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.
General Motors unveiled its brand-new family of Ecotec small-displacement engines at its Powertrain Headquarters in Pontiac, Mich. this morning. The lineup will include 11 separate powerplants in both three- and four-cylinder configurations.
Heads up EV fans, Kia is on track to launch its first global battery-powered vehicle in 2016.
Keeping pace with Hyundai, Kia unveiled its latest production car today: the 2013 Forte 5-Door.
The South Korean auto market has long been dominated by domestic automakers like Hyundai and Kia, but Toyota is planning to make a play by sending 6,000 American-built Camrys to South Korea.
Deliveries will begin starting in January, 2012. Toyota has been exporting the Sienna minivan since November, and also sells the Corolla, Prius and RAV4. Toyota is evidently looking to take advantage of a new free-trade agreement signed between the U.S. and South Korea, as well as take advantage of favorable exchange rates between Korea and the U.S.
Our big question is, with Korean cars (especially Camry competitors like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima) so good noawadays, why would any Korean consumers even bother buying them.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Well if you happen to live in Kia’s home market of S. Korea, you could look into their newest offering, dubbed the Ray.
While the name might sound similar to the sea creature, the Kia Ray is neither sleek or stealthy. What it is, is a boxy city car for people who live in major metropolitan cities like Seoul.
The skin is very much in keeping with the style of all modern Kia’s, so it has a wide grille accented with chrome, plus L.E.D. daytime running lights.
What lies under the skin is anybody’s guess at the moment, although it could very possibly be carrying the three-cylinder, 1.0-liter engine or the four-cylinder, 1.25-liter engine currently offered in the Picanto, a model Kia sells in Asia and Europe, but not North America. An electric version of the Ray is also rumored.
It is also believed that while the Ray does not use the Picanto platform, much of the hardware will be shared between the two models to reduce cost.
What will surely be very unique to the Ray is the way its doors are arranged. While the rear door behind the driver opens conventionally, the rear passenger door slides, like in a minivan.
The Kia Ray might not make it to the North American market, but it could be headed to showrooms in other Asian markets like China.
Produced at Toyota’s Princeton, Indiana plant, the Sienna has long been a top seller in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Now, scheduled early this November, South Korea will mark the Sienna’s first distribution outside of North America.
Toyota has been exporting U.S. built vehicles since 1988 and the addition of South Korea bumps the number of countries that will receive U.S. built Toyota vehicles to 19. Models that are currently exported included the Toyota Avalon sedan of Georgetown, Kentucky, the Sequoia SUV of Princeton, Indiana and the Tacoma/Tundra pickup of San Antonio, Texas.
Yoshimi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. is optimistic of Sienna’s success in South Korea, “Toyota’s North American operations are constantly working to identify and expand new export opportunities for the vehicles we produce here, building on our extensive investments in auto production, research and development in the U.S. and helping to maintain a strong, stable base of jobs… With this development and other possible achievements in the future, we hope to continue boosting exports from our North American operations.”
Toyota North America has exported about 100,000 units for calendar year 2010. Initial sales of the Sienna in the South Korean market is a modest 600 units annually.
GALLERY: 2012 Sienna
It is a sad day for Bimmer fans everywhere, as the first ever recorded accident of the powerful 1-Series M Coupe occurred in South Korea.
The 1M crash took place in South Korea and the owner, who was the first customer to receive the 1-Series M in South Korea, posted the pictures on the BMW 1Addicts forum. He explained that it wasn’t his fault, because another car ran through a red light.
Usually for a car accident to end up on the auto news section, the vehicle in question tends to be a pricey supercar. However this is a very exlusive model. BMW admits that its latest high performance two door rocket will have a very limited run of one model year. With limited production in place, the $47,010 price tag may be a bargain should this car appreciate in value in the future. BMW stated that “less than 1,000 units” will be produced in 2011.
[Source: 1 Addicts]
Ferrari has just announced that the Eternità concept is the winning entrant for their International Design Contest. The contest challenged students to develop the Ferrari hypercar of the future with the latest generation technologies and materials, while preserving the iconic performance and elegance associated with the legendary Italian automaker.
The Eternità was created by students of South Korea’s Hongik Univeristy, with a futuristic roadster with aerodynamic styling, a wraparound windscreeen and aggressive side skirts. Fifty prestigious international design schools entered the competition and the Eternità beat out the Xezri and Cavallo Biaco concepts from students of IED Turin and RCA London. Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo said, ”I saw at first hand the many genuinely innovative ideas that these talented youngsters sent us and could feel the enormous passion and commitment that had gone into them. I am certain that some of these suggestions will come to light in the Ferraris of the future.” The winner was awarded the grand prize of an internship at Ferrari in Maranello, Italy as well as a cash prize.
Chevrolet will build their 2013 Malibu in China and South Korea before it beings production Stateside, solidifying Chevrolet’s aims for the Malibu to be a “world car”.
South Korea will be the first country to build the Malibu, starting in late 2011. China and the United States will begin building the car in early 2012. South Korean Malibus will be built domestically in order to dodge substantial levies on imported cars, while America will get cars built in both Michigan and Kansas.
Chevrolet notably debuted the car in China in advance of the car’s American introduction, with GM touting strong sales in Asia for the car.
Hyundai‘s Veloster sports coupe will have its North American introduction delayed by two months due to a labor dispute involving a union at its South Korean factory.
A labor dispute involving changes to the shift structure at the Veloster’s plant in Ulsan caused a production slowdown, which saw the plant operate at 33 percent capacity. Labor disputes and strikes are extremely common in the South Korean auto industry, with one occuring every summer for a 20 year period from 1988-2008.
While North American launch plans are still on track for the second half of this year, Hyundai has been forced to go ahead with a limited roll-out in South Korea, with a target of 18,000 cars sold. The Veloster is a key product in both markets, with the car being both a push into the “premium” market at home, and a way to bring in young customers in the United States.
[Source: Automotive News]
Discuss this news and more at Veloster.org
Daewoo, one of South Korea’s most famous nameplates, is being retired by parent company General Motors, in favor of Chevrolet. GM is hoping to make Chevrolet a global brand, and the move fits in with their overall strategy.
Daewoo has a deservedly poor reputation in the United States for making and selling cars that were less than stellar, but the firm has made enormous strides, becoming an invaluable engineering arm for GM’s small car division. But despite their laudable work behind the scenes (such as playing a huge role in developing the Cruze, Spark and Sonic small cars), the new company, known as GM Korea Co., will be undergoing a radical transformation this year.
The biggest marker of change will be the launch of the Camaro in Q1 of 2011, along with a refresh of 8 other vehicles. “We have studied the brand issue in depth for a long time and have come to the conclusion that launching a new brand strategy and making Chevrolet our primary brand is good for all stakeholders, including especially Korean consumers,” spokesman Park Haeho said.
Daewoo only has 9 percent market share in South Korea, compared to Hyundai’s 47 percent and Kia’s 33 percent. GM is hoping to increase it to 10 percent, despite Daewoo being a Korean nameplate in a market where domestic cars are heavily favored.
[Source: Automotive News]
Hyundai was able to achieve a 45 percent market share in South Korea in 2010, falling well below its target of 52 percent. Luckily, the failure to meet the target thanks to phenomenal growth from the Kia brand, owned by Hyundai and Kia’s new Optima and Sportage.
For 2011, Hyundai is targeting a more modest 47 percent with their new Grandeur sedan and the Veloster sports coupe. Hyundai’s main competitors, Daewoo and Renault-Samsung, lag behind Kia and Hyundai significantly. South Korea still remains Hyundai’s largest market despite phenomenal growth in the United States.
When most people think about Saudi Arabia, they think about a country that produces 10-million barrels of crude oil every day, a country where temperatures in the summer can reach over 130-degrees, and a country where the Sheikhs live in mansions bigger than some high-end resorts.
While there is a huge car culture there, with the well-to-do acquiring just about every exotic car ever made, the country isn’t known for producing its own car.
That is all about to change, as the King Saud University (KSU) announced recently that it has signed a $500-million deal with South Korea’s Digm Automotive Technology, to produce the nations first ever production car.
KSU surprised everyone when it showed a concept vehicle at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show called the Gazal-1, based on the Mercedes G-Class platform. Now this forward thinking university has set up a fund, where it will come up with 10 to 15 percent of the investment, Digm will contribute about 30 percent and the rest to be covered by investors.
KSU president Abdullah Al-Othman said the first car will be a five-passenger vehicle. He added, “Our aim is to market a low-cost car of high quality priced at between SR35,000 and SR45,000, ($9,300 to $12,000).”
The aim is to have the car ready in about two-years, and in the beginning the car will be marketed in its home country, plus other neighboring Arab nations and North African countries.
Hyundai shocked consumers in the North American market by introducing the Genesis last year and is set to do so all over again as the flagship Equus luxury sedan is scheduled to go on sale here next year.
At the time of the announcement the Equus was slated to get the company’s largest engine, the 4.6-liter V8 found in the top-trim Genesis sedan. Now it appears Hyundai has an even bigger engine in the works, to be paired with an even larger version of the Equus.
These spy photos, taken in Ulsan, South Korea, show a long wheelbase Equus sporting a VL500 badge, indicating that the limousine will be powered by a 5.0-liter V8. With the 4.6-liter unit making 375hp, the five-liter should certainly produce as much as 400 ponies.
The new flagship for Hyundai will get several other enhancements, including LED headlights and, no-doubt, numerous lavish luxurious features.
GALLERY: Hyundai Equus VL500