John Krafcik eyes Sonata, talks about his new role

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2015 Hyundai Sonata

General Views From The Chicago Auto ShowAs hundreds of people gathered to watch the unveiling of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday, John Krafcik, a driving force behind the new vehicle, found himself in a peculiar position.

He stood far away from the car, away from the crowd. He watched from the Nissan stand as the covers were pulled off the Sonata.

If it was an awkward moment for Krafcik, whose tenure as Hyundai’s chief executive officer ended on January 1, he didn’t show it. He offered effusive praise of the Sonata. “It’s a beautiful car,” he said. “I think it’s wonderful.”

After his contract expired at the end of December, Krafcik, who led Hyundai’s ascension as a key competitor in the American auto industry, quickly moved to his next challenge. Earlier this month, Krafcik joined the board of directors at TrueCar, the car-shopping website that is preparing for its initial public offering, which is expected later this year.

Per Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, he couldn’t talk about the upcoming IPO. But the always-exuberant executive was upbeat about his new gig and the auto industry in general as he paced the show floor Wednesday.

Continue reading John Krafcik eyes Sonata, talks about his new role

John Krafcik eyes Sonata, talks about his new role originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



2015 Hyundai Sonata plays a more mature tune

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2015 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai’s new North American CEO Dave Zuckowski pulled a silky sheet off of the redesigned 2015 Sonata here at the New York Auto Show, ushering in not only a new era of domestic stewardship for the company, but also a new, more mature design direction for its mass-market vehicles.

Though we’ve already seen the striking sedan in a wealth of recent photos, seeing the car in person confirmed that Hyundai has another hit on its hands. The Sonata employs the Korean automaker’s new “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0″ design language, which we already witnessed in the new, much lower-volume Genesis. Hyundai describes the language as being more dignified, respectable and confident. We certainly agree with that.

Gone are the swooping lines of old, which grabbed our attention on the previous generation. They’ve been replaced by straight edges and harder angles, most noticeably along the car’s beltline. A larger, more refined grille with a wide air intake leads the car down the road. The stance is athletic, with a steeper, coupe-like roofline, quad chrome-tipped exhaust ports and horizontal lines in the rear, which give the car a planted look. The redesigned headlights are wing-like in appearance and, man, that burnt orange color is sexy.

Under the hood, the engines remain the same – a 2.4-liter four cylinder and 2.0-liter turbo-four – though both have been tweaked to improve performance, mostly in low-RPM situations. Additional updates include a redesigned and bigger interior, which Hyundai says greatly emphasizes ergonomics and comfort, a much more rigid platform, a wealth of new safety features and lots of new tech and infotainment updates, including the smart trunk, first seen on the new Genesis. It’s one of the simplest, yet most novel features we’ve seen in 2014.

There’s a lot to Hyundai’s new midsize sedan. See the full presser below for all the info.

Continue reading 2015 Hyundai Sonata plays a more mature tune

2015 Hyundai Sonata plays a more mature tune originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



Hyundai testing more variants of top-secret commercial van

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Hyundai Commercial Van

Hyundai commercial vanThe commercial van market in the US is exploding with new products at the moment, with entries from Ford, Ram, Nissan and others. And we are seeing images (again) of Hyundai testing its own van in Europe, as well, though it’s not known whether the model will make it to the US. While the company has offered work vehicles overseas in the past, this one appears to be a direct competitor to European vehicles with large bodies and tiny wheels like the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

The latest images show off not just the standard commercial van but also the pickup version, and interior for the first time. According to our spy shooters, Hyundai did not want people to see the inside of the test vehicle, reaching out specifically in an attempt to secure the pictures you see here. It’s hard to say what’s worth being so secretive about, but that big infotainment screen certainly looks like a nice addition. We still aren’t sure whether the Korean company has opted for front- or rear-wheel drive for the model, but the gearshift suggests that it’s using a six-speed manual transmission.

The pickup truck version has a cab that looks just like the standard van. Testing this variant suggests that Hyundai is addressing the need for multiple body configurations in the commercial space.

Other than the camouflage and cladding, the enclosed version looks identical to the previous spy shots we saw. Though the previous iteration had blacked out panels along the side where windows might go, indicating a passenger version.

Hyundai testing more variants of top-secret commercial van originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



Ward’s releases 10 Best Interiors list for 2014

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Mercedes-Benz S-Class

While we’re still a ways off from the automotive awards season proper, where things like North American Car and Truck of the Year, Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year and Car and Driver‘s Ten Best are named, that doesn’t mean there aren’t trophies being handed out to deserving automakers. Ward’s 10 Best Interiors being one of them.

As the name might imply, the magazine focuses on the very best interior treatments in the US market. Whereas some awards purposely exclude extreme, high-dollar offerings, Ward’s considers them – the only requirement is that a vehicle has a “new or significantly redesigned interior.”

Ward’s offered up the list of winners in simple, alphabetical order, and it only seems fair to do the same:

We’ll admit to being surprised by a pair of these – the Kia Soul and Jeep Cherokee – while the rest make a fair amount of sense. What’s most remarkable is the huge range of prices, from the $24,010 Kia to the $372,800 Rolls-Royce.

What do you think of Ward’s findings? Do you agree? Are there any vehicles that should be included in this list? Post your thoughts down in Comments.

Ward’s releases 10 Best Interiors list for 2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



Ex-Hyundai CEO Krafcik joins TrueCar board amidst IPO plans

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CEO Interview Hyundai

Former Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik has had a tumultuous year. Last June, he won the Automotive Executive of the Year from DNV Business Assurance. Then in December, he suddenly announced he was stepping down from his leadership role at the Korean automaker on January 1, with some suggesting it was because the company’s sales growth was too far below forecasts. Now, it looks like the exec has landed a new role on the board of directors of online car shopping website TrueCar.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Krafcik’s role will be to build relationships with automakers and dealers, but the job at TrueCar won’t be full time. Since leaving Hyundai, Krafcik has also been doing consulting work in Silicon Valley. “It’s helped me understand what I might want to do, full, full time. I am just taking things at the appropriate pace,” he said to the Journal.

Krafcik, who is widely considered one of the industry’s top executives, took the helm at Hyundai America in 2008 and led it to an increase in sales and market share. He was with the company when it won North American Car of the Year awards in 2009 and 2012 for the Genesis and Elantra, respectively.

TrueCar is working to change the way cars are sold by interfacing with buyers and dealers to arrive at no-haggle pricing on cars. A new report by Automotive News suggests that the company is on the verge of an Initial Public Offering. TrueCar has filed its intentions with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, with the IPO to be managed by Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. Back in November, values for TrueCar as high as $1.5 billion were floated, but for its IPO, it’s seeking $125 million.

Ex-Hyundai CEO Krafcik joins TrueCar board amidst IPO plans originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Apr 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



2015 Hyundai Genesis priced from $38,000*

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2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan, front three-quarter view

Today’s rear-wheel-drive 2014 Hyundai Genesis sedan with the model’s base 3.8-liter V6 starts at $35,200. Come the new 2015 model, Hyundai has announced that price of entry will climb to $38,000. And if you’re so inclined, the Korean automaker will include its new HTRAC all-wheel drive setup for $2,500, for a bottom line of $40,500. The extra $2,500 for AWD rewards you with more than improved foul-weather handling, as the HTRAC model prepared for cold climes with standard heated steering wheel and rear seats, as well as headlight washers.

If that’s not enough power, stepping up to the company’s well-liked Tau 5.0-liter V8 requires $51,500, a marked $4,100 bump over the price for its 2014 model equivalent, but then again, there’s more standard equipment. And that’s pretty much the top of the line, because the big eight-cylinder can’t be had with all-wheel drive. (Note: *All prices are subject to a $950 destination fee).

Having successfully kept the Genesis’ starting price below $40,000 even after handling and destination, Hyundai has thrown new equipment into the base car beyond its exterior and interior redesign. Gewgaws like paddle shifters, rain-sensing wipers, power folding outside mirrors, power height and lumber-adjustable passenger seat and one-touch power windows in the rear compartment are luxury touches that add more than their raw weight in upscale perception.

The 2014 car currently offers a Premium Package for $4,400, after which you can add the Technology Package for $4,300. The 2015 option structure comprises three packages that also can be stacked: Signature, a $4,000 grouping, includes items like a panoramic roof, power tilt and telescoping wheel and blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert; Technology relieves buyers of $3,500 for lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and a seven-inch TFT dash cluster; and Ultimate asks $3,500, but plants the flag with matte finish wood and aluminum trim, a 9.2-inch navigation screen and dual-mode climate control with the drowsiness-fighting CO2 sensor.

The departing 2014 Genesis V8 doesn’t offer any extra packages, but for the new 2015 model, that changes with the $3,250 Ultimate Package – and it already adds the Technology Package from the 3.8-liter as standard. Ultimate buyers receive continuous damping control suspension and a head-up display, among other goodies.

Counting everything, you won’t have a hard time getting rather spendy with the 2015 Genesis sedan, but Hyundai appears to have made it possible to get into its much sharper presentation for a good price. The press release below has all the details.

Continue reading 2015 Hyundai Genesis priced from $38,000*

2015 Hyundai Genesis priced from $38,000* originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



Hyundai reveals CEO’s pay for first time ever

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Thanks to some government pressure, Hyundai’s billionaire chairman, Chung Mong Koo, has revealed just how much he gets paid each year. Honestly, the amount is a bit lower than we’d expect considering he helms such a huge industrial empire. The 76-year-old chairman brought home $13 million in 2013, $5.2 million of which came from Hyundai’s automotive business while both Mobis and Hyundai Steel chipped in $3.94 million, each. For reference, Ford CEO Alan Mulally netted $23.2 million in 2013, although the vast majority of that money came from stock options.

The push for Chung to reveal his pay was part of a larger effort by the South Korean government called the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act. The act forces several thousand companies to release info on annual pay, bonuses and severance for employees earning over $5 million won ($469,000), according to Bloomberg.

“With the disclosure of the executives’ compensation, the pressure to deliver better profits will increase,” said Heo Pil Seok, the CEO of Midas International Asset Management. It seems to be working, as Hyundai shareholders, of which Midas is one, have seen their shares increase by 6.1 percent in 2014, which includes a 1.2-percent jump as of yesterday, according to Bloomberg.

Hyundai reveals CEO’s pay for first time ever originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 01 Apr 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



Autoblog Podcast #373

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Episode #373 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Steven Ewing are joined by Rory Carroll of Autoweek to talk about the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Porsche working on a flat-four engine, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, and the Acura TLX debuting in New York. 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 new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #373:


In the Autoblog Garage:

Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing
Guest: Rory Carroll
Runtime: 01:56:52

  • Z/28 – 40:00
  • Porsche four-cylinder – 54:23
  • 2015 Hyundai Sonata – 01:09:23
  • Acura TLX – 01:19:25
  • Q&A – 01:31:02

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

Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

Continue reading Autoblog Podcast #373

Autoblog Podcast #373 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Mar 2014 17:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #373 LIVE!

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We’re set to record Autoblog Podcast #373 this evening, joined this week by Rory Carroll of Autoweek. Check out the topics below, or drop us your questions and comments via our Q&A module. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven’t already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.

Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #373

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Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #373 LIVE! originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Mar 2014 16:47:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



Hyundai reveals all-new Sonata in South Korea

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2015 Hyundai Sonata

We’ve seen the spy shots. We’ve seen the teasers. We’ve even seen the finished product uncovered in its home market. But now Hyundai has officially taken the wraps off its new Sonata, consistently one of its top sellers in North America that was surpassed only recently in the sales charts by the smaller, cheaper and slightly newer Elantra. It’s Hyundai’s challenger to the likes of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion et al, which makes it a vital debut not only for Hyundai but for anyone in the market for a mid-size family sedan – and that’s one of the biggest markets of all.

Set to be revealed at the New York Auto Show in a matter of mere weeks, the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata you see here is the latest representation of a more toned-down family design language which Hyundai calls Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, following the lead set by the new Genesis and away from the swoopy and sharply creased styling of the successful but stylistically divisive model it replaces. A good inch longer and wider than the outgoing Sonata, the new model is also over a third more rigid, thanks in no small part to the use of high-strength steel that now composes over half of the body’s construction.

The all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata follows the lead set by the new Genesis and away from the swoopy and sharply creased styling of the model it replaces.

Having undergone extensive testing at Hyundai’s new test center at the N

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