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After seeing the promising lines of Hyundai's latest concept car last week in a shadowy teased rendering, we now have a better idea about what this sleek concept is all about. The 2013 Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis Concept received its official debut today at the Detroit Auto Show, and it's expected to be a pretty good indication of the styling direction for the next-generation Genesis sedan, although not quite the real deal.
Comparing this concept to spy shots of a Genesis prototype captured early last month, we can see that many elements of the HCD-14 will be incorporated into the newest Hyundai luxury sedan. As is the case with any concept car, the oversized carbon fiber wheels and suicide rear doors will certainly not be making it to the production model, but it will be interesting to see if the next-generation sedan has some of this car's styling cues like the hard-edged body creases along the side of the car, the coupe-like roofline running all the way to the rear of the car leaving no true decklid, or even the fine details like the "Genesis" etched into the headlights.
In addition to the styling of the car, there are plenty of new features being introduced on the concept that may be intended for the final product. This includes cabin technology features like a head-up display, hand-gesture recognition, and even a system that is able to track a driver's eyes to select options in various vehicle functions such as audio or climate controls. There also luxury appointments like the real milled wood accents and the iPad storage station. Hyundai is also promising improved driving dynamics with a more rigid chassis, new driver-selectable settings for various driving conditions and, of course, carrying over the 5.0-liter direct-injected V8 paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Even with the arrival of the new Hyundai Genesis Sedan (above) and the expected introduction of at least two other new vehicles in 2014, Hyundai-Kia is estimating its sales will only increase by about 4.1 percent this year. Bloomberg has found that figure, which works out to a total of 7.86 million vehicles worldwide, to be lower than average analyst estimates of eight million vehicles. If the automaker is correct, that figure will represent the most sluggish growth for the Korean brands since 2006.
Based on an exchange rate of 1,050 won to the dollar - right now it's trading at anywhere from 1,050 to 1,052 depending on where you look - Hyundai is predicting a 3.8-percent uptick for sales of 4.9 million units, while Kia is expecting a 4.7-percent uptick for sales of 2.96 million units. That exchange rate is predicted to be part of what will hamper sales this year, with a stronger South Korean won making Japanese cars more price-competitive when cross-shopped. It's unclear how Hyundai derived its exchange rate, but 1,050 won to the dollar almost matches the 52-week high for all of 2013.
The company chairman mentioned a "low growth era" in the world economy, and weaker US sales are rumored to at least part of the reason John Krafcik recently vacated the post of Hyundai Motor America CEO, a post that has been filled by executive vice president of sales, David Zuchowski. That unexpected news capped a year in which two top execs resigned over quality issues and recalls and Hyundai agreed to settle a consolidated lawsuit over inflated fuel economy ratings for $395 million.
There aren't many nameplates that have sold over 10 million units in the history of the automotive industry. In fact there have only been ten, and now Hyundai has joined the list for the first time with the Elantra.
Launched 24 years ago, the Elantra has far and away been Hyundai's top selling model. Now in its fifth generation, the Elantra is sold as a coupe, sedan and wagon, and under the Avante name in its home market. It's one of the top selling cars in the world, and Hyundai has earned the right to crow that it has sold its 10,000,000 of them globally. That means that, on average, Hyundai has sold more than 45 new Elantras every hour of every day of every year since its introduction in 1990.
Other models in the 10 Million Club include the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, VW Beetle and Golf, and the Ford Model T and F-Series. The latter might still be considered the most impressive, selling over 34 million units - the vast majority in the US - to be America's top-selling vehicle for over 30 years running.