By on February 5, 2016

17 - 1986 Hyundai Excel in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

I can’t think of any vehicle manufacturer whose products improved as much and as quickly as Hyundai’s did between the ghastly first-gen Excel and the very nice Hyundais of, say, the current century.

The only new US-market car that was cheaper than the first Excel was the Yugo GV (which was, arguably, the better car), and in all my years of junkyard crawling I have never seen any vehicle that got discarded in larger quantities before reaching ten years of age (in fact, lots of Excels appeared at U-Wrench-It before their fifth birthdays).

This means that 1985-89 Excels are exceedingly rare in junkyards today, so I always photograph them when I find them. So far in this series, we have seen this ’86, this ’87, this ’88, and now today’s depressingly un-loaded ’87, which is as far advanced from today’s nice Hyundais as is a cargo-cult wicker plane from a Boeing 787. (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2015

Hyundai Kia sales chart May 2015

Hyundai’s U.S. operations produced record sales in calendar year 2014 and in the process outsold Kia – which also reported record sales last year – by an average of 12,000 sales per month. That gap was narrower than in 2013, when Hyundai typically outsold Kia by more than 15,000 sales per month.

But after outselling its Kia partner by 6,206 units in January of this year, 8475 units in February, 16,248 in March (Hyundai Motor America’s best ever month), and 14,727 units in April, Hyundai’s favourable gap narrowed to only 1,177 units in May(Read More…)

By on December 24, 2014

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Ssangyong has trademarked two nameplates in America, ostensibly in preparation for an American launch.

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By on February 14, 2014

Ssangyong has had a colorful history, to put it lightly. In 1999, the Korean brand entered bankruptcy as its Chinese majority owner, SAIC Motor Company cut Ssangyong loose. Ssangyong made a frenzied attempt to cut its workforce down, and faced one of the worst labor strikes in the Korean auto industry’s history. In retaliation for the cuts, the workers of Ssangyong’s Pyongtaek production plant set fire to the plant, and later occupied it for two months. Riot police, including helicopter support, was called in eventually to clear the plant.

With Ssangyong in shambles, Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra bought a 70% stake in the company in 2011 and immediately went to work on labor issues. Since the acquisition, Ssangyong has not suffered any labor downtime and the once rioting workforce now appears to be diligently rebuilding the auto maker, one car at a time.

In 2013, Ssangyong returned and racked up its highest sales, with 145,649 cars sold last year. 81,679 of those sales were made in overseas markets; and a spokesman for Ssangyong confirmed to WardsAuto that the Korean Automaker is looking to expand its product to the U.S. market.

(Read More…)

By on February 11, 2014

14 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI admit I’ve got a sick fascination with luxury cars sold by companies not (at the time, in this market) known for luxury. There’s the Mitsubishi Diamante, of course, and the Mazda 929, and even the Volvo 262C Bertone (I’m still looking for a junked Daewoo Leganza, but either they don’t exist or— more likely— they fade into the junkyard background so perfectly that I never notice them). The Hyundai XG, well, that’s a perfect example of the “who’s laughing now?” phenomenon; just a decade ago, we all chortled at the idea of a Korean luxury sedan selling in the United States. Today, German and Japanese car-industry execs wake up screaming from Hyundai-themed nightmares. So, that makes today’s Junkyard Find of great historical significance (to me and maybe a dozen others). (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2013

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It sure would seem so. Despite the best efforts of our IT crew, the TTAC Staff Robot is unable to read Korean,but we can read the word “Genesis” on this car’s front plate.

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By on April 10, 2013

A Reuters article on Hyundai’s recent quality problems raises an interesting question. Has the company grown too fast following an unprecedented image makeover?

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By on November 12, 2012

In a world obsessed with quantity, volume, economies of scale, speed, expedience and all that comes with it, wouldn’t it be nice if someone wanted to ease up a little and make sure things work?

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By on August 5, 2012

France is asking the EU to look into an uptick in South Korean car imports, which could possibly result in tarrifs being slapped on the vehicles, despite an EU-South Korean free trade agreement.

(Read More…)

By on July 29, 2012

Kia revealed these pictures of the next Forte, with absolutely zero details about the car itself. I suppose it’s fair to say that they’ve planted the “cee’ds” in our minds…

 

 

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