.
Hyundai’s spots largely focus on their new superstar, the 2011 Elantra, with Hyundai calling for an end to hypnotizingly dull compacts. A fourth spot highlights the Sonata Hybrid and the engineering that went into it. The Elantra spots look like they were inspired by an acid trip, as evidenced by the screen cap above.
Fortunately, you don’t have to watch the big game just to see the ads. Hit the jump to check out all 3 of Hyundai’s Super Bowl commercials.
While the Hyundai Veloster made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show, the company has quietly been testing a barely disguised Veloster with something a bit more sinister under the hood. The most likely explanation is that Hyundai is testing a more powerful Veloster, likely with a turbocharger.
A turbo Veloster would be the most logical choice, as its GDI engine would be well-paired with a turbo. Horsepower could be boosted well above the current 138-hp figure without a major penalty in fuel economy or curb weight. Since the standard Veloster weighs just under 2600 lbs, the associated turbo hardware would likely bring the car closer to 2700lbs.
Of course, Hyundai can’t make the Veloster too quick. Although the Genesis Coupe is expected to get a boost in power, with a base engine making 274 horsepower, the Veloster can’t step on the toes of the flagship sports car, and we think Hyundai won’t show us the Veloster’s full potential for that reason alone.
Kia‘s Rondo small minivan and Borrego SUV have been dumped from the U.S. lineup, ostensibly after slow sales forced Kia to cease importation.
Although originally reported by Automotive News, Kia declined to comment on the matter. The Borrego was never a strong seller in the U.S., although the large SUV, along with the Rondo small minivan will continue being sold in Canada and other markets. The Rondo is successful north of the border, and with the arrival of the Ford C-Max and Chevrolet Orlando (also exclusive to Canada), the car’s future looks pretty solid in that market.
The United Auto Workers continued its campaign of irrelevancy as its President, Bob King, launched a series of veiled threats at foreign automakers with American plants (such as the Honda plant seen above), while simultaneously stating that the very survival of the UAW is at stake – and the organization of a foreign automaker’s plant is the key to the UAW’s continued existence.
“If we don’t organize these transnationals, I don’t think there’s a long term future for the UAW — I really don’t,” said King in a speech to members of a political conference held in Washington, D.C.
Despite the fact that foreign automakers offer equivalent or better wages than UAW plants, King is aggressively targeting them, with King planning to pick a target within 90 days. Other actions include targeting dealers of the chosen automaker for protests, and asking automakers to comply with “fair bargaining” principles, despite that fact that it runs counter to the complete absence of collective bargaining in foreign auto plants. “They don’t fear us and they think they can’t get away with it,” King said, in an almost naked display of insecurity regarding his own relevance.
King was at least cognizant enough to acknowledge that the UAW was a spent force, stating “Here’s the terrible position we’re in autos. Because we’ve fallen so far in the percent of workers represented by the UAW in autos” the union can’t demand big increases because of non union competitors. “So if we go in, we dramatically raise fixed costs for Ford, General Motors or Chrysler, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. … We don’t want to disadvantage the (Detroit 3) companies.” King ended his speech by telling UAW members that Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012 would be beneficial for the UAW, due to his pro-union stance.
[Source: The Detroit News]
In the hubub surrounding the Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Genesis, the Hyundai Azera gets overlooked as neither fish nor fowl. The full-size front driver has fallen off the map.
Evidently, there is still a market for the Azera, and the latest generation has just been launched in Korea as the (appropriately named) Grandeur. The new Azera is two inches longer than the outgoing model, and receives the new 3.8L Lambda V6 to replace the current car’s 3.3L unit that’s become antiquated after spending far too long on the market.
The Azera’s sharp new styling could make it a pretty potent competitor to cars like the Ford Taurus and the Toyota Avalon, which may put driving enthusiasts to sleep, but have a substantial following among people looking for something to eat up highway miles during long-distance driving. Look for the new Azera sometime in 2012.
Although only a sketch has been released so far, the familiar design language brought forth by Kia styling boss Peter Schreyer. Mechanically, the car should share the new Accent’s 1.6L Gamma 4-cylinder, which is estimated to return 37 mpg in the city and an astounding 50 mpg on the highway.
Hit the jump to see the official press release
Finalists for the North American Car and Truck of the Year have been announced, with Chrysler dominating the truck field, and electric vehicles comprising 2/3rds of the car category.
The Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee, both built on the same platform, were nominated in the truck category, as well as the re-designed Ford Explorer.
In the car segment, both the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are nominated, with the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T as the lone traditional car.
The jury deciding on the awards is made up for 49 journalists from the United States and Canada. 50 vehicles are sampled, while only 14 make it to the second round.
Hyundai‘s previous generation Sonata is still on sale in European markets, and with a new alphanumeric naming convention being established, the next Sonata will apparently be known as the i40 when it makes its European debut at the 2011 Geneva auto show.
So far, the i40w station wagon has been the only variant previewed so far. We wouldn’t be surprised if this car, designed with Europe in mind, made it here as the Sonata wagon, a long-rumored product. We’re not sure if the Sonata sedan will be sold as the European i40 – while the car has the chops to go up against class leaders like the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat, its North American size may be an issue in Europe, where space comes at a premium.
Hyundai’s range of diesel engines, expected to be offered on the i40, will also likely not make it over here.
[Source: Hyundai Blog]
The latest batch of Hyundai Azera photos have surfaced, and the vehicle looks to be following in the footsteps of its little brother, the Sonata, by looking nearly identical to its mid-size counterpart.
With its re-design, the Azera moves from its position as a stodgy-looking competitor to the Toyota Avalon and towards a sportier full-size car. Honestly, we can’t see why such a vehicle is necessary when the Sonata seems to be able to do it all, but with no V6 option on the Sonata, the Azera will likely have that role covered, and a 3.8L Lambda V6 is the most likely candidate.
Gallery: Hyundai Azera
[Source: Car Throttle]
For all the hype surrounding Ford‘s Fiesta subcompact, which is capable of hitting 40 mpg, it looks like subcompacts, especially those than can hit the vaunted number, aren’t selling all that well in the USA.
Even though gas prices will almost certainly hit $3 a gallon, customers are still gravitating towards compact cars, according to Cars.com’s David Thomas. This means vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra are well positioned with their 40 mpg fuel economy numbers, spacious interior and premium features…but if gas prices keep going past $3 (and they almost certainly will) then the sub compact segment may see a resurgence, just like the summer of 2008 when gas was around $4.
The big winners in the segment are still the Nissan Versa and Honda Fit respectively, with the Versa enjoying a nearly 3,000 unit lead over the Fit in November. Hyundai’s Accent and the Fit are nearly neck and neck, while the Fiesta comes in at fourth place, but cars like the Chevrolet Aveo and Toyota Yaris are nipping at its heels, even with stale-dated designs and no 40 mpg capability. We think the significant delta in price between a bare bones Aveo and a more expensive Fiesta hatch may have something to do with this.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
Hyundai has yet another SEMA car, this time in the form of a hotted up Genesis Coupe. While the car is undoubtedly a show car, a Gogogear car is slated to run in the U.S Touring Car Championship, a sanctioned sports car class overseen by the National Auto Sports Association.
Nobody would ever confuse this car, with a full interior and heavy, gloss black rims for a race car, the car’s powertrain stays pretty close to stock, with a bolt on intake and exhaust, while the the suspension has been heavily overworked with ARK shocks, springs and coilover sleeves as well as QA1 bearings. Stoptech brakes and Earl’s oil lines and associated fittings help the car achieve 1.4 lateral G’s during cornering, and keep oil flowing to the engine under these conditions.
Many may scratch their heads at the “mild” nature of the engine mods, but in many sanctioned racing series, these are tightly restricted, while chassis tweaks are where many cars make up their speed. We’re happy to see Gogogear take this approach, rather than the dreadful “Import2NR” style that still exists in the sport compact community.
Brad Benson, owner of a Hyundai dealership in South Brunswick, New Jersey, is making good on his promise to donate a car to Terry Jones, a Florida pastor who threatened to burn the Quran, after he reneged on the planned destruction of the Muslim holy book.
Benson had offered to give Jones a Hyundai Accent for free if he refrained, although it may have been the personal appeals from figures like President Barack Obama and General David Patraeus that swayed Jones’ decision.
A representative from Benson’s dealership contacted Jones, who initially declined the car. In the end, he decided to donate the vehicle to a center for battered Muslim women, a noble, if politically loaded gesture. Benson, of course, is the big winner here, racking up tons of free publicity for relatively little cost.
[Source: Autoblog via The New York Times]
Hyundai‘s Genesis 2.0T gets the lions share of attention from the tuning community, but the 3.8 V6, with a 300 horsepower V6, is potentially an even better building block for making big power.
Based on the 3.8 Genesis Coupe R-Spec, the ARK edition puts out an estimated 450-horsepower through a supercharger kit, a bolt-on exhaust and intake system (including headers, test pipes and a muffler system) and an upgraded 4-puck clutch. Volk TE37 wheels, a big brake kit and full coilovers wind out the chassis upgrades, while a Bride seat, Takata harness and a 6-point rollcage help keep you in place.
The car is set to debut at the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, but we think that’s a crime. Better to let us loose on a road course so we can give our impressions right to Hyundai.
GALLERY: ARK Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec