Auto blogSat, 16 Aug 2014 08:01:00 EST
In the near future, almost no matter where you're at in the world - whether in Mexico or France - you may not be able to tell an immediate difference between Hyundai dealers. The Korean brand plans to remove some of the diversity from its showrooms in favor of a unified design everywhere outside of the US by about 2020.
The plan is called the Global Dealership Space Identity, and the end result features a modern, open showroom with floor-to-ceiling glass to look in and a bronze-colored roof section (pictured above). The goal of the unified design "is to strengthen our Modern Premium brand consistency across all dealerships, proving premium emotional experiences related to our brand and increase interaction with customers," said Hyundai spokesperson Sookjin Hwang to Autoblog via email.
The ball is already rolling on the plan with the cues being implemented at new dealers in Mexico and about 42 other showrooms worldwide. In the future even Canada may use it, according to Automotive News. "Hyundai Motor plans to fully implement the new identity worldwide within five years (2014~2018). The exact timing for each country will be different."
Autoblog joined Hyundai to check out the Neste Oil Rally Finland, where thousands of kilometers of lightly traveled, rolling gravel roads have turned out decades of astonishing racing and cold-blooded drivers. Even though the World Rally Championship is well tamed from its feral Group B days, Rally Finland is still the drivers' favorite, with the fastest speeds and the biggest jumps.
It's the rookie year for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team, run by Hyundai Motorsport out of Alzenau, Germany. The squad entered the season aiming for podiums in the second half and looking to get its three cars to the finish at every race for maximum development data. It's already outdone itself, Thierry Neuville scoring third places in Mexico - where he used a bottle of Corona to fill his radiator - and Poland.
Denis Giraudet told us that the rally's sternest challenge is not one of heart, though. Giraudet isn't part of Hyundai Motorsport, he was our guide and he's been in the sport as a co-driver for more than 30 years; he won Rally Finland with Juha Kankunnen in 1993 in a Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD. Giraudet said the race tests that particular confidence that comes from about 18 inches below the heart: "Here, you have to go all out. If there's a problem, it's usually between the steering wheel and the seat."
Hyundai's entry level two-door, the Elantra Coupe, is getting the axe for model year 2015. That leaves the Kia Forte Koup, Honda Civic and Scion tC to hold up the receding entry-level two-door segment.
The Coupe only arrived at US dealerships in 2012, initially as a 2013 model, and it was recently updated at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, with Hyundai adding a more powerful 2.0-liter engine as standard (it was optional in other Elantra models). Considering its short run, though, we're guessing that even a quick update couldn't cure the slow sales that are likely at the root of the two-door's discontinuation. The Elantra Coupe should remain on sale in the Canadian market, according to Driving.ca.
We've reached out to Hyundai for official confirmation and a cause of death for the Coupe. When we hear back, we'll be sure to update you.
If you had ever traveled overseas and rented a Hyundai Getz, you'll likely have gotten why it was the butt of jokes: it Getz you from A to B, but not much more. But like the company that makes it, the Korean supermini is all grown up now, long since eschewing the punchline nameplate for the i20 moniker. And here is its latest successor.
Set to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this fall, the new i20 is Hyundai's rival to the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Yaris and such. Designed in Europe for the European market, the new i20 stretches its wheelbase nearly two inches longer than its predecessor (and four and a half inches longer than the knees-in-your-chest Getz) to offer best-in-class legroom and cargo capacity.
Hyundai also says the new i20 is the first in its segment to offer an opening panoramic sunroof. While we wouldn't exactly call the styling "exciting" (especially in that shade of brown), penned at the company's European design center in Rüsselsheim, Germany, it certainly does look more mature... which, we take it, is kinda the point.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has slapped Hyundai with a $17.35 million fine for delaying a recall on the 2009 to 2012 Hyundai Genesis sedan back in 2013. The recall grew from the original figure of 27,500 units to 43,500 sedans in November of last year, and focused on brake fluid that wouldn't prevent corrosion of the hydraulic control unit.
"Hyundai remains committed to making safety our top priority, and is dedicated to ensuring immediate action in response to potential safety concerns including the prompt reporting of safety defects," David Zuchowski, Hyundai's president and CEO, said in a statement.
Hyundai originally issued a technical service bulletin warning dealers to replace brake fluid. This was expanded to a full recall following NHTSA's involvement.
General Motors is the undisputed king of recalls for 2014. No one is going to contest this point. The American company is far from the only one with vehicles that need fixing, though, as Hyundai has announced another recall totaling 419,000 vehicles in three separate campaigns.
The majority of the vehicles affected come from the Santa Fe family, where 225,000 of the model year 2001 to 2006 CUVs will need their front springs replaced. It seems that the early Santa Fe's coils can rust and crack when subjected to frosty temperatures and the road salt that so often accompanies them. Should they fracture, it's possible that a crash would be the end result.
As this is an issue linked to road salt, only Santa Fes sold in 20 states - from Maine to Iowa and Wisconsin to West Virginia - are affected. Vehicles sold in Washington, D.C. are also covered in the recall.
Love it or hate it, the Nissan Juke has drawn attention to itself and to its maker. Little wonder, then, that Hyundai wants to follow a similar formula.
According to our compatriots over at Edmunds, Hyundai has a whole raft of new products in the works - as you'd expect from the world's fourth-largest automaker - including replacements for the current Tucson and Elantra sometime next year, but also a subcompact crossover to target the Juke, not to mention tiny softroading rivals like the forthcoming Chevrolet Trax. Details at this point are few and far between, but it appears Hyundai is committed to making it as zany as the Nissan it will target. The Korean automaker revealed the Curb concept (pictured above) along similar lines at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.
Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski tells Edmunds not to expect a mini Tuscon, but to "Think of maybe something that looks like a Juke or something that has edgy, dynamic styling." Considering how off-the-map Hyundai went with the Veloster and its unconventional array of doors, we know the Korean automaker can think outside the box for this Gen-Y crossover. Whether the edge tiny CUV market has space for more than the Juke, however, is another matter. One way or another, look for the tiny Korean crossover to arrive sometime in 2017.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong in a car, some more vital than others. Automakers try their best to make sure they don't, but things slip through, like the shift cables on the Hyundai Sonata.
Hyundai and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found that, on 883,000 units of the MY2011-2014 Sonata manufactured between December 11, 2009, and May 29, 2014, the shift cable in the transmission is prone to detach from the shift lever. As a result, the gear indicated and the gear engaged might not match, which could set the vehicle in motion unexpectedly. Worse than that, the Park position might not engage altogether, and without the hand brake pulled, that could lead the car to roll away without warning.
In an entirely separate recall affecting a much smaller number of 2015 Sonatas, Hyundai has found that the front brake calipers could fracture. This second recall affects a relatively small 5,650 units manufactured between April 25 and June 16, 2014.
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:29:00 EST
The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.
I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.
Just as they did in the Initial Quality Study, Porsche and Hyundai have taken the premium and non-premium crown, respectively, for the 2014 J.D. Power APEAL study. This is the tenth consecutive year for that Porsche has been rated the best premium make in the APEAL study, which attempts to figure out how pleased owners are with their purchases. For 2014, it asked 86,000 owners of MY2014 cars to rate their vehicles in 77 different categories 90 days after their initial purchase. The resulting figures were plugged in deliver the APEAL score, which is rated on a 1,000-point scale.
The industry average sits at 794 points for 2014, although that's a one-percent decline over last year's rating. In this year's study, premium brands averaged 840 out of 1,000, while non-premium makes average 785. For their part, Porsche netted an impressive 882 points, while Hyundai earned an 804. Interestingly, only four non-premium brands (Hyundai, Ram, Volkswagen and Mini) finished above the industry average for 2014.
It's also interesting to see the clear delineation between premium and non-premium brands, with an eight-point gap between the non-premium champ, Hyundai, and the lowest-rated premium brand, Volvo.