Better Fuel Efficiency For Less Money?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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4 of 19 comments
  • John Horner John Horner on Nov 24, 2008

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

  • Mhardgrove Mhardgrove on Nov 25, 2008

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

  • Jerry weber Jerry weber on Nov 25, 2008

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

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Nov 25, 2008

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