By on November 24, 2008

Hyundai has apprently learned nothing about vehicle marketing in the last five years. What they are supposed to do is develop overly-complicated high-efficiency models, put lots of eco-friendly badges on them, advertise them at rest in an unspoiled natural envrionment, and then charge people through the nose for them. Instead, they’re taking existing models, improving their efficiency with low-tech fixes, and selling them for even less money than the normal versions. Whatever they’re putting in the water over at Hyundai HQ, it’s making for some dangerously common-sense business decisions. The Car Connection reports that Hyundai started with normal Elantra and Accents to create their new “Blue” line of improved-efficiency sedans, and then decontented them to save weight, lowered them to improve aero performance and fitted low rolling resistance tires. Sure, this means you’ll get no a/c and no power anything, and you’ll probably suffer through some horrendous ride quality and handling, thanks to the tweaked suspension and crummy tires, but these are small prices to pay for saving the world. And not being the only family on the block with a Prius. GM has tried a similar approach to fuel efficiency with its Cobalt XFE, but its underpromotion is keeping it MIA from market success. No word yet on pricing or availability for Hyundai’s Blue line, but if they avoid the XFE’s mistakes, this should be a fairly popular option for the budget automaker.

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19 Comments on “Better Fuel Efficiency For Less Money?...”


  • avatar

    Brilliant!

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Do they intend to make any money on these loss leaders?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    And to think that you could have titled this one “The Return of the Stripper” … and had an excuse for an appropriate photo ….

    I suspect these will end up as Hyundai dealer ad cars which almost nobody will buy.

  • avatar
    Cicero

    What’s the point of being green if you can’t be smug and ostentatious about it? Toyota has nothing to to worry about.

  • avatar
    autonut

    Wasn’t Nissan pioneering it few days ago with stripped version of Versa for under 10K. I know idea was to drop price down, but without power options car looses heft as well. How those tires work during winter, especially snow? Any idea?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    These will also be cars more people can afford without risk of repossession, albeit with some sacrifice. Just think, they might have to crank up their own windows.

    I’d be glad to pay less for better fuel economy, rather than a $5-$15k premium for some fancy hybrid with a host of future service nightmares.

  • avatar

    The improvements will be considerably smaller than those from a hybrid.

    Hyundai included a few cheap tweaks for the regular models this year. Numbers went up by one or two MPG in a few cases.

  • avatar
    mattb

    sounds cool. I’d be all-in for a turbo 4cyl Genesis Coupe w/ 6MT, no aircon, no power windows, etc for ~$15k

  • avatar
    don1967

    Now this is an honest-to-goodness economy car, rather than some silly fashion accessory for the Church of Global Warming crowd. It conjures up fond memories of my first new car, a 1988 Civic hatchback that had vinyl seats and power nothing. Damn thing could go forever on 20 bucks, and was paid off within two years.

    Nice to see a car maker going back to basics…

  • avatar
    forraymond

    Wasn’t that the role of Chevrolet, back in the day. Simple, modest family cars and work trucks? What the hell happened that the Koreans (Germans, Chinese, Japanese, Australians) have to teach the US about the auto industry?

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I don’t care how expensive gas is, I want A/C. And I live in Maine where it isn’t THAT hot in the summer. But nothing is more miserable than being stuck in traffic on a hot muggy day in the summer. Well worth the couple mpg hit.

    Still, every little bit helps. I think BMW has the right idea with their “efficient dynamics” tech that combines engine stop/start with assorted other tweaks. Costs little, and makes a big difference around town. Not that we are getting it in the States any time soon.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    The time probably is right for strippers to return.
    Hyundia should go GM one better. They should make changes that show up when the car is off the EPA treadmill.
    A recent XFE test on Edmunds got just 25mpg (29 best tank), typical of “normal” Cobalts in road tests. Civics and Corollas typically get high20s to low 30s in road tests.
    Wonder why GM has prolems?

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Unless you live in the tundra, no AC is going to kill you come trade in time. That’s if the summer heat doesn’t do it first.

  • avatar

    Granted I do’nt have to commute. But I’m doing without AC in the Boston suburbs. It went out spring of last year, the summer was cool, and I just never got it fixed. Cool again most of this summer. When I was younger, I had a car without AC in Wash. DC. Couldn’t do that now, but I would think people in their 20s could manage ok, and even fit people in their 30s, and the savings might make cars that much more affordable to them.

    A lot of luxo items like motorized seat adjustment add a lot of extra weight for not much convenience. I’m all for leaving that off.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Yeah, I don’t see much worth in the power seats. I think it’s important for a lot of people to have AC though because it significantly reduces the sweat/stink factor.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    A/C, power door locks, power windows and power rear view mirrors are high on my must have list. Luckily they are easily found, and cheaply so, on 15 year old Volvos.

  • avatar
    mhardgrove

    Why it’s the Accent L! I have a 2000, no a/c, crank windows, 5 speed (29mpg city/33 highway)! The only thing power is the steering. This “Blue” line is not a new idea, but a good idea if you don’t need (or care to have) a/c or power anything.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    First, I think air is available on the strippers.
    Secondly, everyone forgets the limousine liberal green cars of the competition will never be truly eeconomy cars for the masses. I don’t car if the GM plug in volt gets 90 mpg, it can’t be mainstream in the $40k range. The Honda prius approaches $30K and so on for so called econo cars. Do the math. If you can buy a stripper for $10-12K add about $600.00 for a bumper to bumper 10 year warranty, then get 10mpg less than say a prius on a daily commute; who do you think wins when you factor in the payment on costs per mile driven? Which car will take someone 30-50 miles per day to work for less? Can some working people ever finance $40K for an “economy car”, The highly successful VW beatle, sold for under $2,000 and was truly economical in it’s day (cost per mile driven). In the case of the beetle it even had high resale value. Huyndai is not wrong to offer good little beaters for the masses.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Nice to see the return of the stripper car, though it’s not for me at this point in my life. Living in California’s Central Valley where temperatures pass 100 on a routine basis during the summer time makes AC almost a necessity, though I have owned two cars without AC, an 87 Mazda Rx7 and a 58 Chevy truck. I survived and even enjoyed driving the cars when I had them. More than an issue of improved gas mileage, I look at this as an opportunity to only get the features you truly want on a car. It used to be that you could start with a bare bones car and add items either in packages or one by one to build the new car that you truly wanted. Personally, I don’t want to pay for every option under the sun by selecting the highest trim model just to have leather seats, AC, and power mirrors.


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