The Truth About Cars » Hyundai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:00:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Hyundai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/hyundai/ Accuracy Issues Real Reason For Free Hydrogen For FCV Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949129 Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen. According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States […]

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Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen.

According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States aren’t able to accurately measure how much hydrogen is pumped into a given vehicle. Without that accuracy, no FCV owner can be charged for the fuel, a problem the California Air Resources Board is working to fix. Deputy Executive Officer Alberto Ayala explains:

If you think about it, it’s a real simple yet real practical challenge. If you’re going to pay for X amount of hydrogen, you’re actually getting that amount of hydrogen… We are at a point where we are solving multiple remaining questions [with hydrogen infrastructure], and that just happens to be one of them.

National Fuel Cell Research Center director Scott Samuelsen adds that this was once the issue with gasoline, with agencies like California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Weights and Measures setting standards for fuel pumps, then routinely inspecting said pumps to ensure they remained accurate. Once “the right meter” to measure hydrogen is in place, the new consumer fuel source would fall in line.

A solution to this problem is expected to arrive within a year’s time at the latest.

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Hyundai, Kia Fined $300M By State, Federal Agencies Over Erroneous Fuel Economy Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940209 Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups. Autoblog reports the […]

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Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups.

Autoblog reports the two alone will pay a total of $100 million to the EPA, the highest such fine in the agency’s history. Hyundai’s part of the bill comes to $56.8 million, while Kia will foot the remaining $43.2 million. The brands will also forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse emissions credits, worth approximately $200 million, and contribute a requested $50 million in investments “to prevent future violations of the Clean Air Act” by automakers.

In-house, parent company Hyundai is establishing “an independent certification test group” to handle future fuel economy testing and reporting, along with training proctors on the proper methods. The company maintains the erroneous reporting was due to the methodology used in the EPA’s test schedule, as well as errors from the coastdown portion of the test.

Hyundai and Kia are also auditing 2015 and 2016 models for accurate fuel economy numbers in light of the previous errors.

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Hyundai Developing Dedicated Hybrid To Battle Toyota Prius http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundai-developing-dedicated-hybrid-battle-toyota-prius/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundai-developing-dedicated-hybrid-battle-toyota-prius/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938833 Though one can already purchase a hybrid from Hyundai — the Sonata Hybrid, to be exact — the South Korean automaker is now planning to follow in the footsteps of Toyota and Honda by building a hybrid that always was from the get-go. Reuters reports the Korean Prius will add onto Hyundai’s green portfolio, which […]

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Though one can already purchase a hybrid from Hyundai — the Sonata Hybrid, to be exact — the South Korean automaker is now planning to follow in the footsteps of Toyota and Honda by building a hybrid that always was from the get-go.

Reuters reports the Korean Prius will add onto Hyundai’s green portfolio, which also includes the Tucson Fuel Cell FCV, as well as act as a hedge against ever-tightening fuel economy and emissions standards. CEO Kim Choong-ho explained as much during the launch of his company’s latest premium sedan, the Aslan:

We will take the lead in the future by raising the competitiveness of our environment-friendly cars like hybrid-only cars, plug-in hybrid cars and fuel cell hydrogen cars.

Hyundai won’t be alone in bringing a new dedicated hybrid to market; Ford plans to do the same on a compact platform by 2019. Kim did not offer a timetable or other details about Hyundai’s hybrid, however.

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Hyundai/Kia Reconsidering US Diesel Market Stance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930882 With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market. According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to […]

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With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market.

According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to bring them over as far back as 2009, only to back out due to then-upcoming regulations for cleaner diesels, the costs in creating them, and the higher price of diesel compared to gasoline. He says that while those issues “haven’t necessarily been eliminated, they’ve been understood better,” leading to a “more direct path” toward a U.S. diesel lineup.

Additionally, CAFE targets — especially the 2025 fleet target of 54.5 mpg — could necessitate Hyundai/Kia to add diesel to its green weapons arsenal. Juriga stated Hyundai may bring cylinder deactivation, PHEVs and EGR between 2016 and 2021, while nine- and 10-speed automatics could further its fuel efficiency game between 2021 and 2025.

That said, the duo’s diesel efforts would need to find the right fit in the U.S. in order to achieve success. Juriga explained that the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made up just 3 percent of overall Cruze sales, and that the vehicle chosen by Hyundai/Kia would also have to go against Volkswagen strong diesel lineup. Though he didn’t offer what vehicle the duo had in mind, he believes the automakers’ customer base would be “more accepting of the technology and willing to pay a premium for the engine type in the correct product.”

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Hyundai’s Gangnam Style Leads To Partial Strike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hyundais-gangnam-style-leads-partial-strike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hyundais-gangnam-style-leads-partial-strike/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917626 Due to a Gangnam-style real estate deal in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea, workers at Hyundai and Kia have gone on partial strike for the next few days. Bloomberg reports the unions leading the strike will do so through September 26, while wage talks with the parent company are indefinitely postponed. In turn, […]

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Due to a Gangnam-style real estate deal in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea, workers at Hyundai and Kia have gone on partial strike for the next few days.

Bloomberg reports the unions leading the strike will do so through September 26, while wage talks with the parent company are indefinitely postponed. In turn, shares in Hyundai fell 2 percent to close at ₩191,500 ($184 USD) on the Korea Exchange, the lowest since May 2013.

The trigger for the strike was ₩10.6 trillion ($10 billion) real estate deal for property in the Gangnam district of the South Korean capital between Hyundai, Kia and affiliate Hyundai Mobis. The unions claim this move as not only proof Hyundai can pay its workers better, including bonuses — which have been mandated by the country’s supreme court to be a part of a worker’s base pay — but that company chair Chung Mong Moo’s management style leaves a lot to be desired.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-hyundai-sonata-limited/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-hyundai-sonata-limited/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:13:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910729 In the corners of our brain where the abstract controls the synapses, trains run on time only if we allow a car to charm us, to woo and seduce and enchant. I find the sound of a Jaguar F-Type V8 S appealing and the wind-in-my-hair romanticism of a Mazda MX-5 captivating and I’m fascinated by the roofline […]

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2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedIn the corners of our brain where the abstract controls the synapses, trains run on time only if we allow a car to charm us, to woo and seduce and enchant.

I find the sound of a Jaguar F-Type V8 S appealing and the wind-in-my-hair romanticism of a Mazda MX-5 captivating and I’m fascinated by the roofline of Mercedes-Benz’s CLS Shooting Brake.

There are other corners of our brain, however, that look a lot like spreadsheets. And on those spreadsheets, there are no columns for charm or seduction or fascination.

Increasingly, midsize cars perform very poorly in the corners of my brain first mentioned, and exceedingly well in the latter.

Hyundai’s 2015 Sonata is one such car.

I’ve operated under the impression that there was a certain subjective appeal to the outgoing car, a vehicle which was, at the very least, good enough on spreadsheets to allow some consumers to buy the car almost on the merits of its unique exterior design alone. On sale in early 2010, the sixth-gen Sonata didn’t look at all like any of its rivals, with swept-back headlights, a long chrome beltline, and a coupe-like roofline. It was a revolutionary departure for Hyundai, especially given the stodginess of its predecessor.

2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedMany of the same themes have been carried forward for 2015, but the revolution has ended. Hyundai clearly feels as though they’ve made it, as though they’ve established a place for the Sonata in America’s competitive midsize sector and no longer need to market the most eye-catching car in the class.

You’ve probably seen the car live by now and rendered your verdict; you can look at the images if not. Personally, I’m let down, as it feels to me as though the seventh-generation Sonata looks like it could have been the car that arrived before the sixth-generation Sonata, before Hyundai decided to make the Sonata less stodgy; less upright; less formal. Instead, so-called progress has resulted in a car that simply doesn’t appear like the next new thing.

2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedIts wheelwells are too big for its wheels, which on this specific car are terribly Buick circa 1996. There’s a vast amount of acreage between the top of the rear wheel and the C-pillar. Visually, the car rides too high. LEDs have been too liberally scattered across the front end.

Inside, however, a return to a more conventional layout – more horizontal, less vertical – has caused the 2015 Sonata to seem quite a bit more Genesis-like. Regardless of equipment levels, and despite the fact that the current Elantra is no poor car, the outgoing Sonata always felt more or less like an Elantra Plus, particularly inside. Meanwhile, the current Accord comes across as much more than one single step upmarket from the Civic. With improved material quality and a more modern design, the Sonata is now class-competitive inside.

In terms of the simplicity of its controls and its overall intuitiveness, I’d argue that the 2015 Sonata is class-leading. There’s no getting-to-know-you process with the latest Hyundai/Kia infotainment units, and in this case, there’s no difficulty reaching across to the most distant buttons, either, as the whole centre panel is canted nicely toward the driver.

2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedUnfortunately, the softening of the exterior design has been matched by a softening of the Sonata’s suspension. On the plus side, this pays dividends in ride quality, which is excellent. Compared with the previous Sonata, the most notable improvement in ride quality is out back. But the Sonata lacks the edge of the Mazda 6, the firmness of the Honda Accord, and the European undertones of the Ford Fusion, which quite artfully balances ride quality with a degree of athleticism.

The Sonata’s three drive modes present slight differences, with Eco definitely being eco-minded in its throttle mapping and shift strategy, and Sport clearly generating more steering weight, but none of the modes seriously alters the intentions of the car.

Not for a minute am I suggesting that this emphasis on total comfort isn’t what buyers want, only that Hyundai’s successful drive to improve the Sonata’s suspension calibration could have been executed with more of a blend.

Then again, we spent our week with a Sonata Limited, a very well-equipped car, but one that was fitted with conservative Kumho P215/55R/17s. Riding on the Sport’s 235/45R18s, with its slightly different steering setup (rack-mounted, rather than column-mounted electric power assist) and altered suspension, the Sport 2.0T could produce rather different on-road character traits.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited interiorLimited trim Sonatas start at $27,335 (freight included), but in fully optioned form, the Ultimate and Tech packages add $5050, bringing to the Sonata’s equipment portfolio a panoramic sunroof, premium audio, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise, lane departure warning and some other doodads.  The aforementioned turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder adds 60 horsepower to the base Sonata’s 185; torque is upgraded from 178 lb-ft to 260.

All these numbers are lower than they were just one model year ago, and lower than the kind of mind-boggling V6 numbers you’ll find in, for instance, the Chrysler 200. In the 2.4L, however, torque thankfully comes on stream early, at just 4000 rpm, and the Sonata therefore doesn’t feel slow. The 2.4L does become too buzzy at high rpm, and it runs out of gumption as revs rise. Thus, if you want care to acquire turbocharged 2.0L powerplant, pricing starts at $29,385. A solitary Ultimate package costs $4950, creating a car that’s equipped like our Limited test car.

That’s a lot of car for the money, particularly now that the Sonata feels as nicely assembled inside (with materials of similar – if not better – quality) as the segment’s top sellers.

Love it or hate it, the outgoing Sonata was a car which, stylistically speaking, stood out from the midsize pack. Any hope that Hyundai would once again move the game forward on the design front has most certainly been lost.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited steering wheel controlsYet no one specific individual, save for the midsize sedan buyer himself, is the final arbiter on the success of Hyundai’s exterior revamp. Is this new 2015 Sonata half as intriguing a proposition as the old model was in its first model year? Probably not, at least not in the dark recesses of my subjective mind.

But is it twice as appealing on purely objective terms? Quite possibly, with improved all-around dynamics, ride quality that’ll shame most premium cars, an enhanced cabin, and observed fuel economy in mixed driving of 31 miles per gallon.

In this transition year for the Sonata, its U.S. sales growth is outpacing the figures achieved by the Camry, Accord, Altima, and Fusion, rising 8% in the first eight months of 2014 and 25% during the month of August. After peaking at 230,605 units in 2012, volume tumbled 12% in 2013 and the Sonata very nearly fell into sixth place in the category. At the current rate, because Hyundai appears to be giving the people what the people’s spreadsheets want, the Sonata is back on track for a 2012-like year.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Only In Canada: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 HTRAC AWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canada-2015-hyundai-genesis-5-0-htrac-awd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canada-2015-hyundai-genesis-5-0-htrac-awd/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:24:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911001 The list of Canadian-exclusive vehicles is scant, with a large number of them being small minivans and badge-engineered Acuras – in other words, nothing terribly interesting. What you’re looking at here is something that only Canadians will get – for now. But rather than carrying out a concerted effort to bring Canadians something unique, it […]

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The list of Canadian-exclusive vehicles is scant, with a large number of them being small minivans and badge-engineered Acuras – in other words, nothing terribly interesting. What you’re looking at here is something that only Canadians will get – for now. But rather than carrying out a concerted effort to bring Canadians something unique, it gives an insight into how product planning decisions are made.

American consumers are limited to getting AWD only on the Genesis 3.8 models, which come with Hyundai’s ubiquitous V6 engine. Even then, it’s an option. Canadian consumers, on the other hand, have only AWD models, but they can get four driven wheels on the five-point-oh V8 engine, unlike those south of the 49th parallel.

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A recent trip to the Canadian Rockies saw us behind the wheel of a Genesis 5.0 equipped with the Magna-developed HTRAC AWD system. Since it was an unseasonably warm August week, there was no foul weather to test the system’s mettle, nor did we have the gumption to take the $64,123 (Canadian) press loaner off-road.

The only way the Canadian 5.0 comes equipped is in the loaded Ultimate trim level, which is packed with every passive and active safety feature imaginable (including a CO2 sensor that supposed helps detect driver drowsiness), a 17 speaker Lexicon audio system (brilliant) and a wonderfully simple infotainment system with a 9.2 inch screen.

There’s no tangible similarity between the RWD 5.0 and its AWD sibling. The chassis is surprisingly adept for a 4687 lb luxury sedan, but the added heft versus 4294 lb AWD V6 models is noticeable, and seems to cancel out whatever performance gains may come from the bigger motor, both in terms of acceleration and handling. Fuel economy is frankly atrocious. Hyundai’s Canadian fuel economy ratings for this car sit at 14 mpg city, 22 highway and 16 mpg combined. We struggled to crack 15 mpg in mixed driving, and a full tank of 91 octane, at $5.32 a gallon, was an expense that didn’t seem worth it compared to the slightly less thirsty 3.8L, which can be had in top-spec for $9,000 less.

When Hyundai announced the Canada-only V8 HTRAC, I asked a source of mine at Hyundai Canada why they went through the expense of creating a whole new variant for such a small market. “Because nobody would buy it if it was rear-drive only,” was the reply. Even so, the Genesis 5.0 is likely to be a very small portion of Hyundai Canada’s total sales. It’s great to see auto makers starting to respond (albeit slowly) to the unique needs of the Canadian market. A $64,000 all-wheel drive V8 luxury car isn’t the first thing you’d think of in that context, but it’s a neat oddity in a product portfolio dominated by frugal subcompacts.

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Rental Review: 2014 Hyundai Accent http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/rental-review-2014-hyundai-accent/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/rental-review-2014-hyundai-accent/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:24:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874785   Renting a subcompact car is usually a good way to get a free upgrade to a “Toyota Corolla or Similar”, but in this case, it was the last car left on the lot. I had no other choice. On the way home from a trip to Indianapolis (where my ear drums were variously stimulated […]

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Renting a subcompact car is usually a good way to get a free upgrade to a “Toyota Corolla or Similar”, but in this case, it was the last car left on the lot. I had no other choice.

On the way home from a trip to Indianapolis (where my ear drums were variously stimulated and assaulted by the Tudor Sports Car entrants, especially the new Camaro Z/28R), I was stuck in a regional airport nearly 125 miles from home. I had to be back the next day, and a quick evaluation of my options panned out like this

  1. I could stay overnight in a hotel, catch a cab to and from the airport and fly home on a puddle-jumper the next day. Estimated cost: $175.
  2. Take the train. Estimated cost: $110 and 3 hours of my time.
  3. Rent a car, one way. Write about it for TTAC. Estimated cost: $160 and just under 2 hours of my time, assuming weather and traffic are favorable (as it turned out, they weren’t).

Option 3 was the easy choice.

With the mass cancellation of numerous flights, everyone rushed the rental desk, and all that was left was a lonely Accent GL 5-door. Once upon a time, you could get a three-door Accent GL in Canada for under $10,000 – of course, it offered no A/C, a 5-speed manual transmission and all the refined NVH characteristics of a minecart.

What a difference a generation makes. The latest Accent has transformed itself from a nasty penalty box into a subcompact that can be recommended on merit, as well as price.

Unlike a number of too-tall competitors, the Accent has proper 5-door hatchback proportions, similar to its big brother, the Elantra GT. For a subcompact car, it feels as if it’s an entire size class larger. The rear cargo area easily swallowed my large suitcase and backpack, while the rest of the cabin feels airy and spacious.

Feature content was similarly generous. In addition to the usual suite of power operated accessories, the Accent had Bluetooth, USB ports abound, an easy to operate media system (I was able to navigate it on the first try while driving – no easy feat in any modern car) and heated seats (which I didn’t use, but are a godsend in colder climates).

With a 138 horsepower 1.6L engine, the Accent won’t win be setting the ET board alight at your local drag strip, but the engine is far gutsier than the Fiesta’s wheezy base 1.6L engine or the similarly sized mill in the Nissan Micra (the Accent’s chief competition in Canada). Hyundai’s 6-speed automatic isn’t the most refined, but it keeps the revs down on the highway – an all important characteristic in a world where em pee gees and muffled NVH are high on buyer’s list of wants. Unlike some of its competitors, the Accent gets disc brakes all-around, and even on this rental example, they felt strong without being overly grabby.

On the few highway ramps available, I was similarly impressed with the car’s driving dynamics. The steering gives ample feedback and avoids the “tie-rods through a Cool Whip container” feel that many have come to expect from Korean cars. The chassis feels fairly planted, but the worn all-season tires didn’t let me push the car terribly hard. Not that it matters, since few pensioners or first time drivers are going to be pushing this thing to the 11/10th on their local road course. The whole driving experience reminded me of a Honda Civic from the double wishbone era, albeit with the rough edges filed off – hardly a black mark against a car that is intended to be affordable, basic transportation.

By the time I was starting to get a feel for the Accent, my journey with it was over. I ended up using $10 in gas (roughly 3 gallons) to drive 125 miles, and at no time did I ever feel as if I was burdened with some unsafe, miserable leftover rental car. At this point, the Accent is one of the older cars in its class, but in no way does it feel outdated or behind the curve. In Canada, it’s possible to pick them up far below this example’s $17,522 MSRP – small wonder it’s the #1 selling subcompact in this country.

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Hyundai, Tesla In Spat Over Funding Of Supercharger Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hyundai-tesla-in-spat-over-funding-of-supercharger-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hyundai-tesla-in-spat-over-funding-of-supercharger-network/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866874 Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning Michael O’Brien may have written a check his mouth can’t cash when he claimed Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with taxpayer dollars. Green Car Reports says during a discussion of his employer’s view on hydrogen fueling infrastructure, O’Brien stated that Hyundai has not received any funding from the federal […]

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Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning Michael O’Brien may have written a check his mouth can’t cash when he claimed Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with taxpayer dollars.

Green Car Reports says during a discussion of his employer’s view on hydrogen fueling infrastructure, O’Brien stated that Hyundai has not received any funding from the federal government for its hydrogen vehicles, while Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with “grants and loans from the government.”

In turn, this assertion infuriated Tesla’s vice president of business development Diarmuld O’Connell:

Those sites have been paid for entirely by Tesla Motors — which continues to spend money in expanding the network. This stands in stark contrast to certain foreign carmakers, including Hyundai, who have no manufacturing presence in California but expect the state’s taxpayers to spend up to $200 million to set up hydrogen stations.

For his part, O’Brien did acknowledge hydrogen would only take off “when other states start investing in infrastructure.”

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2015 Hyundai Genesis Sedan To Receive Speed-Camera Warning System http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-hyundai-genesis-sedan-to-receive-speed-camera-warning-system/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-hyundai-genesis-sedan-to-receive-speed-camera-warning-system/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857105 Speed cameras are the bane of any driver’s existence, especially if they’re more trouble than they’re worth for the municipality who experiments with them for a contract period of several years. Future Hyundai Genesis owners in Korea, however, may have a new tool at their disposal that should make dealing with the long lens of […]

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Speed cameras are the bane of any driver’s existence, especially if they’re more trouble than they’re worth for the municipality who experiments with them for a contract period of several years. Future Hyundai Genesis owners in Korea, however, may have a new tool at their disposal that should make dealing with the long lens of the law much easier on the wallet.

Drive.com.au reports the new generation of the Korean premium sedan will use GPS and braking technology to help would-be Alex Roys down to the limit in time to wave hello at the camera. Hyundai representative explained to reporters at the Genesis Sedan’s unveiling in Seoul how the system would work:

It knows there is a speed camera there, it knows where the speed camera is and it will adopt the correct speed. It will beep 800 metres before a camera and show the legal speed, and it will beep at you if your speed is over that.

The system will work best at fixed and average speed cameras, but not against mobile units. Meanwhile, the same self-braking tech used in the preemptive camera evasion will also bring the sedan to a halt to prevent a collision should such an event arise.

Alas, the system won’t be available to U.S. drivers anytime soon, while Korean drivers may have to wait a bit until after the Genesis makes its local debut in October of this year.

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Review: 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Sport and 1.6T Eco http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/review-2015-hyundai-sonata-2-0t-sport-and-1-6t-eco/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/review-2015-hyundai-sonata-2-0t-sport-and-1-6t-eco/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 12:30:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856521 Yesterday, we gave a qualified thumbs-up to the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.4, noting that the powertrain didn’t really come up to snuff in what was otherwise a competent and well-equipped sedan. Today we’re trying the other two motivational packages on offer, in lower-priced Sport and Eco trim. Be warned: not every Sonata Sport has the […]

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Yesterday, we gave a qualified thumbs-up to the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.4, noting that the powertrain didn’t really come up to snuff in what was otherwise a competent and well-equipped sedan.

Today we’re trying the other two motivational packages on offer, in lower-priced Sport and Eco trim.

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Be warned: not every Sonata Sport has the turbo engine. There’s a bodykit 2.4 Sport as well, but that doesn’t get you the two-liter turbo and it doesn’t get you the more expensive rack-mounted power steering system. The car I drove retails for a robust $29,325 and it is meant to be a competitor to the Accord and Camry V-6 entries as well as the bigger of the two Fusion Ecoboost engine options.

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I’m hoping you read yesterday’s Sonata review; if you haven’t, go catch up. Let’s discuss the differences between that car and this one. In the Turbo-only metallic orange, the Sport manages to claw back a little bit of the style that Hyundai let go with the 2015 redesign. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this Sport appearance package impressed me as a step forward over the base car. Inside, the luxurious ventilated seats are replaced by “Turbo” embossed leather seats, the steering wheel is the oh-so-cliche-now flat-bottomed unit, and the needles for the instruments rest at the six o’-clock position for additional sportiness. They dutifully flick through their entire range of motion when the Sonata powers up, which means that this vehicle shares at least two features — the steering wheel shape and the instrument panel behavior — with a Lotus Elise.

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And that’s where the Lotus comparison ends, because the sportiest Sonata isn’t much sportier than the regular one. The blown two-liter is torquey from 1350rpm according to the spec sheet (245hp/260 lb-ft) and it steams up the back-road hills with far more authority and less agitation than its normally-aspirated sibling, but there’s nothing particularly enthusiastic or visceral about it. Full disclosure: your humble author is the owner of a 2014 Accord V6. Fuller disclosure: and as a sporting proposition, the Accord V6 puts the Sonata 2.0T up on the pinball table and violates it while the Camry V6 and possibly even the Malibu Turbo cheer it on. There’s no comparison. It ain’t like Hyundai can’t do a strong six-cylinder, as we found out when we praised the Genesis Coupe a few years ago. They just won’t give it to you in the Sonata.

What the engine doesn’t do to torpedo its own desirability, the transmission will. While downshifts from the flimsy, wobbly paddles are sure and strong and don’t require placing the lever in Tiptronic mode in order to work, upshifts happen automatically a full 750rpm beneath the 7000rpm redline regardless of paddles or lever placement. That’s fine, I suppose, since the turbo’s long since out of breath at that point. This is the small-snail-itis that VW suffers as well. To misuse a phrase frequently heard on the internet, a compressor wheel small enough to give you the low-end torque you need is small enough to take away every bit of thrill the top end could have.

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This would be a stellar engine in the Limited Ultimate; it’s strong at low revs and can’t be flustered by the demands of passing on back roads. It just doesn’t measure up to the six-banger competition, period, point blank.

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Bereft of the Limited Ultimate touches and the segment-unique equipment, the interior of the Sonata Sport is revealed as a fairly Camry LE-ish place to be. The smaller LCD display has the same sad proportions of the uConnect Chrysler gives you when they want to punish you for not buying the real one. The stereo, on the other hand, is fully the equal of what you get in the big-money Sonata. It might even be a little better, and I can’t offer any reason for that other than preproduction variance. It really drops that bass on the Elvis Crespo tunes, to the discomfort of my passengers.

The theme of grey cheer continues with the deletion of the electronic parking brake and the loss of the fabulous fake wood in favor of a textured-looking silver pattern that is disappointingly smooth to the touch. It must be said that the same NVH virtues that were noted in the Sonata Limited review apply here. This is a big, quiet, solid automobile that exudes build quality and will adjust to fit nearly any driver.

For about the same money, however, you can get a Camry V-6 with fabric seats. It’s anybody’s guess how good the 2015 Camry super-facelift will be, but the existing car is pretty good and from an enthusiast perspective it continues to have much to recommend it over the Sonata. Luckily, Hyundai loyalists have another very good option available.

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The 1.6T Eco that we drove was a “pilot” vehicle and not representative of the eventual production and blah blah blah and hey it was actually better than the Sport in pretty much every way. The smaller engine is mated with an alert dual-clutch transmission that is perfectly at home on hills and in city driving. The net result is a sprightly, low-inertia feel that encourages spirited driving far more than the rev-averse two-liter turbo and torque-converter automatic possibly could.

The two-tone Eco interior has the Sport beat six ways to Sunday even if it isn’t quite up to Ultimate snuff. The large touchscreen returns — and trust me, you really want that — and the dual-trapezoid center stack is enlivened with Infiniti-style grey plastiwood. Hyundai doesn’t make a big deal of the Eco’s credentials visually, presumably because the new 2016 hybrid model that will replace the carryover old hybrid for 2015 is scheduled to receive a unique fascia and trim. But it’s handsome enough and somehow the new styling works best when it’s “Eco” instead of “Ultimate” or “Sport”.

Driving point-to-point in downtown Montgomery, the Eco was sluggish with its eponymous drive mode selected via the console button, but switching to “Sport” mode brought it alive. This is the fun member of the Sonata family. The engine wants to rev, even if it’s not terribly strong, and the Eco Sonata just feels lighter on its feet. (During Q&A, Hyundai indicated that weight savings for the Eco model would be minimal.)

The DCT offers PowerShift slurring rather than DSG brap-and-cut instant shifting, so we wouldn’t expect the Eco to shine on track. In the real world, however, it’s more direct and more involving than the six-speed automatic and it’s a difference you can feel in just a few hundred feet. This was the only one of the supplied cars we felt any temptation to “hoon”, even if we didn’t yield to that temptation.

The drive in the Eco came at just the right time during the press event. Finally, a Sonata that didn’t feel so grown-up, and all the better for it. With pricing that sneaks under the $24k mark to start, it might be the best consumer choice as well. Whatever you do, don’t pick the 2.4 or 2.0T versions of this car without at least trying the Eco. It’s our choice as best of breed in the Sonata family, and it’s a value proposition besides. While none of these Sonatas will blow your mind, they’ll all impress your reason, and hey — the Eco might even capture your heart.

(Disclaimer: Hyundai provided meals and lodging and offered travel assistance which we did not use.)

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Review: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.4 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/review-2015-hyundai-sonata-limited-2-4/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/review-2015-hyundai-sonata-limited-2-4/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 12:30:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855721 There are old Sonatas, and there are bold Sonatas, and starting now, any bold Sonatas you see are going to be old Sonatas. That old, bold Sonata lifted Hyundai from casual-participant status in the American midsize game to the life of a full-time player. The timing was right, falling in the middle of the bailout […]

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There are old Sonatas, and there are bold Sonatas, and starting now, any bold Sonatas you see are going to be old Sonatas.
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That old, bold Sonata lifted Hyundai from casual-participant status in the American midsize game to the life of a full-time player. The timing was right, falling in the middle of the bailout mess. The quality and equipment levels were acceptable to a useful slice of the buying public. And the styling was ripped straight from the headlines — assuming the headline story of that particular day was “A Fuzzier Look At The First-Generation Mercedes CLS”. Plenty of flash, not much cash, and a warranty to ease your mind about the way your neighbor’s 1999 Elantra rusted out at the door seams.

To consolidate those gains and keep the Montgomery, AL plant running three shifts a day at full capacity, Hyundai’s elected to dial back the visuals and crank up the equipment levels, both standard and optional. They invited us to tour that plant and drive three variants of the new Sonata on a variety of suspiciously smooth Alabama highways and byways. Today we’ll cover the $33,375 Sonata Limited Ultimate Package; later on in the week we’ll have the Sport 2.0T and Eco 1.6T models.

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It’s fair to say that Hyundai has successfully met about ninety-five percent of their stated goals with this new Sonata. In the press preview, they promised us a large, roomy car — and that it is. They promised us a rigid car that matched the class leaders for solidity — and if anything they’ve exceeded that goal. They promised segment-unique equipment like stop-start laser cruise control, panoramic roof, ventilated seats, all at a price that meets or beats the value entries — and the numbers don’t lie.

Start with the Sonata’s size and weight. By removing the option of a V-6, Hyundai has moved the cabin forward and secured the only “EPA Large Car” classification in the segment. It’s the widest of the Camcord/Sonatoptima/Fusionbu crowd and it beats most of them in most measurements. After some prodding on my part regarding Hyundai’s ability to cut weight in this car the way Honda did with the most recent Accord, their chief vehicle engineer retorted that the old Sonata was among the lightest in the segment and that this new car would weigh just six pounds more. The Accord’s lighter, but you need to take a manual transmission to have a measurable gap. The number I was given for a base 2.4 Sonata was 3,259 pounds; Honda quotes 3,254 for the LX CVT.

So what we have here is a serious effort at delivering space without a weight penalty and the results are convincing. The Sonata never feels cramped, front or rear. In particular, the relative lack of tumblehome really imparts an airy feel to the cabin and if the windowsills aren’t quite Accord-low they are easily a match for the Camry or Altima. It doesn’t need to be said, but in this respect the Malibu isn’t even a competitor — which is perhaps why the press materials accidentally showed the previous-gen Malibu. Hyundai’s long past having to worry about fighting General Motors.

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A press of the metal start button, shared with the Genesis, and the 2.4L thrashes into life. Our test Sonata was in Limited Ultimate trim, which for over $33,000 offers you a BMW 7er’s worth of equipment. But you still have to take that lumpenprole big-inch four-cylinder, coupled to a six-speed automatic. Hyundai’s people refused to get defensive when I pressed them on this: “There are hundreds of thousands of Sonata owners who are very satisfied with this proven six-speed unit and they are coming back for more of the same.” Sure, but if any of them accidentally experience the four-cylinder powertrains in the Accord, Camry, or Altima, they won’t like what they find here very much. On the numbers, the Sonata is fine, offering about the same amount of power and economy as everyone else. On the move, however, it’s coarse and frequently whines in protest when asked to climb a hill.

The transmission is slow-witted and when the lever is moved over to Tiptronic mode it takes a full inch or more of meaningless travel in either direction before the desired gear is selected right as the level hits the mechanical stop. Annoying, the “+” and “-” selections are backwards, with “+” being towards the dashboard and “-” away from it. Hate to say it, but the Sonata really disappoints in the powertrain department, and my recent drive of a CVT Accord four-cylinder just hammered that home.

If you can let that go, however, you’ll find plenty else to love about the interior of this Sonata Limited Ultimate. The seats are brilliant; supportive, with strong ventilation or heating, they really satisfy and the range of adjustment is considerable. There’s even an auto-slide for entry and exit a la Town Car. There is a wide range of high-quality interior materials on offer, with the “wood” trim and the touch-points leather coming in for particular commendation. This is an expensive vehicle — indeed, I cannot readily think of a naturally-aspirated non-hybrid four-cylinder car that costs more — but there is clear value everywhere you look. Two false notes are struck by the much-ballyhooed “driver-focused” center stack shape that looks oddly like something from the original season of Battlestar Galactica and the LCD displays for time and temperature that would not be hugely out of place in a digital watch from that same era. Maybe there’s a retro thing going on of which I wasn’t aware.

This being the year 2015, or at least the model year 2015, there’s a requirement for full-featured navitainment and Bluetooth integration. The Sonata delivers ably with a high-resolution eight-inch center display, seamless ability to work with my old Samsung Galaxy S3, and a “BlueLink” group of external satellite features. The stereo is reasonably good although it isn’t very loud, offering reasonable clarity, focus, and adjustability. It’s a long reach to the touchscreen but if you can make it you’ll be satisfied with what Hyundai says is a more sensitive interface that allows the user to perform drags and slides on the navigation screen. (A tablet-style “pinch” or “expand” is not available.)

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What’s the rest of the drive experience like? As Hilary said, “what difference does it make?” But it would be unfair not to mention just how eerily quiet the Sonata is and how solidly it thumps on the bumps. I’d want a full week on Midwestern frost-heaved roads to really evaluate the ride, but in Alabama it was brilliant. Steering and brake feel are thoroughly artificial and strangely heavy, perhaps because the Hyundai customer might associate light steering with some cheap-ass Pontiac Grand Am. A “Drive Mode” button between the shifter and the electronic parking brake produces convincing further stiffening in steering and engine response.

The restrained styling, superior NVH, and unbeatable features list will make this Sonata a dangerously effective rival for the Fusion, but more than that Hyundai’s own Genesis is probably going to face some encroachment from the Limited Ultimate. It’s almost an Avalon competitor more than a Camry clone, and a few minutes behind the wheel of the relatively quick-witted four-cylinder Camry SE or XLE would drive the point home.

For this money, you can get an Accord Touring. Dynamically, the V-6 Touring murders this Sonata — but how often would you call on the power of the J35 six-cylinder, and how often would you miss the ventilated seats and the pano roof and the Hyundai’s ability to drive itself in traffic? How often would you hustle the big Honda down a twisty road, and how often would you want the Sonata’s vault-like isolation from the traffic outside?

In the areas of feature count, interior room, and quiet solidity, this is a genuine advance in the segment and should be recognized as such. The problem is that you can’t get the good equipment with the preferred engine. Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about what you do get when you choose the “Turbo” logo. In the meantime, feel free to think of the not-so-bold Sonata as a Korean take on an Oldsmobile Cutlass Brougham. You remember how popular that was, right?

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(Lodging and meals were provided courtesy of Hyundai, who also offered us transportation which we ended up declining due to travel conflicts.)

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JD Power Initial Quality Study Shows GM, Hyundai, Porsche Leading The Pack http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/jd-power-initial-quality-study-shows-gm-hyundai-porsche-leading-the-pack/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/jd-power-initial-quality-study-shows-gm-hyundai-porsche-leading-the-pack/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=846905 J.D. Power has released their U.S. Initial Quality Study for 2014, where General Motors, Hyundai and Porsche earned top marks despite consumers still struggling with the gizmology taking over their vehicles. Autoblog reports GM’s Buick, Chevrolet and GMC captured more awards than anyone else in the 2014 IQS, with six vehicles winning in their segments. […]

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J.D. Power has released their U.S. Initial Quality Study for 2014, where General Motors, Hyundai and Porsche earned top marks despite consumers still struggling with the gizmology taking over their vehicles.

Autoblog reports GM’s Buick, Chevrolet and GMC captured more awards than anyone else in the 2014 IQS, with six vehicles winning in their segments. Meanwhile, Hyundai and Porsche were ranked best overall mass-market and premium brand, respectively, where the former reported 94 issues per 100 vehicles reported in the first 90 days, 74/100 for the latter. Porsche also dominated the IQS, having the best score of all brands surveyed.

On the other end of the scale, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ranked poorly in the study, with Fiat holding dead last at 206 problems per 100 vehicles reported in the survey period. Jeep came second-to-last with 146/100, while Dodge was just below the industry average at 124/100. Only Ram and Chrysler fared the best, matching or just exceeding the average of 116/100.

Part of the results may be due to automakers pushing the envelope on technology and new features to make consumers’ lives easier. J.D. Power Vice President of Global Automotive David Sargent says “almost all automakers are struggling” to introduce these pieces “without introducing additional quality problems.” In turn, some consumers are noting the technologies involved are “hard to understand, difficult to use, or [do] not always work as designed.”

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Kia Building First Mexican Plant To Alleviate Strained U.S. Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/kia-building-first-mexican-plant-to-alleviate-strained-u-s-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/kia-building-first-mexican-plant-to-alleviate-strained-u-s-production/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840426 In light of high demand in the United States for its offerings, Kia will build its first Mexican plant in Monterrey to help bring additional capacity to North America. Reuters reports the factory will open 21 months after groundbreaking, supplying a total of 300,000 vehicles annually to the United States. Production will focus on Kia’s […]

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In light of high demand in the United States for its offerings, Kia will build its first Mexican plant in Monterrey to help bring additional capacity to North America.

Reuters reports the factory will open 21 months after groundbreaking, supplying a total of 300,000 vehicles annually to the United States. Production will focus on Kia’s compacts — the Forte and Rio — at first before taking on work from the brand’s sole U.S. factory in Georgia, where the Optima, Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe are assembled, and from Hyundai’s Alabama plant, where the Sonata and Elantra are built. No word was given on when the first shovels would break the earth.

Aside from supply-and-demand issues in the U.S., Kia is likely building the Monterrey plant — to go with Hyundai’s production expansion into Chongqing, China — in order to maintain its market share around the globe. The duo together hold fifth place in the global auto sales race, a position it could lose by 2016 if no more capacity is added, according to Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon.

The capacity limit was unofficially put in place by Hyundai/Kia chair Chung Mong-koo over two years ago, fearing his two brands would end up like Toyota in the 2000s if they expanded as aggressively as had the Japanese automaker.

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Hyundai Gathers Tucson ZEV Credits For Future Internal, External Swaps http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/hyundai-gathers-tucson-zev-credits-for-future-internal-external-swaps/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/hyundai-gathers-tucson-zev-credits-for-future-internal-external-swaps/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 10:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=837793 While the first hydrogen-powered Tucson FCVs left the docks in California in the last week of May, Hyundai knows the vehicles aren’t meant to add to the company’s bottom line, but are meant to garner credits for future use. Ward’s Auto reports the Korean automaker will earn as much as 26 CARB credits for every […]

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While the first hydrogen-powered Tucson FCVs left the docks in California in the last week of May, Hyundai knows the vehicles aren’t meant to add to the company’s bottom line, but are meant to garner credits for future use.

Ward’s Auto reports the Korean automaker will earn as much as 26 CARB credits for every Tucson FCV leased through 2017, each vehicle equal to $130,000 in credit. Fuel cell boss Byung Ki Ahn believes his company could then sell those credits to automakers in need of offsetting their carbon footprint, though Hyundai has no plans on the table to do so at this time, preferring to use the credits for themselves for less compliant vehicles of their own design.

In addition, the ZEV credits bestowed upon Hyundai’s hydrogen dream is more than than what EVs earn under California’s credit scheme, which earn less than half of what fuel-cell vehicles garner per unit sold. Ahn has no qualms with the scheme, though, viewing the credit market as “a good business model” for Hyundai and subsidary Kia to follow.

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New York 2014: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Live Shots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-hyundai-sonata-live-shots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-hyundai-sonata-live-shots/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:52:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=800810 Unveiled in South Korea last month, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata made its United States debut during the 2014 New York Auto Show. The sedan, set to roll out of Hyundai’s Montgomery, Ala. plant this summer, offers an improved ride quality thanks to a stiffer chassis and lower co-efficient of drag. Up front, either a 2.4-liter […]

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Unveiled in South Korea last month, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata made its United States debut during the 2014 New York Auto Show.

The sedan, set to roll out of Hyundai’s Montgomery, Ala. plant this summer, offers an improved ride quality thanks to a stiffer chassis and lower co-efficient of drag. Up front, either a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-pot or turbocharged 2-liter put less power to the front wheels than the previous generation of engines, with the former creating 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque while the latter churning 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft torque. Both engines are forever linked to a six-speed automatic.

Those opting for the turbo-four can add the Sport trim to their Sonata, bringing bigger brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels, quad exhaust, and more aggressive bodywork to the package.

Stepping inside the sedan, those who test-drove the Genesis sedan may feel a sense of deja-vu thanks to the driver-oriented center stack. Meanwhile, Hyundai will be offering a number of safety conveniences for the Sonata, including blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Hyundai Genesis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/capsule-review-2015-hyundai-genesis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/capsule-review-2015-hyundai-genesis/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 15:51:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=788538 When it comes to luxury cars, there are two factors, often mutually exclusive, that come into play: actual excellence and perceived prestige. Very often, the latter wins out. If you want to know why, ask anyone who bought a Maserati Quattroporte. Or a BMW 528i. From 1997-2003 the BMW 5-series was the last word in […]

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When it comes to luxury cars, there are two factors, often mutually exclusive, that come into play: actual excellence and perceived prestige. Very often, the latter wins out. If you want to know why, ask anyone who bought a Maserati Quattroporte. Or a BMW 528i.

From 1997-2003 the BMW 5-series was the last word in four-door sedans. If you wanted the perceived prestige, then the big V8 cars were sure to impress bench racers and badge snobs. If you wanted actual excellence, you did not pass go, did not collect 282 horsepower, and you went right for the six cylinder cars.

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When I think of the quintessential 5-Series, I think of the E39 525i or 530i. Neither was particularly fast. The cabin did have sumptuous leather and slabs of wood, but by and large it was still full of old school BMW touches like displays with orange illumination and dot-matrix looking typography, a dearth of cupholders and even *gasp* hard black plastic. And yet, they were all things to all people – comfortable commuter, ersatz school bus, peerless long-distance cruiser and even an engaging backroad scalpel.

In roughly a decade, we’ve regressed. You can now spend over $70,000 on an entry level BMW that has a turbo-four engine, just like your insurance broker’s Fusion or a soccer mom’s Santa Fe. And when you drive it, you realize that the 528i is not The Ultimate Driving Machine anymore, nor is it a positional good like the E60 cars were when the end of their life-cycle coincided with the Great Financial Crisis. The F10 528i is, in many respects, a very expensive, longitudinally oriented Camry.

Not much else in the segment is thrilling, however. The Audi A6 and Cadillac CTS are both saddled with 2.0T engines unbecoming of their relative station in life. The Mercedes-Benz E350 has a proper V6, but is softer than a Buick Lacrosse. The Lexus GS and Infiniti M are non-entities.

Nobody would have ever thought that the 2015 Hyundai Genesis would be upholding the mantle of excellence in the large rear-drive segment, but then again, nobody in 2003 would have expected that Hyundai would introduce this car – badged as a Hyundai, sold through the Hyundai dealer network – either.

As with the previous Genesis, the styling is handsome but derivative. If the old car looks like a reasonable facsimile of a Lexus, the new one looks like a reasonable facsimile of an Audi, styled within the framework of today’s emissions and safety regulations. The lack of aesthetic imagination would be all the more damning if it weren’t for the homogenization of everything else on the road, in both looks and driving experience.

Well, almost everything. The two-point-oh-tee engines infesting nearly every car from the C-segment on up are very helpful with meeting all kinds of regulation: CAFE, European emissions standards, EPA fuel economy tests and world market displacement taxes.

With the Genesis, Hyundai is focusing on three major markets: the United States, Korea, and China. That means no boosted fours. Instead, you have the choice of a 3.8L V6 (311 horsepower, 293 lb-ft of torque) or a 5.0L V8 (420 horsepower, 383 lb-ft of torque). The V6 actually loses 22 horsepower, though it gains 2 lb-ft, while the V8 drops 9 horsepower and picks up 7 lb-ft. Not particularly encouraging stuff, given that curb weight is up by about 150 lbs on rear-drive models.

Any doubts about performance dissipate once you’re behind the wheel. Both cars feel much faster than their predecessors, with the 5.0 V8 providing serious forward thrust and an aggressive bellow at higher rpms that sounds like a muffled version of Chrysler’s Hemi V8. Like the old E39 540i, the V8 Genesis is at its best when cruising rapidly in a straight line, tracking perfectly straight without any hands on the wheel, cruising below 2000 rpm in near silence while eating up miles of blacktop.

If you never got a chance to drive the 3.8L V6, you wouldn’t have any qualms about the 5.0’s dynamics. The V8 car isn’t overly engaging, with relatively numb steering, a rather slow turn-in and a grudgingly competent way of taking turns . The V6 is an entirely different animal, as distinct in character as the I6 E39s were from the 540i.

With two fewer cylinders and the engine sitting a bit farther back, the V6 Genesis responds with far more enthusiasm than the 5.0 While the steering isn’t particularly big on feel, there’s a much greater level of feedback from the front tires. Turn-in is quicker, and the whole car responds to inputs in a more enthusiastic manner. The V6 isn’t as effortlessly powerful as the big 5.0 V8, but it responds with enthusiasm, and its own soundtrack is engaging and even raw at higher revs. Nobody would ever complain about the lack of power from the 3.8L engine either. V6 models will have an optional all-wheel drive system developed with Magna, but seat time in that car will have to wait for a later date.

The weak link in the powertrain is the in-house 8-speed automatic transmission, which is neither as sporting nor as refined as the 8-speed ZF gearbox that is near-ubiquitous in today’s premium car offerings. Kudos to Hyundai for making their own in-house design, but ZF has set a very high bar with what might be the best gearbox on the market. And even 8-speeds can’t help save the Genesis from less than stellar fuel economy ratings (18/29/22 mpg city/highway/combined for the V6, 16/25/19 for the AWD model and 15/23/18 for the V8).

But all of this talk of high performance driving is largely academic. The things that the Genesis needs to excel at – namely, a comfortable ride, minimal NVH and a premium interior – are all tasks at which the Genesis acquits itself. There’s a bit of noise around the wing mirrors when traveling at speed, but road and wind noise is largely isolated. The new car manages to strike the appropriate balance between ride and handling as well. Chassis tuning by Lotus (yes, that Lotus) was a big part of Hyundai’s PR push, but driving on bumpy desert access roads and poorly-maintained streets in outlying towns displayed a compliant, well-sorted ride as the primary characteristic. When pushed, the Genesis responds as well as a two-ton luxury sedan could be expected to – more than its European competition can say for themselves.

In its attempt to ape the leading European and Japanese luxury cars, the Genesis can be optioned up with all kinds of the latest cutting edge technology: a lane-keep assist system (that was overzealous and a bit of a nuisance), radar-guided cruise control, haptic feedback through the steering wheel and even a CO2 sensor (which supposedly helps keep drivers from getting too drowsy).

And you don’t need any of it. The best Genesis is the one we spent the most time with – a basic 3.8 V6, with the smaller 8″ display screen, 18″ wheels and only a couple of rows of neatly organized buttons (no iDrive-esque controller like the fully loaded Ultimate Package cars). At $38,000, it’s closer in price to a Honda Accord V6 Touring than a BMW 528i. Both the Honda and the Hyundai are better examples of actual excellence than the now neutered 5er, but in the real world, few have the courage to put character before image. What a shame.

photo (15)

 

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Hyundai Sonata Fuel Economy Rating Found Lower Than Stated, Corrected http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/hyundai-sonata-fuel-economy-rating-found-lower-than-stated-corrected/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/hyundai-sonata-fuel-economy-rating-found-lower-than-stated-corrected/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 13:40:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=774929 Hyundai announced a correction in the upcoming 2015 Sonata’s fuel economy upon findings showing the economy figures to be lower than originally stated. Reuters reports the sedan claimed a 6 percent-climb to 12.6 kilometers per liter, a figure based on tests at the automaker’s research center. However, government tests returned a 2 percent-climb of 12.1 […]

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2014 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai announced a correction in the upcoming 2015 Sonata’s fuel economy upon findings showing the economy figures to be lower than originally stated.

Reuters reports the sedan claimed a 6 percent-climb to 12.6 kilometers per liter, a figure based on tests at the automaker’s research center. However, government tests returned a 2 percent-climb of 12.1 kilometers per liter than the outgoing model.

Analysts, including Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade senior researcher Cho Chul, said the impact of the error and subsequent correction would be short-lived, having been announced prior to the new Sonata going on sale later this month in its home market:

This may have a short-term impact on its reputation. But for the longer term, it is better for Hyundai to take quick action before controversy erupts.

Both Hyundai and Kia are rebuilding their reputations regarding fuel economy after overstate figures in their respective lineups led to recalls and customer lawsuits, paying $395 million total in settlements in the United States in 2012 for over 1 million vehicles with erroneous mileage.

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2015 Hyundai Sonata Caught Nude In Home Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/2015-hyundai-sonata-caught-nude-in-home-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/2015-hyundai-sonata-caught-nude-in-home-plant/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 18:37:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770842 New spy photos of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata have emerged showing the upcoming sedan fully nude in its home plant in South Korea. The Korean Car Blog reports spy photographers have said the Sonata boasted a 2-liter T-GDI four-pot pushing 274 horsepower toward the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The new Sonata will […]

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New spy photos of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata have emerged showing the upcoming sedan fully nude in its home plant in South Korea.

The Korean Car Blog reports spy photographers have said the Sonata boasted a 2-liter T-GDI four-pot pushing 274 horsepower toward the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The new Sonata will make its official launch March 24.

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Hyundai To Challenge BMW, Mercedes With Genesis Sedan In Europe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/hyundai-to-challenge-bmw-mercedes-with-genesis-sedan-in-europe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/hyundai-to-challenge-bmw-mercedes-with-genesis-sedan-in-europe/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 13:55:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=756313 Set to be introduced to the European premium market at the Geneva Auto Show next week, the Hyundai Genesis will be aimed at establishing a foothold for the automaker in the market against BMW and Mercedes upon arrival in showrooms in June, particularly in Southern Europe, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Automotive News Europe reports […]

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2015 Hyundai Genesis

Set to be introduced to the European premium market at the Geneva Auto Show next week, the Hyundai Genesis will be aimed at establishing a foothold for the automaker in the market against BMW and Mercedes upon arrival in showrooms in June, particularly in Southern Europe, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Automotive News Europe reports Hyundai expects to sell 1,000 of the premium sedans to a targeted group of customers who are familiar with the brand, especially those ready to attach diplomat plates to their new purchase. No price has been announced thus far, though the automaker has pegged the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class as rivals to their Genesis.

Overall, Hyundai aims to increase their market share on the continent from 3.4 percent currently to 5 percent by 2020. Though sales fell 5.5 percent last month, there are already 6 million vehicles on the road, with 70 percent under seven years of age. Customer retention also increased, moving from 36 percent in 2010 to 50 percent in the present, which benefits Hyundai in Europe according to regional head Allan Rushforth:

Working on loyalty is really fundamental to the economics of our business, and the success of our business in Europe. We’ve been a conquest brand to get to this point, but we’ve got to evolve and mature to balance retention and conquest in the future.

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Sonata Quality Issues Drag Down Hyundai, R&D President Returns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/sonata-quality-issues-drag-down-hyundai-rd-president-returns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/sonata-quality-issues-drag-down-hyundai-rd-president-returns/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 13:54:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=756401 Just as J.D. Power ranks Hyundai fifth from dead last over quality issues regarding the 2011 Sonata, the automaker’s research and development president, Kwon Moon-sik, returns to the fold three months after quitting over a number of quality issues within the product line. Automotive News and Reuters report Hyundai holds 27th overall on J.D. Power’s […]

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2011 Hyundai Sonata

Just as J.D. Power ranks Hyundai fifth from dead last over quality issues regarding the 2011 Sonata, the automaker’s research and development president, Kwon Moon-sik, returns to the fold three months after quitting over a number of quality issues within the product line.

Automotive News and Reuters report Hyundai holds 27th overall on J.D. Power’s Vehicle Dependability Study, with 169 problems per 100 vehicles surveyed. Though nothing was specified for the 2011 Sonata or the 2011 Elantra — the other car from 2011 that brought down Hyundai’s rank — the industry overall developed issues with engines and transmissions tied to advanced fuel-efficiency technologies, including turbocharging. The sedan’s issues are magnified due to its groundbreaking design and said technologies, shaking up the otherwise conservative midsize sedan segment on its way to becoming Hyundai’s top-selling vehicle.

Meanwhile, Hyundai chairman Chung Mong-koo has rehired R&D president Kwon Moon-sik to help right the ship as the next generation Sonata prepares to make its debut in South Korea next month, as the automaker said in a statement:

Given his expertise, experience and leadership skills, we reinstated president Kwon to enhance quality and R&D capability from scratch.

Hyundai also said they expect their dependability ratings to improve next year when the 2012 models are evaluated, though it was “very disappointed” the results of this year’s study, and is “examining every component of the score to determine root-cause solutions” for improving their product line and services.

Kwon, along with two other R&D executives, quit three months earlier over quality issues — such as those affecting the 2011 models — that led to massive recalls in the United States, South Korea and other market. He was also one of the top aides to Chung’s son, Chung Eui-sun. His replacement, Kim Hae-jin, will return to heading powertrain development.

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Hyundai, Mazda Eyeing Small Crossover Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/hyundai-mazda-eyeing-small-crossover-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/hyundai-mazda-eyeing-small-crossover-market/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 14:30:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=743737 The growing small crossover segment, featuring the likes of the Nissan Juke, Buick Encore, Honda Vezel and Kia Soul, may soon find two new players in the game as both Hyundai and Mazda have their eyes on the prize. Automotive News Europe and Automotive News report the two automakers are planning to release subcompact CUVs […]

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2011_Mazda2_Touring_--_11-30-2010_2.jpg

The growing small crossover segment, featuring the likes of the Nissan Juke, Buick Encore, Honda Vezel and Kia Soul, may soon find two new players in the game as both Hyundai and Mazda have their eyes on the prize.

Automotive News Europe and Automotive News report the two automakers are planning to release subcompact CUVs of their own down the road, with Mazda tying theirs to the newly redesigned Mazda2 due out later this year. The crossover would slot underneath the current CX-5 in Mazda’s home market, and would be priced between 1.5 million and 2 million yen ($15,000 – $20,000 USD).

Mazda also aims to bring the mid-size CX-9 to Japan as soon as 2015 following its next redesign; both new models would expand the automaker’s crossover lineup to three vehicles in their home market.

Meanwhile, Hyundai’s subcompact crossover is in the study phase according to Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski:

We’re always looking at segments that we’re not in right now that maybe we should be based on where the market’s going. We’re very intrigued by this B-segment CUV.

Zuchowski also announced that his employer may also bring a smaller luxury sports sedan within a couple of years, which would form a trinity with the Equus and Genesis sedans.

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Hyundai Ready To Add Capacity After Two-Year Break http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/hyundai-ready-to-add-capacity-after-two-year-break/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/hyundai-ready-to-add-capacity-after-two-year-break/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 17:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=739417 After a two-year break in expansion mandated by Hyundai Motor Company Chairman Chung Mong-koo in order to avoid quality issues experienced by Toyota during their aggressive growing spurt in the 2000s, Hyundai and Kia are both looking through feasibilities studies to determine where to invest in expanding their manufacturing footprint. Though the mandate is still […]

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Hyundai production line Alabama plant

After a two-year break in expansion mandated by Hyundai Motor Company Chairman Chung Mong-koo in order to avoid quality issues experienced by Toyota during their aggressive growing spurt in the 2000s, Hyundai and Kia are both looking through feasibilities studies to determine where to invest in expanding their manufacturing footprint.

Though the mandate is still in place, the expansion freeze is putting the pressure on both brands’ existing factories to produce more vehicles as it is. In 2013, Hyundai and Kia utilized 105 percent capacity of their factories around the globe, with those in the Southeastern United States running flat-out between 125 percent and 135 percent on two shifts per day.

Sources closes to the expansion plans noted the current ban, though highly beneficial to the parent automaker’s bottom line, is ultimately unsustainable for future success; Hyundai aims to sell nearly 8 million units globally in 2014, and expansion into Mexico and China — and possibly the U.S., though through a cautious approach due to tougher competition in a tight market — would help move the goal post past 8 million

The renewed interest in expansion comes as costs in labor and languid growth prospects in the automaker’s home market are prompting competitors — such as General Motors — to cut back on manufacturing and export, something Hyundai refuses to contemplate. Thus, the search for “investment opportunities” outside of a local market set to peak at 1.6 million sales annually through 2020 beginning in 2016, including three sites in China, whose local market could see 33 million to 38 million sales annually by 2020.

If approved, the fourth Chinese factory would be Hyundai’s first major manufacturing capacity investment since opening their third plant in 2012 alongside one in Brazil, both announced prior to the expansion ban in 2010 and 2008, respectively.

That said, Chung could veto any new expansion investment should such plans be presented.

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Hyundai Canada Settles Class Action Fuel Economy Suit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/hyundai-canada-settles-class-action-fuel-economy-suit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/hyundai-canada-settles-class-action-fuel-economy-suit/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=726978 Hyundai Auto Canada reached a settlement with consumers in a class action lawsuit over exaggerated fuel economy numbers among their Hyundai and Kia lineup of vehicles, paying a total of $46.65 million CAD ($41.85 million USD) in the deal, according to just-auto. Under the terms of the settlement — affecting current and former owners and […]

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2011 Hyundai Elantra Build Sheet

Hyundai Auto Canada reached a settlement with consumers in a class action lawsuit over exaggerated fuel economy numbers among their Hyundai and Kia lineup of vehicles, paying a total of $46.65 million CAD ($41.85 million USD) in the deal, according to just-auto.

Under the terms of the settlement — affecting current and former owners and lessees of 130,000 Hyundai and Kia models made between MY2011 and MY2013 — consumers can either take a one-time payment based on type of vehicle affected, or remain in an existing reimbursement program Hyundai started in late 2012 after the automaker restated fuel economy ratings. The program covers additional fuel costs associated with the adjustment, along with a 15 percent premium in acknowledgement of the inconvenience over the issue so long as the vehicle is in the possession of the owner or lessee.

Those who take the lump sum will receive the payment minus previous reimbursements from the program. Other options available include a dealership credit of 150 percent of the lump sum, and a 200 percent credit of the cash amount towards the purchase of a new Hyundai or Kia.

Though Hyundai’s Canadian wing has its ducks in a row, their operations in the United States are still in the class action process after the Environmental Protection Agency announced fuel economy overstatements made by the automaker, as well as subsequent adjustments to the fact.

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Honda, Nissan, Toyota Set Production Record Against Weakening Yen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/honda-nissan-toyota-set-production-record-against-weakening-yen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/honda-nissan-toyota-set-production-record-against-weakening-yen/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:32:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706538 As the yen weakened against the dollar for a second consecutive year, Honda, Nissan and Toyota all set production records in their North American plants in 2013, according to Automotive News. Outputs for the trio last year include 1.86 million units for Toyota, 1.78 million for Honda, and 1.47 million for Nissan, though gains on […]

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Toyota Baja California Assembly Line

As the yen weakened against the dollar for a second consecutive year, Honda, Nissan and Toyota all set production records in their North American plants in 2013, according to Automotive News.

Outputs for the trio last year include 1.86 million units for Toyota, 1.78 million for Honda, and 1.47 million for Nissan, though gains on the production line didn’t match sales in the United States. However, exports took up the slack in U.S. showrooms, with more units sent to growing markets such as South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Latin America.

As far as individual models are concerned, Honda built 466,695 Accords at their Marysville, Ohio plant in 2013, around 20,000 more than the number of Camrys Toyota workers at the automaker’s Georgetown, Ky. plant.

The Japanese Three expanded their presence in North America as insulation against a falling yen, which fell 17.6 percent against the dollar in 2013 after falling 11 percent in 2012, as well as protection from overseas production disruptions that could affect North American output. In fact, Honda will soon open a plant in Celaya, Mexico to build the Fit, with the long-awaited 2015 NSX to be assembled in an experimental plant in Marysville.

Regarding Hyundai and Kia, the two South Korean automakers set a few records of their own in North America, including 399,495 Sonatas and Elantras leaving Hyundai’s Montgomery, Ala. plant, and 105,647 Santa Fes rolling out of the Kia line in West Point, Ga.

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