By on June 12, 2020

Image: Hyundai

While we fully expected to issue rolling updates on factory shutdowns as industry suppliers struggled to catch up to manufacturers in the aftermath of coronavirus lockdowns, the last few have been impossible-to-predict curveballs.

Honda found itself at the mercy of digital criminals who held its network for ransom, forcing numerous factory shutdowns around the globe as it tried to make sense of the attack. Meanwhile, Hyundai has had to belay assembly in South Korea after an employee at supplier Duckyang Industry Co. fell into the machinery.

The fatal incident stopped production at the supplier, leading to parts shortages at Hyundai that required work stoppages on numerous production lines — including those responsible for the Palisade and Kona.  (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2020

While Kia has managed to add a fair number of crossovers to its lineup, successfully catching up to modern consumer tastes, it hasn’t scarified sedans to make that happen. According to the manufacturer, this is because high-riding utility vehicles fail to match the driving experience of a ground-hugging sedan — something Korean automakers have a keen interest in since Hyundai launched N-badged performance models and Kia dropped the Stinger on our heads.

Once famous for their commitment to budget-friendly models frequently mentioned in amber alerts, the duo now manufacture vehicles people actually want to buy at a price that’s frequently difficult to criticize. Following Hyundai/Kia for the last few years has been analogous to that scene in every teen drama where the awkwardly nerdy girl comes down the stairs for prom dressed to the nines and brimming with newfound confidence. Except in the Hyundai/Kia version, she winks suggestively and offers to pitch in for dinner.

Having convinced themselves that they’ve found a winning strategy, Koran automakers are doubling down on what’s worked already. That includes maintaining a clear distinction between crossovers and sedans — the latter of which Kia believes holds the secret to enjoying yourself behind the wheel.  (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

Hyundai has plumped up the Elantra for the 2021 model year — a task made possible by the manufacturer swapping to the new K3 platform. The architecture switcheroo means extra body but not the corresponding bulk. Despite adding roughly an inch to the model’s wheelbase and 2.2-inches to the vehicle’s entire length, Hyundai says the revamped sedan is lighter than before, with a lower center of gravity. That ought to pair well with its wider track during spirited bouts of driving.

However, let’s not pretend the Elantra is a sports sedan — not yet, anyway. As Hyundai works on the hotter N-Line variant (something the manufacturer just confirmed, with a full-blown N model rumored) most cars will be optioned closer to base. This is still a vehicle most people will buy to save money on their daily commute. Knowing this, the factory focused the brunt of its attention to enhancing passenger comfort, standard features, efficiency, and style.  (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2020

Hyundai is reportedly recalling around 207,000 Sonata models in the U.S. over a fuel hose issue that could create a fire hazard. Kia issued a recall on 142,000 Optima sedans and 51,000 Sedonas minivans for the same issue. While there doesn’t appear to be any injuries stemming from the problem, Hyundai Motor Group has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the vehicles could incur a fuel leak that runs the risk of starting fires within the engine compartment.

The source of the issue has not been discovered; the NHTSA recall report stipulates that the manufacturer “believes the material used to produce the fuel feed line might be more susceptible to heat under certain vehicle operating conditions.” Be on the lookout for a less responsive motor, engine warning lights and the faint aroma of gasoline.  (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2019

Hyundai Motor Group India hopes to grow interest in the Kona Electric by having the subcompact crossover become the first EV to drive to Mount Everest’s base camp. While demand for the model has so far been relatively low, with deliveries averaging roughly 100 units per month in the U.S., it’s performed rather well globally (for an EV). Hyundai has one of the best ratios of plug-in sales in the industry — with about 5 percent of global sales going toward something rechargeable.

The figures vary month to month, but Hyundai has been able to consistently rely on at least 4,000 EV sales per month through 2019. In October, Hyundai said it shipped over 8,000 plug-in models, with continued growth anticipated through the end of this year.

Unfortunately, Indian auto sales aren’t particularly healthy. Volume is down over 30 percent vs last year and Hyundai promised $250 million to the nation to further the sales of electric and hybrid vehicles. EV sales are particularly bad, with estimates of all-electric passenger vehicles being no higher than 10,000 units (total) over the last five years. The brand likely figured a regionally focused publicity stunt might help boost interest in Asia while giving international markets a similar bump. After all, everyone in the world has heard of Everest and the dangerous ascent to its peak.  (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2019

Kia

Kia recently revealed the best bundle of teaser images we’ve ever seen, as those pics left nothing to the imagination. And while we now know what the 2021 K5/Optima will look like, as it turns out, we don’t know what it will be called. Piqued by the brand filing patents for a new logo in Korea, everyone started digging to see what other changes Kia might be making behind the scenes… and it would appear that the Optima may adopt the Korean market’s K5 moniker for use overseas.

While that should help minimize international confusion, ditching the Optima name comes with a few risks. The sedan is among the brand’s best selling models in the United States. It also has a real name, like most Kia products, instead of an alphanumeric jumble that’s supposed to be indicative of its place in the lineup.  (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2019

While Kia and Hyundai have taken major strides in improving their product lineup, their logos aren’t the prettiest in the industry. This is an extremely shallow way to judge an automobile but, with the companies moving away from their former roles as purveyors of cheap steel, it might be time to freshen up their emblems.

Volkswagen recently did so, and it’s had one of the most consistent logo designs (minus those early swastika/ginfaxi years) you’re ever to come across.

Several trademark applications dated November 26th indicate that Kia might be following suit. The brand has a new design pending with the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS), and it’s a major departure from the last update.  (Read More…)

By on November 21, 2019

Kia’s Seltos was probably the worst-kept secret at the 2019 LA Auto Show. Hyundai Motor Group had already confirmed it as a global model earlier this year, teased it numerous times, and featured it on a gigantic banner outside the Los Angeles Convention Center prior to its official debut. But Kia still managed to surprise us.

Along with the U.S.-spec version of the Seltos, Kia also paraded two off-road concepts meant to preview future offerings. Positioned above the Soul, the new crossover is basically an oversized subcompact aimed at fleshing out the brand’s “SUV” lineup. While mostly conventional, it does offer some of the industry’s hottest trends (hidden pillars, contrasting roof, butch plastic cladding, etc) with enough attitude of its own to remain semi-distinctive. Most of that comes from a presumed ruggedness, enhanced by the brand’s edgy marketing.

Kia’s tagline for the vehicle is “Inspired by the Badass in You.”  (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2019

Noise-canceling technologies have become a handy little tool wedged inside the belt of many automakers. Aimed at reducing unpleasant road noise, most systems invert incoming sound waves to produce an exact negative of the ambient sound you don’t want to hear. They work best when you don’t notice them, which is pretty much always, but Hyundai Group claims there’s more work to be done before the tech is perfect.

As a result, the Korean manufacturer has developed an upgraded version of its current active noise control setup (ANC), one it calls “the world’s first Road Noise Active Noise Control.” Rather than simply piping in sounds designed to offset road noise, the new system (referred to as “RANC” by the automaker) also analyses in-cabin sound to make adjustments to help nullify unpalatable engine and road drone.  (Read More…)

By on October 30, 2019

While the writers of this website do not universally endorse the designs coming out of Hyundai Motor Group, the general consensus is that there has been a concerted effort on behalf of the styling department to up its game. Pretty much everything the company as previewed for us over the last couple of years has at least been interesting. We even said so earlier this week, after Hyundai teased the new Azera/Grandeur.

While that model is likely to remained locked inside other parts of the globe for now, North America is getting boldly redesigned versions of the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. Whereas the Sonata is being prepped for sales this fall, Optima is a bit further out — likely arriving for the 2021 model year. But it should have a similarly ambitious and impactful design, assuming the latest mockups are indicative of the production car.  (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2019

Automakers have begun leveling with us about vehicular autonomy. After years of promises that self-driving cars were just around the corner, the vision rollback has begun. Testing has taken longer than anticipated and nobody is as close to unleashing a commercial product as they hoped to be. Waymo’s self-driving taxis are arguably the closest, but they’re still dependent upon human safety drivers. They also don’t stray far from areas of operation that have been repeatedly mapped and deemed safe.

While nobody has given up on the technology, claims are becoming less lofty. Realism is creeping into press releases and interviews, resulting in a more complicated pathway to autonomy. Hyundai Motor Group’s heir apparent, Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun, recently announced the creation of a $4 billion self-driving joint venture with Aptiv, but the plan is more modest than what we’ve become accustomed to. (Read More…)

By on October 30, 2018

Automotive enthusiast come in a wider variety of flavors than automakers are sometimes willing to admit. You have the well-heeled supercar community, hot rod fans, off-roaders, van people, and so on and so forth, and what have you. The point is: there’s a diverse array of customers out there, and one segment that has been neglected of late are people who love an unassuming car with a surprising amount of pep.

We need more cars like the Volvo V70 R, Mercury Marauder, and especially the Chevrolet Cobalt SS.

While Kia isn’t giving enthusiasts who prefer flying under the radar at breakneck speed everything they ever wished for, its surprise announcement of the 2020 Forte GT was a solid start. Think of it as the modern and Korean equivalent of the Dodge Dart GTS 440 — or, perhaps more accurately, the Dart Swinger 340.  (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2018


Hyundai’s vice president of design, SangYup Lee, says the brand should be more than just a value nameplate and is setting his target extremely high. He thinks the company should be producing vehicles that are “sexier than Alfa Romeo.”

While we used a photo of a 2011 Hyundai Accent to head the article as a bit of a goof, the idea is only patently ridiculous if you don’t give it any serious thought. Hyundai’s designs have historically been a festival of mediocrity, but that’s not really the case anymore. The Korean brand has stepped up to meet is rivals and has even managed to surpass them in some respects.

Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo continues to impress enthusiasts but that has as much to do with its greatest hits as its does the modern cars. There’s still over dramatic, oddly attractive, and exceptionally fun — sort of like someone you dated during college but outgrew when you amassed enough self-respect to finally break it off. However, with the exception of the 4C, we’re not confident Alfa’s current lineup is their best visual work to date.  (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2018

FCA sign, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles won’t comment on a report claiming Hyundai Motor Group plans to launch a bid for the automaker, but that’s what sources with knowledge of the matter tell the Asia Times.

The sources claim HMG CEO Chung Mong-koo is biding his time, waiting for FCA’s stock to fall before moving forward on the potential takeover. Reportedly, Hyundai could launch the bid within months. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2017

kia logo emblem

Seoul Central District Court ruled against Kia Motors on Thursday, ordering the automaker to pay around 420 billion won, or $374 million, in unpaid wages. Kia employees first filed an initial lawsuit in 2011, claiming a 659 billion won wage disparity, following it up with an additional suit in 2014.

However, the automaker claims the final cost will be closer to 1 trillion won, or about $890 million, and could result in a third-quarter operating loss. Interestingly, this is roughly the same amount workers demanded over their six-year legal dispute (after interest).

“The current operational situation is such that the ruling amount is [difficult] to bear,” Kia said in a statement. (Read More…)

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