The website for midwives the voice of union activists Labornotes reports that a South Korean Hyundai Motor worker set himself afire Sunday after management refused his request to slow down the line. The 44-year-old unionist, Shin Sung-hun, is in critical condition. According to the site, Shin poured paint thinner over and set fire to himself .
Jack has already e xpressed his displeasure with the Evoque being named winning another Truck of the Year, but his blood pressure won’t be rising just yet. The Evoque, along with the Hyundai Elantra, just took home the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.
In our whirlwind journey across the planet, over the past couple of weeks we stopped in South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Caledonia and Iceland. This week I will make it easy for you and will cover the entire world all at once…
Yes it is possible.
Now if this is way too much for you to absorb, that’s ok too because I have sales info for 160 countries for you to visit in my blog, all one by one. So don’t be shy and click away!
Back to the world.
Forbes has recently released its estimated list of the world’s best-selling models in 2011. As I spend my time counting cars all around the globe I’m sure you can imagine how hard it was for me to mask my excitement when I discovered that list…
There are a few things in their list that I am not too sure about…so follow me please over the jump.
Editor’s note: be aware that the images are extremely large, in order to show off TTAC’s rare opportunity for amazing photo shoot locations.
What makes a flagship? It’s a question that gets to the heart of one’s philosophy as a car reviewer, and no better example exists to explore the issue than Hyundai. Here in the US, Hyundai’s unquestionable flagships are the large, rear-drive Genesis and Equus, well-equipped traditional luxury bruisers at a value price. And though these plush-but-understated cars sell well enough in these economically uncertain times (and they certainly help Hyundai embarrass the likes of Cadillac, which still lacks a true, large, rear-drive flagship barge), they don’t completely fit with the brand values that Hyundai has ridden to prominence across the globe. They’re not wildly efficient, they lack Hyundai’s dramatic “fluidic sculpture” design language, and they’re dreadfully conventional in light of Hyundai’s professed mission to promote “New Thinking, New Possibilities” in the automotive space. Indeed, they’re almost the last throwbacks to Hyundai’s old image of slightly stodgy cars that simply beat the competition hollow on value.
But if we look past the undeniable market logic to offering the Genesis and Equus in the US, it becomes clear that Hyundai has another flagship that almost perfectly captures the reasons the Korean brand has become such a force in the global car business in recent years. Though it might not be the right flagship for the US market, the Hyundai i40cw is far closer to representing the platonic ideal of Hyundai’s brand than any other car the brand offers. And as such it’s also just a damn good car.
Yes, many cars to do not meet their EPA ratings. But few are as far off as the Elantra… In your Elantra advertising, you prominently feature only your “40 mpg” claim. Yet the dismal independent test and real-world results for your city and combined mileage claims mean buyers are unable to make accurate comparisons. This is in effect a deception, and one we ask you to discontinue in your advertising while awaiting a welcome EPA re-evaluation.
This letter, sent to Hyundai USA CEO John Krafcik yesterday by “Consumer Watchdog”, doesn’t mince words. It does, however, raise two questions:
1) What exactly is “Consumer Watchdog”?
2) Does the organization have a valid point?
Hyundai has a new and extremely successful spokesman. He is well-known, he can speak about cars with more authority than a football player. Best of all: He works pro bono. It is Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn. With a low-cost video, Winterkorn catapulted Hyundai’s image to formerly unknown heights.
The German magazine Wirtschaftswoche reports that the image of Hyundai took a leap a few days after Martin Winterkorn walked over to the Hyundai stand at the Frankfurt motor show and praised the non-rattling steering column.
At the beginning of this year, the United Auto Workers pledged that it would launch a campaign to organize the foreign-owned, non-union “transplant” factories in the US, threatening to tar uncooperative automakers as “human right abusers.” The campaign initially lost steam, but the UAW stuck to its pledge, re-iterating on several occasions that it would organize “at least one” transplant factory by the end of 2011. With one month left to accomplish that goal and no signs of progress in sight, the UAW has officially called off that goal. In fact, the UAW now hopes to simply pick an automaker to target by the end of 2011. Spokeswoman Michelle Martin tells Bloomberg
At this point, our hope is to make a decision about who we’re going to target by the end of the year. But obviously, we won’t have the organizing campaign completed by the end of the year.
This is not too surprising, considering the UAW announced last week that it would be focusing on dealership pickets initially rather than factory organizing. And sure enough, the first dealership picket has begun, targeting Hyundai dealerships. And yet, says Martin
This has nothing to do with the domestic organizing campaign. Hyundai is not the target.
Huh? If the UAW is not committing to organizing Hyundai’s assembly workers, why picket Hyundai dealerships?
Hyundai, which has a flourishing and fast-growing joint venture with Beijing’s BAIC, is jumping on the bandwagon of fake Chinese brands. Probably not on Hyundai’s own volition, and probably with a lot of gentle urging by the Chinese government which thinks that the answer to China’s cluttered market is brands, brands, and more brands.
Carnewschina has it that the new brand of the Hyundai/BAIC JV will be called “Shouwang.”
The Japanese are always worried about what the North Koreans have up their sleeve, but if the writing on the wall were legible, they would be more concerned about what’s going on in the south. If the 2009 Hyundai Genesis was a shot across the bow of Lexus and Infiniti, then the Genesis 5.0 R-spec may be a torpedo hit below the water, and speaking of which, even the Germans should take notice. Of course, we heard this before with the likes of the VW Phaeton, however that model tanked, so is the top-line Genesis biting off more than it can chew? Lets find out.
On the way to TTAC’s Southern Tour, I filled some of the gaps in my automotive history by reading Car Wars by Robert Sobel. Written in the same year that Nissan opened its first US plant, a sprawling complex in Smyrna, Car Wars documents the early years of the Detroit-Import wars, starting with the Beetle and ending with the rise of the transplant factories. The book is full of lessons, but its most rattling reminders was that Nissan was the major Japanese automaker during the early days of the Japanese industry. Nearly thirty years after Car Wars was written, Nissan often gets lost in Honda and Toyota’s shadow when it comes to perceptions of the Japanese OEMs. And lately Nissan has fallen off more than a few radar screens for the simple fact that its key products are aging: Sentra, Maxima and Altima were introduced for the 2007 model-year, while Rogue is just a year younger. Together these four models account for over half of Nissan’s monthly volume… and yet despite this aged core lineup, Nissan’s sales (as a brand) are up over 17 percent year-to-date, maintaining the brand’s consistent growth.
Here’s another one for the “Whatever Happened To…” file: the Hyundai Scoupe. I’m in Southern California for a couple of days, prior to heading north with Judge Jonny to judge at the Skankaway Anti-Toe-Fungal 500, and decided to visit one of the junkyards that provided many of the parts for the ’65 Impala Hell Project. Right away, I find a car I’d forgotten even existed.
The author’s expectations play a large but rarely disclosed role in any auto review. Expect a car to be awful, and it turns out to be adequate? Then the review might even seem positive. On the other hand, if reviewers buy into the hype surrounding an upcoming model, and it turns out to be only pretty good, then the reviews can turn ugly. No one wants to be sold a bill of goods. I approached the Hyundai Veloster with different expectations than most of the automotive press.
So, what’s your checklist? If you read this site regularly, you have one: the characteristics of your ideal next car. Perhaps more than one, if you have the need or desire for more than one type of car. One of my checklists concerns my ideal compact hatch. The latest contestant: the 2012 Hyundai Accent SE.
Hyundai and Kia are technically separate companies, with Hyundai owning less than 50% of its junior partner. But as the two major divisions of the Hyundai-Kia Motor Group, the two firms share resources and align their strategies through carefully-maintained relationships in the classic Korean chaebol (conglomerate) fashion. Hyundai has long been the senior partner in the relationship, getting the newest technologies and the most expensive new cars. But in both Korea and abroad, Kia is beginning to catch up with its big brother, raising questions about the future shape of its delicate relationship. Together, Hyundai and Kia enjoy a dominant position in Korea, earning 45.2% and 33.2% of the overall Korean market in 2010 (including commercial vehicles). But if you just look at sedans and SUVs, the Korea Herald reports that their 2010 market share numbers are much closer: 39.6% and 35/7% respectively, and converging
Hyundai Motor Group is focusing on the possibility that Kia will catch up with Hyundai within one year in terms of monthly market share ― for sales of sedans and sport utility vehicles ― domestically for the first time…
The gap for sales of sedans and SUVs have continued to narrow ― 22.9 percentage points in 2007, 17 percentage points in 2008, 15.4 percentage points in 2009 and 3.9 percentage points in 2010.
And this fresh-brewed sibling rivalry isn’t just about Korea: around the world, Kia is catching up. And this shifting relationship is shaking things up at the highest levels of the group’s leadership.
No? OK fine, if you don’t want to go there, I’ve prepared 155 other countries for you to visit in my blog, and I can tell you it is muy bien, so click away!
The interesting thing about car sales in Panama is the way Hyundai is progressively establishing itself as the ‘go-to’ brand there, with 3 models in the Top 4 so far this year…
It’s strange: When you talk to the big manufacturers in Japan, then they are worried by benchmarking Volkswagen and Hyundai. GM never comes up. When you talk to Bob Lutz, who has been re-hired as a part-time consultant to GM executives, then he is worried by benchmarking Volkswagen and Hyundai. Toyota never comes up. Bob Lutz thinks the Japanese have lost it. Germany’s Manager Magazin disturbed Lutz’s Swiss vacation with an interview, and Lutz, always good for explosive quotes, did not disappoint:
It probably won’t help Herr Dr Martin Winterkorn’s indigestion any, but Automotive News [sub] reports that Hyundai Motor Group (the technical umbrella firm that supplies technology to both Hyundai and Kia) is developing a new 10-speed automatic transmission, which
will be for luxury models starting in 2014, possibly including the Hyundai Genesis and Equus luxury sedans.
Hyundai debuted an eight-speed autobox over a year ago, matching the industry standard for luxury cars. But with ZF announcing a new nine-speed box, Hyundai is taking things a step further… or is it a cog too far?
Recently a video surfaced from the Frankfurt Auto Show, depicting Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn puzzling over the remarkable quality of Hyundai’s latest Golf competitor, the European-market i30. But if Herr Professor Dr. Winterkorn seemed perturbed, and he certainly did, it wasn’t simply because of one car, even one aimed at the heart of his empire. The i30 is simply the latest in a string of strong Hyundai products that are rapidly erasing memories of the brand’s budget-basement roots. In an industry that likes to compare itself to the fashion business, Hyundai is hot. So much so, in fact, that TTAC readers are likely beginning to tire of hearing about it.
And when brands are hot, especially on the strength of their mass-market offerings, the next logical step is to build a halo car that reflects the values that made them so popular. But Hyundai’s unconventional positioning, selling everything from a $15,000 Accent to a $60,000 Equus, and its mandate to reflect “Different Thinking” mean a traditional halo car is out of the question. Enter the Veloster. Or, as Hyundai calls it, the “reverse halo car.”
At the Frankfurt Auto Show, when all the festivities and pageantry are over, it is customary to stroll through the booths, stands and halls of the competition to find out what they have. The real research is done by faceless drones that pose as journalists or customers. The drones must have brought back alarming intell to Halle 3, where Volkswagen holds court: “Ach du mein Lieber, Hyundai fielded a fearsome adversary to the Golf with the new i30.”
The whole white-haired Volkswagen board dropped their coffee cups and invaded the Hyundai display, led by Prof. Dr. Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen. Winterkorn himself sat behind the wheel of the i30. The former head of Quality Assurance was shocked:
Has any car company ever improved its products at the rate Hyundai has over the past decade? Ten years ago their idea of a flagship was the fusty, faux-wood-and-chrome-encrusted XG350 fitted with a then-new 3.5-liter V6 good for 194 horsepower and EPA ratings of 16 city / 24 highway. The 2006 Azera was a much more credible competitor…for the Toyota Avalon. Even with a new 263-horsepower V6, Hyundai still didn’t pretend to have a luxury sedan fit for driving enthusiasts. For 2012, they do, with the new Genesis 5.0 R-Spec. But, as far as they’ve come, are they there yet?
With GM, “Fiat Group” and Ford improving their sales volume by 16%, 23% and 9% respectively, Detroit is dominating the headlines in early August sales analysis. But Hyundai Group’s 29% is the big percentage winner, and Nissan had a good volume month as well, up 14%. But the “big two” Japanese are continuing to slide, with Honda off 6% and Toyota down 8%. Hit the jump for our developing table…
According to Germany’s usually well informed AUTO BILD, Korea’s Hyundai either did or still does cast longing eyes on struggling Opel. Opel is on Hyundai’s horizon, literally: Hyundai’s German tech center in Rüsselsheim is only a few miles away from Opel. “Hyundai is growing faster than any other automaker. They are desperately seeking new engineers at the Hyundai tech center,” writes AUTO BILD, “and the plant in Czech Nošovice cannot be expanded further. Opel with thousands of well trained engineers, precious EV know-how (Ampera) and underutilized plants would be a great fit.” And this is how the latest car-cliffhanger started …
Carmakers the world over are looking towards Korea where Hyundai reported sales results for June today. Hyundai’s global sales rose 12.3 percent to post a monthly record in June. Kia has not released official results yet, but Reuters says that “Kia’s June sales surged 22 percent.”
To bridge the time until Kia reports hard numbers for June, we did some spreadsheet acrobatics and arrived at the attached. The black numbers are hard reported numbers, the grey numbers are calculated. If Reuters’ 22 percent are correct, then the June table for Hyundai-Kia should look something like this:
Someone is really trying to shop around Opel. Or maybe it’s just a tactic to cow German unions into submission? Two weeks ago, Volkswagen and the inevitable Chinese were floated as possible buyers. What other bogeymen could there be? Ah, yes, the Koreans!
The heads of the European automobile industry are assembling in London for their annual European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association meeting. While they were there, they dropped in with UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron to talk a little politics. Norbert Reithofer of BMW, Sergio Marchionne of Fiat, Carlos Ghosn of Renault, Nick Reilly of GM Europe and their leader Dieter Zetsche, president of the association and chief of Daimler, asked for assistance with fair free trade with major economies such as India and Japan, government support for the swift introduction of breakthrough technologies and less bureaucracy through lean regulations. All noble goals. But the BBC found a fly in the ointment:
The Hyundai Accent has never been a “gotta have it” sort of car. Instead, it’s been a “what’s the cheapest thing you got?” sort of car. The 2011 started at just $9,985 (plus shipping and handling). That’s “started,” as in past tense, because the 2011 is history. The 2012, now arriving at dealers, starts at $12,445 plus $760 for destination. Add an automatic transmission, A/C, the $1,300 Premium Package (fog lights, cruise, remote keyless, Bluetooth, upgraded interior trim, 16” alloy wheels in place of 14” steelies), and floor mats, and you’re looking at a $17,350 sticker. Clearly Hyundai thinks they’ve developed a much more desirable car. Have they?
Assembly lines at South Korea’s Hyundai Kia ground to a halt this weekend after the companies ran out of a needed engine parts. Production of Hyundai’s Tucson ix, Santa Fe and Veracruz and Kia’s Carnival has stopped. On Wednesday, production of most of Hyundai’s and Kia’s cars will be affected unless the parts shortage is solved. The Korean units of GM and Renault will suffer, as well as Ssangyong. Do they all get their engines parts from Japan?
With VW wading into the budget roadster segment with its forthcoming BlueSport mid-engine roadster, it seems that Kia wants in on the action as well. Reports are surfacing in Europe and the US that the Korean automaker is making good on Peter Schreyer’s threats, and is developing its first roadster since it bought up the tooling and IP for Lotus’s front-drive Elan, which it sold in Korea between 1996 and 1999.
In late December, Ed Niedermeyer reported that Hyundai’s “Euro-market midsizer, known as the i40, will debut as a wagon at the Geneva Auto Show in March, with a sedan version coming later next year:” Ed was right: The sedan will be shown at the Barcelona Auto Salon, May 14 to 22. Hyundai is taking aim at a big target: Volkswagen.
You’re an old fart. Or at least you think like one. You want a simply designed car that’s easy to see out of, capable of toting a bunch of stuff, solidly constructed, and fun to drive. Meanwhile, cars keep going in the opposite direction, with sci-fi styling, shrunken windows, oversized and overcomplicated instrument panels, cramped rear seats, and marshmallow suspension tuning (e.g. the Honda Civic reviewed a few days ago). But before giving up hope you might want to check out the Hyundai Elantra Touring SE.
Hyundai updated its web-only “save the asterisks” video for the New York Auto Show, as it continues to highlight fuel economy as a key brand value. And the brand didn’t miss the opportunity to talk about future fuel-efficient products either, as InsideLine reports that Hyundai is promising two more vehicles rated at 40 MPG highway or above in the “next couple of years.” One is the Prius competitor, which was previewed with the Blue Will concept, and which appears to now be a dedicated hybrid-only model, after having been initially tipped as a plug-in hybrid. The other? Hyundai won’t say, but an exec does tell the Edmunds blog that
The strategy of further developing the internal-combustion engine, with significant increases in fuel economy, is where we see the market going
So, something non-hybrid… perhaps the i10 A-segment hatch that Hyundai USA recently let us drive? The Europe-only i40 wagon? What about the Euro-market ix20 subcompact MPV? Or are we waiting for something brand new?
Now that the economy is recovering and Hyundai has a new generation of more upscale offerings on its dealers’ lots, the automaker’s job-loss-protection program is going away, reports Automotive News [sub]. The one-year protection will be available on Hyundais purchased through the end of this month, but as sales boss Dave Zuchowski puts it
We actually see the elimination of the job-loss program as a sign of a recovering economy and we had never anticipated that this would be an enduring program. We welcome the day when it’s really no longer as relevant in the showroom or as required in the marketplace.
Hyundai and Kia are on a tear in the European market, having recently passed Toyota to become the best-selling Asian automaker in the EU (at 605,386 units, some 50k away from Daimler’s 2010 sales). And with its first Europe-centric product coming online, aimed at the heart of Europe’s 896k unit midsize segment, it hopes to keep the growth coming. In service of that goal, Hyundai is moving European production of its iX35 (Tucson) CUV from Kia’s plant in Zilina, Slovakia, to its own factory in Nosovice, Czech Republic, and adding an extra shift according to the WSJ. And unlike many of its European competitors, Hyundai is keeping its Euro-zone production capacity on the slim side, importing the forthcoming i40 from South Korea and the i10 from India, helping to keep the Korean automaker out of the overcapacity trap that plagues its competitors. Though Hyundai has good prospects for growth in Europe, production capacity expansions are being targeted at the developing markets that show more promise for growth.
Hyundai’s sales were up 22 percent last month, driven by huge growth for Sonata (13,261 units) and Elantra (9,659 units). But, rather than spend the whole press release [ PDF here] trumpeting sales data alone, Hyundai upped the transparency bar on its competitors by announcing it would
begin reporting monthly sales-weighted Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) results to provide journalists, policy-makers and consumers with additional data to promote more meaningful dialogue on the feasibility of future fuel efficiency targets for the industry…
For January 2011, Hyundai’s sales-weighted CAFE level was 34.7 miles per gallon, with a model year mix for the month of 86 percent 2011 and 14 percent 2010 model year vehicles. This is a significant increase from Hyundai’s most recent official CAFE level for the 2009 model year of 31.7 mpg.
By publishing both its fleet mix (12%) and CAFE average, Hyundai is proving that marketing is a million times easier when the facts fit the message. At 34.7 CAFE, Hyundai is a single MPG away from complying with the 35.5 MPG 2016 proposed CAFE standard, and just a whisker away from meeting its corporate commitment to meet 35 MPG fleet by 2015. Which is all fine and dandy, but as a blog that’s forever digging for obscure information about the car industry, we’re even more excited about Hyundai’s decision to take the lead on transparency. TTAC encourages all automakers to release both sales-weighted CAFE numbers and full fleet-mix numbers (and any other relevant data) with their monthly sales reports. The truth, as we say around here, must out! [Hyundai and Kia sales breakouts after the jump]
More little steps on the hydrogen fuel cell front, part of the walk-up to the big 2015 launch: Hyundai signed a memorandum of understanding with Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland to supply hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles to public organizations in a pilot program, The Nikkei [sub] reports.
Auto makers forget at their own peril that competitors are also working on better cars, and that customer expectations are consequently a moving target. When developing a new car, you can’t just aim to be better than today’s leaders. Case in point: the Hyundai Elantra. The 2007-2010 Elantra was so forgettable that I never remembered to drive one. One look at the new 2011 Elantra, on the other hand, suggests that it will upend the compact sedan status quo the way the Sonata has the midsize segment.
According to data published today by Ford, the company sold 5,313,000 units worldwide “to wholesale” (i.e. out of the door.), up 447,000 units or 9.19 percent. With Volvo eliminated, the growth was 771,000 units. Record sales in the U.S.A. and Asia were partially offset by lower sales in Europe. Ford is not strong enough in China to profit like its competitors that are strong in China. One of these competitors is Hyundai.
After Hyundai delivered a record profit of $4.7 billion yesterday, smaller sibling Kia announced its results today. The Kia’s 2010 net profits rose 55 percent to approximately $2 billion. Some analysts expected more, but the fourth quarter had only a rise of 4.6 percent.
Kia adds another 2,131,531 units to the combined Hyundai/Kia grand total, which now (according to our unofficial TTAC calculations) stands at 5,744,018 units. Where does that leave Ford?
Hyundai Motor Co. today released impressive results. Net 2010 profit increased 77.8 percent to 5.3 trillion won ($4.7 billion) on global sales of 3,612,487 units. That’s a 16.3 percent sales gain from a year earlier. Whoa, says the attentive observer of sales data, didn’t they make some 4.6 million last year? Where is the increase? The 4.6 million were Hyundai and Kia together.
Many journos will trip over that today.
Remember how the government bailout team forgot to make sure its “Irrevocable Ecological Commitment” from Fiat was measured in “adjusted” Miles Per Gallon, using the EPA test cycle that provides your window sticker number? Well, the same “unadjusted” MPG number Sergio Marchionne used to his advantage is used to calculate the CAFE ratings that have the industry in such an tizzy. Well, the official lobbying parts of the industry, anyway [see also, here]. Hyundai has been saying for some time that it is targeting a 50 MPG fleet average by 2025, although CEO John Krafcik said as recently as August that he didn’t know how the automaker would reach that goal. Now, however, it looks like he’s found a way to bring 50 MPG within reach: use CAFE’s “unadjusted” standard. Just like Sergio. Follow along as Hyundai shows that 50 MPG isn’t as far off as many seem to believe.
Over a decade on, auto makers are still sorting out what car buyers are looking for in a crossover. In what ways should a crossover be more like a car, and in what others should it more resemble an SUV? Two rows, or three? Older members of the class are like time capsules, capturing what manufacturers were thinking at that point in time. And so we have the Hyundai Santa Fe, refreshed for 2010 but last totally redesigned for the 2007 model year.
“Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. sold a combined 1.1 million vehicles in China last year, becoming the second largest auto seller in Asia’s biggest car market, the companies said yesterday.”
This today in the Korea JoongAng Daily, and in case you’ve never heard of them, they are an associate of the Herald Tribune. Now why should this be a slap in the face of GM?