Hyundai announces pricing for 2014 Equus

2014 Hyundai Equus

Hyundai Motor America announced pricing today for the refreshed 2014 Hyundai Equus during a media event at its Ann Arbor, Michigan facility. The Equus comes in two model options – the Signature and the Ultimate. The Equus Signature has an MSRP with freight of $61,920, and the Equus Ultimate has an MSRP with freight of $68,920. Hyundai expects a sales breakdown of 70/30 between the Signature and the Ultimate.

Hyundai has positioned Equus as a competitor in the high end luxury segment, with vehicles like the Lexus LS460 and Mercedes S550 seen as the primary competitors, and the BMW 750i, Audi A8 and Cadillac XTS seen as secondary competitors. Hyundai’s strategy has emphasized packing the Equus with safety and technology features buyers are looking for in luxury vehicles and then making them standard in the Equus, while offering a price point that is roughly $30,000 less than comparably equipped target competitors. The emphasis on buyer experience has also helped Equus, with features like a dedicated Equus premium ownership champion at each dealership, at-home vehicle demonstrations branded under “Your Time, Your Place,” a valet service program with pickup and delivery on a flat bed truck with service loaner vehicle dropoff and a 3-year/36,000 mile no-cost maintenance.

John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, said he’s been very pleased with Equus sales since the launch of the vehicle, noting that many auto analysts were skeptical that Hyundai could even compete in this space. Krafcik pointed to the 2013 year-to-date market segment numbers for Equus of 5.5%, which is greater than Hyundai’s overall brand share. He also pointed out that Equus scored highest among the luxury brands in the 2013 J.D. Power Customer Service Index Study.

Like other Hyundai brands, Equus sales are being held back by Hyundai’s capacity issues. When asked whether Hyundai would be adding production capacity, Krafcik declined to comment, though it should be noted that in the past he was quick to squelch any notion of new production facilities. With the American car market rapidly bouncing back near pre-recession levels, Hyundai is likely reconsidering its ultra-cautious approach to production capacity in order to take advantage of increased demand. Krafcik noted that Hyundai’s overall market share in the US has contracted a bit to 4.7% in 2013 due to those production constraints. Demand is not the problem, as Hyundai has among the lowest inventory and days supply levels in the industry. Hyundai’s incentive spend remains among the lowest in the industry second only to Subaru. With these statistics, it appears that Hyundai can easily absorb more capacity, though auto executives have to look years ahead, and the volatility of the past seven years has to be taken into account.

4 Best Cars for the New Teen Driver

Let’s face it-new teen drivers’ need cars with excellent safety features and crash-test results, but teens aren’t looking for the safest car like their parents. They want something cool and sporty that they can personalize and show off to their friends. Car safety technology has improved drastically over the past few years, so it’s now an ideal time to trust teens on the road. Luckily, there are cars that fulfill both requirements for teens themselves and their parents. Check out these great options for your teen driver.

Hyundai Elantra

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The Hyundai Elantra stands out as one of the best cars for new drivers. The Elantra received a five-star rating in government crash-tests for overall safety and side impact protection. It also earned for stars for frontal impact protection as well as earned the title of top small sedan by Consumer Reports.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Elantra its highest score of side-impact and frontal-offset crashes. The car also receive a top rating for roof-strength test.

Those tests show you that the Elantra will protect your kid during an accident. You also need to know what features will help them avoid accidents.

The Elantra comes packed with standard safety features, including:
• anti-lock disc brakes
• traction control
• stability control
• active from head restraints

In addition to the Elantra’s ratings, teens love the sporty look of this car from the curved shaped headlights, aerodynamic roof line, and standard rims. The body style reminds me of the Pontiac Grand Prix I owned as a teen. As for the interior, consumers loves the gauge appearance with blue lighting and the steering wheel controls. Overall, this cars boasts style and safety, which makes it perfect for teen drivers.

Ford Focus

2012 Ford Focus Hatchback SEL

The Ford Focus comes in as a close second as it’s been one of the top selling compact sedans for years. It also receives excellent safety and crash-test ratings and comes with the safety features that can help parents relax when their kids are out and about.

Government crash-tests give the Focus four out of five stars in overall safety. That’s good score worth noting. The IIHS gives the car its highest rating in side and frontal-offset crashes. It also gets the top score for roof strength.

To make the Focus even safer, add the Ford Sync System. This system can notify 911 when a crash occurs.

Also consider setting the MyKey System, a standard feature, so you can control your teen’s driving behaviors. If they can’t speed, then they’re automatically in less danger.

Fuel efficiency is definitely a factor that teens should look at since they’ll be filling their gas tanks from now on. Lucky for them, the Focus has an excellent fuel economy at 28/38 MPG. This car has a sporty appearance as well with wrapping tail lights, crisscross bumper material, and a trunk lid lip and skirt.

Although consumers don’t like the steering wheel controls half as much as the Elantra’s, they do like the attractive blue gauge lighting. Not a bad car to look at, but I would still personally recommend the Elantra.

Chevy Sonic

2013 Sonic RS NAIS

Parents can’t go wrong with the Chevy Sonic. The Sonic launched in 2011 to replace Aveo and tied with the Fiesta for the 6th highest hatchback vehicle. IIHS designates it as a Top Safety Pick. The government gives it five stars in side, frontal, and overall protection. In other words, the Sonic can handle a crash.

The safety features will also impress parents. It includes:

• stability control
• traction control
• anti-lock brakes
• front knee airbags

A quick look at an informative car insurance blog will tell you that these features and ratings do more than protect your kids. They’ll also help keep your insurance prices low.

Okay, let’s get to the good stuff. Teens love the sound controls, aerodynamic front end, and the circular tail lamps for a sporty look. Since this has a hatchback, the back end is flat, which makes parking a breeze whether you’re pulling into a stall or parallel parking in the city. I would be interested in test driving this vehicle to compare its performance and handling to the Elantra and Focus.

Volkswagen Jetta

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The Jetta has a long history as one of the world’s safest cars. Although the appearance isn’t as sporty, it has the kind of styling that won’t embarrass your kids when they pull up to the school parking lot.
The government gives this car four out of five stars, but the IIHS gives it its highest rating in roof strength, frontal-offset collisions, and side collisions.

The VW Jetta comes in a large range of trim levels, so you can choose one that matches your budget and your safety concerns. Standard features include:

• active front head restraints
• side curtain airbags
• stability control
• traction control
• front side airbags

Teens will love the interior space with a roomy backseat and comfort when they’re cruising around with their friends. While the Jetta has a simple and understated design, it’s not a bad value for the money.

If teens wants to personalize their car, there are plenty of ways to make it burst with character, such as a new paint job, spoiler, shiny rims, modern headlights, grills and tinted windows. Just know that too much personalization may attract the cops like a magnet (I know from experience).

Luckily, there are some car options that will please both teens and parents when they normally don’t see eye-to-eye. Which of these cars would you prefer as a teen driver? Why? Any other vehicles that you believe should make the list?

Reviews are out for the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2013 Santa Fe has been completely redesigned by Hyundai and it comes in two versions. The Sport model, which is out now and has been reviewed by the car sites, and the longer wheelbase model that will be out in January 2013.

Check out some of the reviews from Slashgear, The Truth About Cars, Bullz-Eye, and AutoWeek of this new entry in the crossover market.

One team to make the Super Bowl next year? Hyundai…

Hyundai has committed to the 2013 Super Bowl with more television commercials. Could a move like this solidify Hyundai in the eyes of car shoppers as one of the main players in the North American market? Hyundai is already a major player but more quality ads in the biggest television spectacle of the year to show off your cars sure doesn’t hurt the brand!

From the Detroit Free Press:

As soon as General Motors said this week that it would quit paid ads on Facebook, Ford was on Twitter saying it has doubled-down on social and digital media — and hinted in a tweet that GM just didn’t know how to use new social media.

Then, no sooner had GM said yesterday it would not buy ads in the next Super Bowl, and Super Bowl regular Hyundai quickly let us know it won’t pass on the biggest annual ad event in TV — and by the way, (are your ears burning GM?), did know that the game is a huge social media event, too.

Read the full article.

Hyundai Unveils Teaser Images of All-New Santa Fe

Hyundai has been on a roll lately with one new vehicle launch after another. The All New Hyundai Sante Fe is next to be redesigned and Hyundai will debut the Santa Fe at the New York International Auto in April. Enjoy the these images until the full reveal next month.

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