The Truth About Cars » korean cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 » korean cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Korean Carmaker Ssangyong Looks At US Market During A Dramatic Rebirth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/korean-carmaker-ssangyong-looks-at-us-market-during-a-dramatic-rebirth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/korean-carmaker-ssangyong-looks-at-us-market-during-a-dramatic-rebirth/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 19:44:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=742001 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 […]

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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.

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The spokesman confirmed to Wards that a portfolio for North America is being planned with a consultant to help find an approach to the U.S., with the key being a friendly brand name. Aside from the odd-sounding name (to American eyes and ears, at least), Ssangyong looks to leave behind the battle torn image of the past,  and exude a quality product.

Ssangyong’s President and CEO Yoo-il Lee has set high goals for 2016, and the U.S. market is a must if they intend to meet them, with a target of 300,000 vehicles by 2016.

But that’s about where the announced plan stops. As mentioned, with last year’s sales hovering  just below 150,000, the “Promise 2016″ plan intends to double that in a scant two years. With no product ready for U.S. emissions and safety and no dealer network, it’s a lofty goal. US dealers are still wary after Mahindra’s ongoing failure to bring their diesel pick to the US by 2010, and we’ll be impressed if Ssangyong can enter the U.S. market by their 2016 sales goal.

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Junkyard Find: 2001 Hyundai XG300 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-2001-hyundai-xg300/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-2001-hyundai-xg300/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=737545 I 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— […]

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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).
17 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe XG was a Hyundai Grandeur, which started life as a rebadged Mitsubishi Debonair but had become an all-Hyundai machine by the time of the XG. Not a bad-looking car at all, but American car shoppers didn’t have a good reason to buy it.

Perhaps some Korean-style TV ads might have boosted sales on this side of the Pacific.

It would have been hard to replicate the macho-yet-restrained voiceovers that make Korean car ads so great, though.
07 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlus, there was the fact that you could buy an Infiniti or Lexus with a V8 and rear-wheel-drive, or even a Cadillac with a front-drive V8. The 189-horse Sigma V6 failed to impress American car shoppers.
03 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve never been inside a moving XG, but Hyundai was building pretty good cars by the dawn of the current century (in amazingly stark contrast to the car that made the Yugo GV seem reliable barely a decade earlier) and I’ll bet these cars were very comfortable and held together well for the price.
05 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow much? The MSRP on the base XG300 was $23,499 (about 31 grand in 2013 bucks), which was less than half that of the $48,895 Infiniti Q45. Sure, a fairer comparison would be with the Camry-based, front-wheel-drive/V6-powered Lexus ES300… which had a $31,505 price tag in 2001.
01 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou’ll find one in every car, kid. You’ll see.

01 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 2001 Hyundai XG300 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Is This The New Hyundai Genesis? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/is-this-the-new-hyundai-genesis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/is-this-the-new-hyundai-genesis/#comments Fri, 18 Oct 2013 16:52:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=627130 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. If the new car was rather Mercedes-esque in its choice of borrowed styling cues, the new car is a curious mix of […]

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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.

If the new car was rather Mercedes-esque in its choice of borrowed styling cues, the new car is a curious mix of elements from both Japan and Germany. There is a vague Audi A7 resemblence, while the Hoffmeister kink is distinctly BMW. But the car could easily be some kind of new Infiniti derivative, especially the front, which looks like the model formerly known as the Infiniti M. No word on powertrains, but this one will have AWD for the first time.

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QOTD: Is Hyundai Growing Too Fast? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/qotd-is-hyundai-growing-too-fast/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/qotd-is-hyundai-growing-too-fast/#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2013 17:46:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=484247 A Reuters article on Hyundai’s recent quality problems raises an interesting question. Has the company grown too fast following an unprecedented image makeover? Reuters quotes a Korean professor of automotive engineering discussing Hyundai’s recent quality issues “Hyundai has built factories very fast around the globe until recent years, but its quality improvement has failed to keep […]

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

Reuters quotes a Korean professor of automotive engineering discussing Hyundai’s recent quality issues

“Hyundai has built factories very fast around the globe until recent years, but its quality improvement has failed to keep up with its rapid volume growth,” said Kim Phill-soo, a professor at Department of Automotive Engineering at Daelim University College in Seoul. “The latest recall highlighted loopholes in Hyundai’s quality system.”

The most recent recall, which involves a brake lamp switch, affects 1.9 million vehicles in the United States alone, according to Reuters. There have been other recalls as well, including rusty subframes and self-deploying airbags. Despite these problems, Hyundai has managed to ride a wave of goodwill on the strength of their products and their image turnaround. Hyundai has become an underdog company that people are willing to root for, and the recent fuel economy snafu, that ended up becoming a non-event for many people, is strong evidence of how effective they are at managing their PR affairs.

On the one hand, I have to wonder if the latest recall is a result of the increasing standardization of auto parts. The nature of this phenomenon suggests that when parts fail, the failure can cascade across mass quantities of vehicles, resulting in the mega recalls we’ve seen over the past few years. With the implementation of modular architectures and further standardization, the potential for these mega recalls only increases. Just wait till Volkswagen’s MQB cars suffer their first recall for a look at the “new normal” of recalls will be.

But that shouldn’t discourage us from asking if there may be underlying quality issues at Hyundai. Jack Baruth noted that the Elantra he rented last year looked a little worse for wear compared to other cars of a similar vintage – though notably, the car’s fuel economy did meet his expectations.

Lacking the requisite manufacturing and engineering knowledge, I’ll put this one to the B&B, rather than submitting my theory as a definitive answer. Have at it.

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Hyundai Brass Hungry For Quality, Rank-And-File Seek Quantity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/hyundai-brass-hungry-for-quality-rank-and-file-seek-quantity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/hyundai-brass-hungry-for-quality-rank-and-file-seek-quantity/#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2012 18:28:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=466647 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? A report by Reuters claims that Hyundai is doing just that, with a focus on quality rather than simply cranking […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

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?

A report by Reuters claims that Hyundai is doing just that, with a focus on quality rather than simply cranking out car after car.

“Our operations all over the world are calling for more cars. Executives tell the chairman that capacity should be expanded because they have to sell more cars,” a senior Hyundai executive in Seoul told Reuters.

“But the chairman says, ‘What are you talking about? We have enough capacity. What we need now is stability’,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Part of it stems from Hyundai’s desire to emulate Samsung. Once a premium brand, it is now seen as a legitimate rival to Apple in the top-tier category of consumer electronics. Hyundai is also apparently keen on avoiding some of the same mistakes made by its rivals as well.

“[This mandate is also] motivated by the chairman’s effort to keep Hyundai from making the mistake Toyota made”, another source said, referring to a perception that the Japanese automaker lost control of engineering discipline and manufacturing quality during the 2000s, as it expanded too aggressively and its global capacity climbed well above 8 million vehicles a year.”

Some analysts question whether the attempt at moving upwards will benefit Hyundai’s positioning in Europe at the expense of developing markets like India, where volume and low-cost cars are more important. A new facility in Indonesia, expected to be the next big market (and one that Toyota is betting on heavily) was scrapped due to the decree against over-expansion. But as we know from Volkswagen’s attempt at taking on luxury brands with the Phaeton, moving upwards in the eyes of consumers is very difficult. Better to move downwards when necessary.

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France Wants EU To Probe Increased South Korean Auto Imports http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/france-wants-eu-to-probe-increased-south-korean-auto-imports/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/france-wants-eu-to-probe-increased-south-korean-auto-imports/#comments Sun, 05 Aug 2012 15:47:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=455517 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. The AFP reports that the request, made by Arnaud Montebourg, France’s Minister for Industrial Recovery “…is being made under the terms of […]

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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.

The AFP reports that the request, made by Arnaud Montebourg, France’s Minister for Industrial Recovery

“…is being made under the terms of an EU-South Korea free trade agreement which allows for safeguard measures to be implemented in response to a sudden spike in imports in certain “sensitive” sectors. Montebourg said France was justified in asking for the move after registering a 50 percent increase in South Korean car imports in January and February of this year. The monitoring process will require importers to seek prior authorisation from the Commission before bringing any cars into France, he added.”

The rhetoric regarding the “dumping” of South Korean cars has been heating up slowly; sales of domestic brands like Renault, Peugeot and Citroen have been in the dumps, while “low-cost” brands like Dacia, as well as Hyundai and Kia, have been doing well, with sales in Europe increasing while everyone else is sliding backwards. In a poor economy, the low-end and the high-end retain their position, but the middle is always hollowed out. The backlash against Korean cars isn’t exclusive to France either – the country seems to be a favorite scapegoat whenever uncompetitive vehicles or labor unions are suffering.

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Kia Plans The Cee’ds For The Next Forte http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/kia-plans-the-ceeds-for-the-next-forte/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/kia-plans-the-ceeds-for-the-next-forte/#comments Sun, 29 Jul 2012 19:56:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=454677 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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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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Kia K9 Spotted In California: Does That Mean U.S. Sales? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/kia-k9-spotted-in-california-does-that-mean-u-s-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/kia-k9-spotted-in-california-does-that-mean-u-s-sales/#comments Fri, 18 May 2012 12:55:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445036 Automotive News posted a picture of a Kia K9 luxury sedan wearing manufacturer plates on the road near Orange County, California. Does that mean we’re due to get the K9 any time soon? Once upon a time, my father worked for Kia Canada, and the company’s head office had a frequent rotation of Korean market […]

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Automotive News posted a picture of a Kia K9 luxury sedan wearing manufacturer plates on the road near Orange County, California. Does that mean we’re due to get the K9 any time soon?

Once upon a time, my father worked for Kia Canada, and the company’s head office had a frequent rotation of Korean market cars sent over for evaluation. Some, like the Carens, made it over under a different name, while others, like the Enterprise, were merely showpieces for what Kia could do with a re-skinned, decade old Mazda platform. Nevertheless, I wanted an Enterprise, complete with back massagers and headrest mounted TV screens.

The K9 could very well make it here, depending on Kia’s push to bring themselves upmarket. It would need a new name, lest it evoke visions of Iams pet food and invasive, racially motivated vehicle searches. Unfortunately, a piece of forbidden fruit wearing Manufacturer plates is not always a reliable indicator of future product plans.

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Kia Sedona Takes A “Time Out”, Returning To Minivan Market In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/kia-sedona-takes-a-time-out-returning-to-minivan-market-in-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/kia-sedona-takes-a-time-out-returning-to-minivan-market-in-2014/#comments Tue, 08 May 2012 15:22:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=443481 The Kia Sedona is practically a fossil from a previous geological era compared to its American and Japanese competition – and for 2013, the aging Sedona will finally die off. But that doesn’t mean Kia is abandoning the minivan market. According to Kia, the Sedona will die in 2013, but the 2014 model year will […]

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The Kia Sedona is practically a fossil from a previous geological era compared to its American and Japanese competition – and for 2013, the aging Sedona will finally die off. But that doesn’t mean Kia is abandoning the minivan market.

According to Kia, the Sedona will die in 2013, but the 2014 model year will bring about a new minivan from Kia, which wants to keep a dog in a fight that was abandoned by parent company Hyundai, which sold their Entourage minivan for a brief period in the 2000’s. Hopefully the new car rides on a much newer platform and shares styling and components with the new Kia Optima. The current Sedona is a holdout from the days when you bought a Kia because of poor credit, rather than out of your own free will.

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Pour One Out For The Hyundai Veracruz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/pour-one-out-for-the-hyundai-veracruz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/pour-one-out-for-the-hyundai-veracruz/#comments Thu, 05 Apr 2012 18:24:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=438612 The Hyundai Veracruz is no more. Hyundai’s oft-ignored big crossover will depart from the marketplace later this year, with the addition of a three-row 2013 Santa Fe. A three-row version of the previous Santa Fe was offered for a short time, but the third row compromised cargo space and offered minimal space for its occupants. […]

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The Hyundai Veracruz is no more. Hyundai’s oft-ignored big crossover will depart from the marketplace later this year, with the addition of a three-row 2013 Santa Fe. A three-row version of the previous Santa Fe was offered for a short time, but the third row compromised cargo space and offered minimal space for its occupants. The previous Santa Fe had a long life, perhaps too long. The new car should rectify the fact that the current model lagged far behind the level of overall quality and engineering that exists in current Hyundais.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Rendered http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/2013-hyundai-santa-fe-rendered/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/2013-hyundai-santa-fe-rendered/#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2012 15:31:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=434682 Hyundai’s Santa Fe crossover is long overdue for a re-design, and when pressed for details, all that CEO John Krafcik would tell me was that it looked like a larger Tucson. He was right. The new car uses an evolution of Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design language, now dubbed “Storm Edge”. At least the first name […]

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Hyundai’s Santa Fe crossover is long overdue for a re-design, and when pressed for details, all that CEO John Krafcik would tell me was that it looked like a larger Tucson. He was right.

The new car uses an evolution of Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design language, now dubbed “Storm Edge”. At least the first name made some kind of sense. “Storm Edge” sounds like an ill-fated mission to kill Bin Laden. The Santa Fe appears to be a two-row crossover (after the optional third row was canned in 2009). Powertrain details remain murky – when asked, Krafcik said that “we’re saving the rest for the NY show…”, so you’ll have to wait another few weeks to find out more.

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Kia KH Heralds The Start Of The “Monkfish Age” In Automotive Design http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/kia-kh-heralds-the-start-of-the-monkfish-age-in-automotive-design/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/kia-kh-heralds-the-start-of-the-monkfish-age-in-automotive-design/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 16:36:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=433169 When the Chrysler Concorde and Chevrolet Camaro underwent redesigns in the late-1990s, automotive critics lamented the start of the “catfish” era in car design. The Kia KH is moving forward with the aquatic-creature theme, sporting a snout that resembles a monkfish, an even uglier sea-being. Kia will debut their new luxury sedan at the Geneva […]

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When the Chrysler Concorde and Chevrolet Camaro underwent redesigns in the late-1990s, automotive critics lamented the start of the “catfish” era in car design. The Kia KH is moving forward with the aquatic-creature theme, sporting a snout that resembles a monkfish, an even uglier sea-being.

Kia will debut their new luxury sedan at the Geneva Auto Show in March, but apparently won’t sell the car in Europe. It’s unclear whether the car will be sized closer to the Hyundai Genesis or Equus. The KH will not be the name of the car either – Kia is apparently crowdsourcing the name of the car via Facebook. Troll away.

kiakh3 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Kia KH Concept. Photo courtesy Kia kiakh kiakh2

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Kia K9 Rear Drive Sedan Spied In South Korea http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/kia-k9-rear-drive-sedan-spied-in-south-korea/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/kia-k9-rear-drive-sedan-spied-in-south-korea/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 18:49:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=433034 This is the Kia K9, Kia’s first rear-drive flagship for North America. Kia has previously sold a rebadged Mazda 929 in Korea but those days are mercifully over. Someone in South Korea took a couple videos of the K9 driving along a highway. You can peruse them for yourself below. The K9 will probably shed […]

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This is the Kia K9, Kia’s first rear-drive flagship for North America. Kia has previously sold a rebadged Mazda 929 in Korea but those days are mercifully over.

Someone in South Korea took a couple videos of the K9 driving along a highway. You can peruse them for yourself below. The K9 will probably shed its alphanumeric moniker when it arrives in 2013.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

 

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Capsule Review: 2012 Hyundai Azera http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/capsule-review-2012-hyundai-azera/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/capsule-review-2012-hyundai-azera/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 16:57:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432868 Hyundai’s press materials list the 2012 Azera’s competitors as “…traditional large sedan sales leaders such as Maxima, Lacrosse, Avalon and Taurus.” But those cars were on the minds of exactly no one at the Las Vegas launch of the 2012 Azera. Only the Lexus ES350, the market’s leading 4-wheeled sensory deprivation tank, was on the […]

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Hyundai’s press materials list the 2012 Azera’s competitors as “…traditional large sedan sales leaders such as Maxima, Lacrosse, Avalon and Taurus.” But those cars were on the minds of exactly no one at the Las Vegas launch of the 2012 Azera. Only the Lexus ES350, the market’s leading 4-wheeled sensory deprivation tank, was on the lips of the assembled journos when talking about the Azera’s competition. Hyundai didn’t give us much time with the car, but one thing was clear.

The Azera is still not a match for the Lexus ES350. To be sure, the Azera is competitive with the “Big Four” full-size sedans mentioned above. But a loaded Azera, at $36,825, is only $775 less than the base price of a Lexus ES350. Hyundai can compare this car to the Taurus and Lacrosse as much as they want, but the public at large, looking superficially at the pricing structure (base price is $32,825, including destination. The Technology package, the car’s sole option, commands a $4,000 premium), and Hyundai’s newly minted premium image, will inevitably compare this car to the big front-drive Lexus.

When they do, they are going to be disappointed. The Lexus cabin is as quiet as Yankee Stadium was when Lou Gherig gave his final address. At 80 mph, the Azera lets in a staggering amount of wind noise, and dropping down to the double nickel only remedies this slightly. The Azera’s wind noise issue left the biggest impression on me, overshadowing all of the car’s other attributes – not a good sign in a segment that privileges isolation from the road above almost everything else. The interior, while more modern looking than the Lexus, isn’t a match for the ES350’s cabin, which is a superlative experience, “rebadged Camry” comments be damned. The quality of the Azera’s materials still feels a grade below the Lexus – eyeing the slightly wonky fit of one interior panel, my driving partner noted that when it comes to the ES “this is what you don’t get with that extra few grand you spend”.

It was difficult to glean any serious driving impressions of the Azera. We drove it on the exact same pin-straight, baby-bottom-smooth Nevada highways that we did with the Genesis Coupe. And that was it. One Hyundai PR rep asked me if I was even going to write about the Azera, offering me the chance to drive a Genesis Coupe 2.0T on the way back. Hyundai CEO John Krafcik, who rode in the back seat while I drove home from the track, wouldn’t even give me a firm sales number for the car – in fact there was no quantitative number mentioned whatsoever. Apparently, allocation for the United States depends on sales of the Azera in South Korea – a market where the car has always done well – but this hardly seems like a vote of confidence for the Azera’s prospects over here. My 45 minute drive under ideal road and weather conditions was not adequate to get a real sense of the car.

In its home market of Korea, the Hyundai Grandeur (as it’s known) has traditionally been something of a status symbol, driven by politicians, business leaders and other members of Korea’s elite. In America, the car has always been something of an oddity, whether it was sold as the gaudy, baroque XG350 or the previous generation Azera, an elegant if underwhelming sedan that made a great rental car. The lack of any confidence in a public sales target, let alone any serious seat time for us journalists, suggests that Hyundai has low expectations for this car, and that it will remain an oddity that consumers overlook in favor of the cheaper Sonata or the flashier Genesis.

The Azera is a nice car, even if it’s priced a bit too close to the Lexus ES. On the other hand, it’s priced smack dab in the middle of the Maxima, Lacrosse, Avalon and Taurus, and has a number of distinct advantages over the competition; it lacks the annoying MyFordTouch system of the Taurus, is a more civilized car than the Maxima, is more engaging to drive than the Lacrosse and the Avalon and gets better fuel economy than any of them; 20/29 mpg with a combined rating of 23 mpg from its 293-horsepower 3.3L V6 engine. Positioned as the next step up from a Sonata (which can only be ordered with a 4-cylinder engine), Hyundai justifies the $32,000 starting price by claiming that the 2012 Azera comes with far more standard equipment than the outgoing model’s top trim level. The Azera has lots of content; Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics system, a 7-inch LCD screen, navigation, a rear-view camera and heated seats front and rear are all standard. The Technology package adds a full-length glass sunroof, parking sensors, a power tilt and telescoping wheel, 19” wheels and rear sunshades among other items.

While Hyundai had a media blitz for the Azera at this past weekend’s Academy Awards (and a media driving impressions embargo that lifted immediately afterwards), their sales strategy seems unusually tepid for a normally aggressive company. Initial impressions of the car seem to align with our usual take on Hyundai vehicles – a solid value choice, better than most of the field but not quite a segment leader. It’s possible that with South Korea taking much of the volume, Hyundai can move a relatively small number of Azeras  Stateside without having to worry about big sales volumes – or dumping their inventory into fleets, where nearly half of full-size cars end up.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail 2012 Hyundai Azera. Photo courtesy Derek Kreindler. Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch Hyundai Las Vegas Media Launch 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera 2012 Hyundai Azera

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Hyundai Offering Big Incentives On Genesis And Equus Sedans – But Only To Livery Car Operators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/hyundai-offering-big-incentives-on-genesis-and-equus-sedans-but-only-to-livery-car-operators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/hyundai-offering-big-incentives-on-genesis-and-equus-sedans-but-only-to-livery-car-operators/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2012 21:46:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432648 If you want a $3,500 discount off of a Hyundai Genesis, or $4,500 off a Hyundai Equus, you can get one – but only if you operate a livery car service. Hyundai is putting a lot of cash on the hood for their two luxury sedans, as they hope to capture some market share left […]

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If you want a $3,500 discount off of a Hyundai Genesis, or $4,500 off a Hyundai Equus, you can get one – but only if you operate a livery car service. Hyundai is putting a lot of cash on the hood for their two luxury sedans, as they hope to capture some market share left by the cancellation of the Lincoln Town Car, America’s favorite “black car”.

Hyundai has been promoting the Genesis (base MSRP, $35,075) and the Equus  ($59,690) at trade shows and in trade publications. While no body-on-frame sedan such as the Town Car is offered any longer, the Genesis and Equus have rear-drive layouts and can be ordered with V8 engines. Their domestic competitors, the Lincoln MKT crossover and Cadillac XTS, are based on front-drive platforms and come only with V6 engines. The Equus Ultimate that was reviewed by TTAC would make a great limousine, mostly because it’s much better to be driven in an Equus rather than actually drive it. Hyundai offers a factory stretched Equus in South Korea (above) as well as an armored version.

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Kia Procee’ds With New Cee’d. Puns Are Not Our Forte. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/kia-proceeds-with-new-ceed-puns-are-not-our-forte/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/kia-proceeds-with-new-ceed-puns-are-not-our-forte/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2012 22:04:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=431045 The new Kia Cee’d may have a stupid name, but everything else about the car looks pretty attractive. Well, maybe not the grille. They also refrained from releasing any specs at all alongside these photos, so you’ll have to wait until March’s Auto Show to get the scoop. The Forte is a little dated by […]

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The new Kia Cee’d may have a stupid name, but everything else about the car looks pretty attractive. Well, maybe not the grille. They also refrained from releasing any specs at all alongside these photos, so you’ll have to wait until March’s Auto Show to get the scoop. The Forte is a little dated by now, to the point where it’s hard to justify buying one over a Rio, let alone an Elantra – how about it, Kia?

Press release and gallery below

 

012012kiaceedoff Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail 2013 Kia Cee'd. Photo courtesy Kia. 022012kiaceedoff 032012kiaceedoff 042012kiaceedoff

 

 

 

(15/02/12) — Kia’s all-European cee’d stunned audiences when it was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show just six years ago and at Geneva this year the all-new version is set to repeat that feat thanks to its elegant lines – heralding an even more successful future for the company’s bed-rock C-segment model.

Combining dynamic, sophisticated styling with maturity and prestige, the all-new cee’d five-door hatchback the new cee’d is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, with the same long wheelbase. The elegant simplicity of its coupe-like proportions is emphasised by a steeply raked A-pillar, a very low belt-line in the front and lengthened side windows.

The front of the new cee’d is dominated by the latest interpretation of Kia’s trademark ‘tiger-nose’ grille and aggressive, wraparound headlamp clusters housing signature LED daytime running lights.

Wide track and solid stance
In profile the pronounced front and rear wings emphasise the car’s wide track and solid stance whilst above the taut, strongly sculpted door surfaces, the steeply raked A-pillar, sweeping roofline and integral rear spoiler accentuate the sporting aesthetics of the new model’s generous glasshouse.

The entire exterior is accented by numerous small yet highly significant detail touches which add to the prestige and premium feel of the new cee’d without detracting from the purity and elegance of the overall design.

These include a new, bolder, more sophisticated Kia badge, the indicator blade protrusion in the front headlamps, the Kia-signature windscreen head castellations, the chrome side glazing surround and the cee’d-unique, aerodynamic shaping of the tail lamp which extends into the adjacent bodywork.

New premium interior
The new cee’d features a completely new interior hallmarked by a more premium look and feel, higher perceived quality, improved switchgear, touch-screen technology and enhanced driving position ergonomics.

The dashboard layout features a cockpit-like design with an aircraft-themed, driver-oriented fascia. The main control panel wraps around the steering wheel, placing all switchgear within easy reach of the driver, and the main control groups such as audio and air-conditioning have been segregated to bring a more premium, luxurious, big car feel to the interior.

Carefully considered precision detailing gives the cabin a more prestigious look and feel than that of the current generation model. Soft touch materials add a new tactility to the driving environment. Instruments and switchgear are picked out in very thin chrome, the door handles are built up in a layered sandwich of high quality materials and the door opener itself has a sculpted, one-piece, shell-like quality reflecting the premium values of the new interior design.

 

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SsangYong Shows Some LUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/ssangyong-shows-some-luv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/ssangyong-shows-some-luv/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 21:15:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=426281 The Chevrolet LUV may have been one of the dorkier car names in the annals of automotive history, but it’s arguably better than the moniker of its Japanese counterpart, the Isuzu Faster. Korean car maker SsangYong’s new truck, the Korando Sports, is being dubbed the “Leisure Utility Vehicle”, and if parent company Mahindra can get […]

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The Chevrolet LUV may have been one of the dorkier car names in the annals of automotive history, but it’s arguably better than the moniker of its Japanese counterpart, the Isuzu Faster. Korean car maker SsangYong’s new truck, the Korando Sports, is being dubbed the “Leisure Utility Vehicle”, and if parent company Mahindra can get their act together, the USA stands a chance of getting some LUV in the future.

Before it was bought by Mahindra, SsangYong used to pilfer Mercedes mechanical bits and make the world’s ugliest cars. SsangYong was bought out by Mahindra in February, 2011 and a deal to import CKD kits from India went tits up in early 2011. The CKD deal was supposed to help Mahindra get around the “chicken tax”, and was then followed by rumors of an agreement with Navistar to build trucks at an Alabama facility. That also died on the vine. We haven’t heard any further rumors about Mahindra attempting yet again to break into the U.S. market, but the LUV, goofy name and all, may not be a bad first attempt.

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NAIAS Preview: Hyundai Veloster Turbo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/naias-preview-hyundai-veloster/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/naias-preview-hyundai-veloster/#comments Mon, 09 Jan 2012 00:41:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=424813 Despite constant denials during the press event attended by Ed and I (“If you want a Veloster Turbo,” Hyundai’s John Krafcik said, “go buy a Genesis Coupe,”) Hyundai will debut a turbocharged version of their Veloster coupe at the Detroit Auto Show. The lack of power may have been a demerit for the original car, […]

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Despite constant denials during the press event attended by Ed and I (“If you want a Veloster Turbo,” Hyundai’s John Krafcik said, “go buy a Genesis Coupe,”) Hyundai will debut a turbocharged version of their Veloster coupe at the Detroit Auto Show.

The lack of power may have been a demerit for the original car, and Hyundai has remedied that with a 201 horsepower 1.6L turbocharged engine making 195 lb-ft of torque. But weight is up from 2,584lbs to a supposed 2,800lbs – can the turbo and its associated hardware really weight over 200 lbs? Fuel economy is said to come in at 27/38 mpg, better than the Mini Cooper S and its 27/35 rating, which is likely attributable to a very tall 6th gear – or the awful dual clutch option being tuned for fuel economy rather than performance, just like on the standard car.

Other details haven’t been released, but expect them soon once the embargo lifts (one that we weren’t privy to).

 

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