Free trade agreements are sometimes a tough sell with the public and politicians. On one hand, they open up new markets for a country’s goods; on the other, it also opens up that country to new import competition. Hyundai is learning this lesson in its home market of South Korea, where free-trade agreements have halved tariffs on imported vehicles, causing Hyundai Motor Group’s domestic sales (which comprise both the Hyundai and Kia brands) fall for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
Quick! When you think of Comic Con — “the biggest and most exciting popular culture convention on the East Coast” — which automaker springs immediately to mind? Still thinking? Follow the jump for the answer you might not be expecting. Continue Reading →
The Hyundai Veloster’s nontraditional styling, clever packaging, and cheeky driving dynamics impressed us when we first drove one earlier this year. Not quite a coupe, and definitely not a hatchback in the mainstream sense, the Veloster impressed us with its versatility and economy, as well as its ability to make an impact wherever it goes. Naturally, then, when Hyundai announced plans for a Veloster with the power to match its unique looks, our interest was piqued.
For 2013, Hyundai is re-entering the front-wheel-drive compact coupe race with the eponymous Elantra Coupe. While this is hardly Hyundai’s first entry in the segment — remember the Scoupe and the Tiburon? — the Elantra Coupe is an important spear in Hyundai’s three-pronged approach to expanding its Elantra lineup to include sedan, hatchback, and coupe variants. Continue Reading →
Hyundai is a brand on an upward trajectory, and its current lineup — which spans traditional sedans and sport-utility vehicles to three-door hatchbacks — is competitive with the most capable offerings from America, Japan and Europe. For 2013, Hyundai is expanding its lineup with a variant of its popular Elantra sedan: the Elantra GT hatchback. Are its driving dynamics good enough to match its looks?
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By Charles Krome
Well, in Europe anyway. That’s the lowdown from the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association by way of Automotive News. According to those sources, Hyundai and Kia have combined to ring up 521,369 sales across the pond through October, up 4 percent compared to the same time last year, while Toyota (plus Lexus) saw sales slip 17 percent to finish at 511,754. Unsurprisingly, experts pinned the blame on fallout from the Toyota Recallathon as well as improving quality for the South Koreans.
And although things haven’t swung to the same extremes in the U.S., consider this: Toyota-Lexus had 1,448,589 U.S. sales at this point in 2009, with Hyundai-Kia tallying 634,282 customers, which meant that the South Koreans had sold 43.7 percent of Team Toyota’s total. In 2010, the numbers went 1,456,790 for the Japanese and 752,926 for Hyundai-Kia, with the latter now representing 51.6 percent of the former’s total. Hyundai and Kia obviously still have a ways to go before they catch Toyota and Lexus, but just as obviously, momentum is now on their side as the industry continues to recover. Plus, even assuming Toyota now has its quality issues under control, dealing with them has left the company well behind its Hyundai-Kia competition (among others) in a number of key areas.
By Andy Bannister
If ever there was an award for a manufacturer’s persistence in the face of adversity, a strong contender for a lifetime achievement award would be Renault with its repeated attempts to enter the executive car market. Time and time again the French giant’s ambitions have spectacularly backfired.
Never one to give up in the face of buyer apathy, however, its latest toe in this often stormy body of water shows a decidedly new direction – with a lot of help from Korea.
The company has dusted off its Safrane nameplate and will attach it to a rebadged Samsung SM5 for an assault on a slightly unusual market for the French company – the Gulf States of the Middle East. The car, in V6 automatic form, goes on sale in October,
It won’t even be considered for sale in Renault’s European heartland, where the firm is still struggling to shift its current executive model, the peculiarly proportioned Vel Satis. This tall hatchback is touted as a BMW competitor but has been almost universally ignored by buyers (though not quite as much as its ill-fated sister model, the spectacularly unsuccessful Avantime). Continue Reading →
By Andy Bannister
It’s a rare car that can pull off the trick of appealing to buyers in every corner of the world. Perhaps the original VW Beetle is the classic example, but let’s hear it for the different approach taken by the humble Chevy Chevette – or more properly, the General Motors T-Car.
Mostly unloved and forgotten now, the T-Car design spawned what must have been a record number of derivatives with a bewildering array of marque or model names, all built on a humble rear-while-drive platform and snapped up gratefully by buyers during the fuel crisis of the 1970s and on through the next decade.
Americans will be most familiar with the Chevrolet Chevette, launched in three-door hatchback form in 1975 as GM’s answer to the energy crisis. Back then people were ditching large cars in droves as fuel prices spiralled – a situation which has an uncanny echo of today. Continue Reading →
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