Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. have announced plans to recall 1.3 million vehicles in the United States and South Korea for engine defects that could result in stalling. While no automaker wants to face the possibility of a recall, Hyundai Motor Group is already facing a sales slump in both North America and Asia.
Having to waste millions on a recall that further brings the company’s ability to regulate quality into question is the last thing it needs. Last month, Hyundai recalled roughly one million cars seat for a faulty fastener that occasionally caused seat belts to detach in a crash. (Read More…)
Capitalizing on the buzz surrounding its Super Bowl ad, “Walken Closet” with Christopher Walken, Kia showed hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Optima to assembled members of the media.
Some automakers hire live musicians to perform during auto show press conferences, including some pretty big names. To burnish its credentials as a youth-oriented brand, Kia had a decent rock band made of teenage students studying at the School of Rock.
(Maybe it says something about today’s music, but the oldest kid in the band was 18 and every song the band played was a hit before he was born. T-Rex’s “Bang A Gong” was probably released before some of their grandparents had met. I think the most recent song was Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”, which came out in 1993.)
A few minutes later, I realized that marketers for the Korean automaker missed a great opportunity to further hype its midsize sedan.
It’s easy to see why some automakers resist putting premium features in mass market models. All you need to do is look at that luxury showroom to the right. In the quest to differentiate, say, the Ford Fusion from its Lincoln counterpart, or the Toyota Avalon from the Lexus ES, and so forth, manufacturers limit the options and luxuries available on the more pedestrian models.
On the surface, the Optima SXL’s mission could be confused with that of competitors from other non-luxury marques — Accord Touring and Fusion Titanium to name two — but Kia takes its top-trim game a couple steps further. You see, Kia is in a different position as the Optima has no luxury branded sistership and Kia has nothing to lose by creating an Optima trim that could arguably compete with the Acura TLX and Lincoln MKZ.
However, the Optima SXL’s existence does give rise to a very important question: Can a gussied-up family sedan be a value alternative to a near-luxury option, such as the TLX or MKZ? Or is this a case of “making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?”
Let’s find out.
This is all we’ve got on the new Kia Optima. You’ll have to wait until next week for official details, but expect the same specs as the current Hyundai Sonata.
By stealing the Toyota Camry’s best-selling midsize car crown, albeit likely on a temporary basis, the Nissan Altima ended February 2014 as America’s best-selling car overall. The Altima’s lead was also substantial enough last month to make the midsize Nissan America’s leading car year-to-date.
Sub-prime finance has attracted a bit of interest (no pun intended) over at TTAC lately, and the segment itself has experienced phenomenal growth in the post-bailout era.
Auto lending site www.carfinance.com released a list of the top 10 most popular new and used vehicles as purchased by sub-prime buyers over the last six months. While it’s not the most complete list by any means, it does give us a glimpse into the choices of sub-prime buyers. As far as we know, no such list has ever been compiled prior to this.