Oct
24

What you missed on 10.23.14

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uturn

Toyota TundraQuick Spin: 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Toyota might not be able to keep up with American pickup manufacturers in terms of sales, but that doesn’t mean its fullsize Tundra isn’t a wholly baked, tough truck. In an effort to attract new buyers, Toyota has released this off-road-ready TRD Pro variant for 2015. Senior Editor Steven Ewing takes one for a quick spin to see what’s what.

Hyundai SonataIs Hyundai’s new Sonata in a sales slump?

The 2011 Sonata was a massive step forward for Hyundai, and the car was really quite successful. But some insiders suggest that, since the redesigned Sonata launched this year, Hyundai’s midsize sedan might be losing some steam. Of course, officials at Hyundai are quick to point out that this isn’t necessarily the case. Read both sides of the story, here.

Chevy CamaroChevy spied testing… ’80s Camaros?

We know Chevy is hard at work on its next-generation Camaro, but today, our spies captured something rather interesting out on the road. It appears that in addition to new Camaro models, Chevy is testing some modified versions of its third-gen Camaro – you know, from the 1980s. We’re not sure what to make of these shots, but they’re interesting, nonetheless. Check ‘em out, here.

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What you missed on 10.23.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Oct
23

Is Hyundai’s conservative new Sonata struggling out of the gate?

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2015 Hyundai Sonata

“But so far, Sonata sales are up compared with last year even while we’re still ramping up to full speed.” – Jim Trainor

According to Reuters, the redesigned-for-2015 Hyundai Sonata is not enjoying the same degree of success in the early going as the previous sixth-gen model, which proved to be one of the most important models in the company’s history and ushered in the company’s so-called “Fluidic Sculpture” design language that we still see today. Citing a recent review from The New York Times that called the car’s more conservative styling “bland” and “boring,” Reuters also points to analysts who claim the higher price of the new Sonata, as well as smaller rebates and incentives, are hurting sales. Honda and Toyota both offered anywhere from $600 to $800 more on the hoods of their Accord and Camry sedans last month.

We reached out to Hyundai Motor America’s Jim Trainor, national manager of product public relations, and he strenuously argued in-depth against many of the claims made in the Reuters story, telling Autoblog that it’s too early to judge the Sonata’s success, as the entire range hasn’t even made it to dealers yet. He may have a point.

“All along, we had planned for a phased rollout to be sure we were delivering high-quality cars to our dealers and customers right off the bat. For the first month, we began this ramp up with just the 2.4-liter models before we introduced the 2.0-liter turbos,” says Trainor. “Additionally, the all-new 1.6-liter turbo models are just now being shipped to dealers. We are right on track where we wanted to be while delivering the highest quality Sonatas possible.”

Trainor also takes issue with Reuters claim that the Sonata is off to a “slow start,” pointing out that sales in October were actually up seven percent (over 1,000 units) versus the same period in 2013.

In regards to the “bland” and “boring” characterizations reiterated in the Reuters piece, Trainor argues “Picking two words from a car review is a little prejudicial, to say the least. The reporter could have selected from dozens and dozens of positive reviews.”

“It might be fun for some to try to guess the ending of a movie while the popcorn is still warm but that doesn’t guarantee an accurate calculation. But so far, Sonata sales are up compared with last year even while we’re still ramping up to full speed,” Trainor said. “It was one of only 10 cars [named] to the North American Car of the Year short list. So it’s fair to say we’re very happy with what our new, sophisticated Sonata is doing in the market.”

So, who’s right? We’re doing some further investigating, but in the meantime, scroll down to see the rest of Hyundai’s comments – they’re worth reading.

Continue reading Is Hyundai’s conservative new Sonata struggling out of the gate?

Is Hyundai’s conservative new Sonata struggling out of the gate? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Oct
03

Hyundai i20 shows what brown can do for you [w/video]

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Hyundai i20 at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, front three-quarter view.

With the latest generation of the i20 at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Hyundai continues to shake off its old image in Europe as a maker of cheap, unstylish little penalty boxes. This five-door hatch has to fit into the crowded, compact hatch market over there against popular entries like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo – a high bar for success. But the Korean automaker claims that its latest vehicle is up to the task because it’s designed in Europe specifically with European buyers in mind.

The new i20 takes a small step a bit more upmarket with features like LED front and rear lighting and a rearview camera. However, the biggest change is the jump in interior room, though. The wheelbase is two-inches longer than before, and the growth gives the hatch best-in-class legroom and cargo capacity with the rear seats up, according to Hyundai. Rounding out the improvements is an available panoramic sunroof that the company also believes is unique for the segment.

For the Paris show, Hyundai made the i20 extra sweet by covering it in a chocolaty shade of brown to look like a little French confection on the show floor. Scroll down for all of the details about it, and for the impossibly epic launch video.

Continue reading Hyundai i20 shows what brown can do for you [w/video]

Hyundai i20 shows what brown can do for you [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 18:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Oct
01

Hyundai Genesis gets stanced by Ark Performance for SEMA

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Hyundai Genesis Ark Performance SEMA Concept

Hyundai has yet another high-performance concept for the upcoming 2014 SEMA Show in November to join its 708-horsepower Sonata. For this one, Ark Performance is taking the Genesis Sedan and pumping up the output by supercharging its 5.0-liter V8, along with a mile-long list of other modifications to mix speed with added luxury.

Ark calls the tuner concept the AR550 in reference to taking the Genesis’ standard 420 horsepower V8 and boosting it an extra 130 hp with a Rotrex supercharger to bring total output to 550 hp. The mill also benefits from a freer breathing intake and exhaust, new engine management and more.

All of that extra power would be nearly useless without upgrades elsewhere to handle it, and Ark has some big additions to include. The one-off rides on an air suspension system and stiffer front and rear sway bars. To bring things to a halt faster, larger brakes from Brembo replace the standard units.

To show off the additional performance aesthetically, Ark Performance also completely overhauls the exterior of the Genesis with its own bodykit and forged, bronze-colored wheels. The modifications include parts to widen the front and rear bumpers, including the fenders, a carbon fiber front splitter, new side skirts and a rear diffuser. Inside, the tuner wants to keep occupants comfy even while cruising at high speed with custom diamond-stitched seats and door panels from Katzkin.

According to the tuner, the whole package of the AR550 is supposed to imagine Hyundai’s answer to the Bahnstorming executive sedans from AMG and the BMW M division. Scroll down to read the full release about it.

Continue reading Hyundai Genesis gets stanced by Ark Performance for SEMA

Hyundai Genesis gets stanced by Ark Performance for SEMA originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sep
29

Hyundai HG350 ready to take on Europe’s Transits and Sprinters

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Hyundai HG350 van

Here in North America, Hyundai has been historically known as a purveyor of affordable, content-laden everyday cars and crossovers. More recently, it’s also been pushing upmarket and attempting to gain respect for its sporting joneses. In other parts of the world, however, the Korean automaker is a major force in commercial vehicles, providing everything from chassis cabs and dump trucks to fullsize motor coaches. Now, it’s looking to push further overseas, squarely into Europe’s already mature van business with this new HG350, a new commercial vehicle that will form the basis for a cargo van, passenger transport and flatbed truck.

This three-pronged approach will see Hyundai fighting directly against the new Ford Transit, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and models like the recently overhauled Fiat Ducato/Peugeot Boxer twins. The rear-drive, six-speed manual-equipped range is available in 3.5-ton cargo or flatbed spec, or in 4.0-ton guise with as many as 15 seats. The cargo version, incidentally, can hold up to 456 cubic feet of stuff. Regardless of configuration, power comes from a common-rail diesel displacing 2.5 liters with either 148 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque or 168 hp and 311 lb-ft.

With the American market finally embracing Euro-style cargo vans, does that mean that Hyundai might bring the HG350 here? Not likely. “While a heck of a vehicle, this isn’t anything we are seriously considering right now for the US market,” Jim Trainor, Hyundai Motor America’s national manager of product public relations, tells Autoblog.

So, no HG350, but rumors persist that Hyundai is actively investigating the possibility of marketing a different sort of truck: a fullsize pickup. About this, Trainor is understandably cagey, but he did offer this tantalizingly open-ended response: “While our focus is on our lineup of cars and CUVs, we never say never to any segment.”

Continue reading Hyundai HG350 ready to take on Europe’s Transits and Sprinters

Hyundai HG350 ready to take on Europe’s Transits and Sprinters originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Sep 2014 08:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sep
24

Judge reduces damages in fatal Hyundai crash to $81M

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Hyundai-Kia Passses Honda To Become Greenest Automaker According To Trade Group

Hyundai no longer has to pay $248 million as part of a court ruling from a fatal accident in Montana that killed two cousins in a 2005 Tiburon. The judge hearing the appeal revised the amount down to a total of about $81 million. She upheld the original $8.1 million in actual damages but reduced the punitive damages to $73 million from the previous $240 million.

According to Bloomberg, the judge refused Hyundai’s desire to reduce the amount even further. She said in her court order that the company showed “an indifference to or reckless disregard of the health and safety of the motoring public.”

In the original case, the families’ attorneys alleged that the cracking of a faulty steering knuckle caused the fatal accident. Hyundai argued that fireworks had been let off inside the vehicle, which caused the driver to swerve and crash. In a statement released after the ruling, the automaker claimed that evidence supporting its defense was barred from the trial. According to Bloomberg, had the original amount of damages been upheld, it would have been the sixth-highest amount awarded by a jury in the US this year.

Hyundai sent the following statement about the latest ruling to Autoblog by email:

“Hyundai believes the rulings are erroneous and constitute an extreme outlier in the law on punitive damages. Virtually every other state court that has considered the constitutionality of punitive damages caps has held that such laws do not violate the jury trial right because the jury’s fact-finding function is preserved. Nationally, both state and federal courts consistently have upheld the constitutionality of punitive damages caps. With these rulings and the other erroneous rulings made at trial, Hyundai looks forward to its appeal in this matter.”

In other words, it sounds like this particular case isn’t quite over just yet…

Judge reduces damages in fatal Hyundai crash to $81M originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Sep 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sep
19

Hyundai spooks investors by paying $10B for new Gangnam HQ location

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A man walks past a logo of Hyundai motor

Doing things Gangnam style apparently costs a serious chunk of change, because Hyundai is reportedly paying roughly $10 billion for 19.6 acres (79,342 square meters) of land in the trendy district of Seoul, South Korea, to serve as the location for its new headquarters. That eye-popping number represents the highest amount ever paid for a plot of land in South Korea, according to Reuters. The hefty price tag reportedly scared investors enough for stock prices to sink dramatically.

Shareholders were apparently upset because the massive outlay could instead have been put back into the company for research and development or other improvements. Instead, the company reportedly bid triple the land’s appraised value, says Reuters. The announcement caused Hyundai’s stock price to plummet a massive 9 percent, and there were losses from Kia and the company’s parts arm, as well. All told, the three of them lost nearly $8 billion in value from the falling share prices – almost enough to pay for the controversial land.

Hyundai currently has its headquarters on the outskirts of Seoul, but seems keen to move to the high-end Gangnam district to show off its rising status. It plans to build a new office complex, hotel, convention center and theme park on the site. According to an analyst speaking to Reuters, that could all cost an additional $6 billion to complete.

“In order to achieve production capacity of 10 million cars and bolster brand value that befits a global top-five company, we need a global business center. The bid is the result of comprehensively reviewing its value as a symbol of the group’s second growth phase,” a Hyundai spokesperson told Reuters. The company and electronics giant Samsung were both bidding to buy the land from Korea Electric Power, but clearly the automaker was willing to pay anything to get it.

Hyundai spooks investors by paying $10B for new Gangnam HQ location originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sep
17

Autoblog Podcast #397

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Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #397 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Seyth Miersma talk about the leadership change at Ferrari, the Mercedes-AMG GT, and we give a report on the Long-Term Garage. We start with what’s in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #397:

Topics:

In The Autoblog Garage:

Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Seyth Miersma
Runtime: 01:49:28

Rundown:

  • Intro and Garage – 00:00
  • Montezemolo steps down – 31:16
  • AMG GT – 54:50
  • Long Term Update – 01:11:35
  • Q&A – 01:27:47

Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

Continue reading Autoblog Podcast #397

Autoblog Podcast #397 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sep
09

Hyundai hires actor Paul Rudd as pitchman [w/video]

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Hyundai Co-Pilot ad with the voice of Paul Rudd

The Dude abides, but his deep voice is going to be coming from your TV a little less. After seven years of his earthiness, laid back actor Jeff Bridges is no longer the voice of Hyundai in the brand’s advertising. He has been replaced by comedian Paul Rudd who is already narrating the new commercial for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata.

“We were looking for a voice that could be recognizable and relatable to a new generation of car buyers,” said Steve Shannon, vice president of Marketing, Hyundai Motor America, in the company’s announcement of the deal. “Rudd can be serious, humorous, informative and entertaining all at the same time.”

According to Hyundai spokesperson Derek Joyce speaking to Autoblog, the deal with Rudd goes for the next three years. “He’s our tier one voice, and that’s going to affect tone” in the company’s ads,” Joyce said. The first spot with Rudd is titled Co-Pilot, and it stars a backseat driver losing out to the Sonata’s navigation system and safety features at every turn. Rudd isn’t physically in the commercial but does the ending voiceover. The company wouldn’t say when the next ad with the new pitchman might debut.

Hyundai joins Lincoln with its hire of Matthew McConaughey as another brand making a big shift in advertising in hopes of appealing to a new group of buyers. Scroll down to watch the commercial and read the company’s full announcement.

Continue reading Hyundai hires actor Paul Rudd as pitchman [w/video]

Hyundai hires actor Paul Rudd as pitchman [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sep
05

Hyundai swims against the current with new i20 Coupe

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Hyundai i20 Coupe teaser

Coupefying hatchbacks is all the rage in the European market these days. Its what Opel and Vauxhall did with the latest Astra, and what Renault did with the M

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