Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hyundai Sonata Leads the Competition With Best Fuel Economy in the EPA Large Car Segment

Sonata Provides Generous Interior Roominess without Typical Fuel Economy Compromises Associated With Large Car Comfort

Hyundai Sonata, the popular sedan offering class-above interior volume compared with its key competitors, also provides the best fuel economy in the EPA Large Car segment with an exceptional 28 mpg combined fuel economy rating.

Sonata interior volume is a generous 120.2 cubic feet, placing it in the EPA Large Car segment, where most of its competitors offer significantly lower combined fuel economy ratings.

2012 EPA Large Car Segment Combined Fuel Economy Ratings

EPA
Large Car Segment
Hyundai Sonata Chevrolet Impala Chrysler 300 Dodge Charger Ford Taurus Honda Accord Toyota Avalon
EPA Combined
fuel economy rating
(mpg)
28 22 23 23 22 27 23
Even among traditionally recognized mid-sized segment competitors, Sonata offers unsurpassed fuel economy.

2012 Traditional Mid-size Car Segment Combined Fuel Economy Ratings

Traditional
Mid-size Car Segment
Hyundai
Sonata
Chevrolet
Malibu
Toyota
Camry
Nissan
Altima
Nissan
Maxima
Ford
Fusion
Kia
Optima
EPA Combined fuel
economy rating
(mpg)
28 26 28 27 22 26 28
"In developing the made-in-USA Sonata for mid-size sedan consumers, Hyundai engineers continually sought to exceed their expectations," said Mike O'Brien, Hyundai's vice president of corporate and strategic planning. "This meant overcoming the traditional compromises that face product development engineers, such as providing comfortable interior roominess coupled with powerful engines and exceptional fuel economy."

Sonata's large-car level of interior roominess, combined with fuel economy leadership, proves that manufacturers must continually challenge conventional thinking to delight their customers in new ways. This year, it's clear that consumers have responded to Hyundai's development team efforts with Sonata selling more than 200,000 Sonatas for the first time ever.

REAL-WORLD FUEL ECONOMY SATISFACTION

Not only does Sonata excel in government tests with exceptional combined fuel economy ratings, it also proves its efficiency in the day-to-day driving of its owners. In the 2011 J.D. Power APEAL satisfaction study, Sonata had the highest owner-reported satisfaction levels of its mid-size and large sedan competitors, with 30 percent of its owners rating its fuel economy the top rank of "truly exceptional."

2011 J.D. Power APEAL Satisfaction Study Owner-reported Ratings

Sonata Sedan Competitors Hyundai Sonata Comp. Model
A
Comp. Model
B
Comp. Model
C
Comp. Model
D
Comp. Model
E
Comp. Model
F
Mid-size Segment Average
Rating of Vehicle's Fuel Economy (mpg) (1-10)
10 = "Truly Exceptional"
30% 18% 16% 19% 20% 19% 23% 20%
Fuel Economy Index Mean/Weighted Average 814.4 745.0 753.9 761.5 760.1 719.3 800.9 756.3
HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance and the Hyundai Trade-in Value Guarantee. Hyundai is a registered trademark of Hyundai Motor Company. All rights reserved. ©2011 Hyundai Motor America.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

HYUNDAI NAMED TOP CPO PROGRAM

Awards Revealed at Certified Pre-Owned Forum and National Remarketing Conference In Las Vegas Nov. 15

IntelliChoice, the leading provider of automotive cost of ownership and value analysis and part of the Motor Trend Automotive Group, announced today the winners of its 13th annual ranking of manufacturer Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programs, at the Certified Pre-Owned Forum and National Remarketing Conference in Las Vegas. For the fifth straight year, Volvo earned the top ranking among Premium manufacturers, while Hyundai was ranked highest among Popular vehicle brands.

Each year, IntelliChoice issues the industry's only independent report card comparing Certified Pre-Owned programs offered to consumers through franchise dealerships. Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles (CPOs) are cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles that have come off lease or have been resold to dealers, and have been thoroughly inspected prior to sale. Car manufacturers have traditionally refined and augmented their programs based on the criteria employed by IntelliChoice in its benchmarking analysis, in an effort to compete more effectively in the marketplace for certified used cars.

"Since 2008, Hyundai had placed third overall in the Popular category, but was finally able to break into the top spot overtaking the two previous winners, MINI and Volkswagen," said Eric Anderson, senior analyst at IntelliChoice. "While Volvo was able to retain its top ranking in the Premium category, Cadillac and Porsche are not far behind."

Tyler Schulze, vice president and general manager of IntelliChoice, added, "The Certified Pre-Owned segment of the market continues to be very important to manufacturers and dealers alike, particularly due to the recent contraction in used-vehicle inventory levels. The ability for dealers to certify their best used cars and trucks under a compelling program sponsored by the manufacturer is a clear win for both the consumer and the dealer. We continue to see marginal year-over-year improvements in CPO program features across all makes, indicating that consumers can benefit from the ever-increasing competition in this market segment."

Methodology

IntelliChoice originally developed its CPO analysis methodology to address the significant growth of manufacturer CPO programs in line with its stated mission to provide consumers with comprehensive automotive analysis and advice. IntelliChoice investigates and analyzes 26 manufacturer programs which are divided into two major classes: Premium and Popular. Programs are then rated on the following set of nine criteria that consumers have identified as being most valuable to their decision-making processes:

Extended Manufacturer Warranties
Title Verification
Certification Inspection Process
Roadside Assistance
Special Financing
Return/Exchange Policies
Program and Dealer Compliance
Used Cost of Ownership
Market Penetration

The 2012 Winners Include:

Premium:
Overall Winner Volvo
Best Warranty Porsche
Used Cost of Ownership Lincoln
Popular:
Overall Winner Hyundai
Best Warranty MINI
Used Cost of OwnershipToyota

Top 5 Premium Programs:
1. Volvo
2. Cadillac
3. Porsche
4. Lexus
5. Lincoln

Top 5 Popular Programs:
1. Hyundai
2. MINI
3. Toyota
4. Honda
5. Scion

About IntelliChoice

IntelliChoice, part of the Motor Trend Auto Group, is the market leader in automotive ownership cost and car values analysis. Founded in 1986, IntelliChoice is committed to empowering consumers to make better purchase decisions by providing independent and essential automotive information and tools. Through the IntelliChoice.com web site consumers get the help they need to research, compare, configure and price new cars. The site also connects buyers to the buying alternatives of their choice, including vehicle manufacturers and an online car buying guide. Motor Trend Auto Group is a subsidiary of Source Interlink Media, a recognized provider of targeted media and marketing services and one of the largest publishers of magazines and online content for enthusiast audiences.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

HYUNDAI EQUUS RECEIVES J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES 2011 APEAL AWARD

- Equus Tops Large Premium Car Segment
- Hyundai Ranks Ahead of All Asian and Domestic Non-Premium Brands
- Hyundai Achieves Biggest Rank Increase in Industry With 33 Point Gain

J.D. Power and Associates designated the 2011 Hyundai Equus as its most appealing large premium car in the 2011 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM as Hyundai soared in the annual owner survey. In its 16th year, the APEAL study examines owners' assessments of the design, content, layout, and performance of their new vehicle. Vehicles and their brands are scored on a 1,000 point scale.

The Equus exceeded 900 points in this year’s study, achieving the highest APEAL score of any model in the industry. Equus outscored all other luxury premium sedans and performed considerably better than the segment average in the categories of vehicle exterior, storage, and audio/entertainment/navigation.

"The Equus has the distinction of being the highest-performing model in the 2011 APEAL Study," said J.D. Power and Associates. "The Hyundai Equus has achieved an impressive introduction into the marketplace from a performance, execution and layout perspective."

Overall, Hyundai was the most-improved nameplate in the industry and moved up 13 rank positions and 33 points to place 15th in 2011. This is the highest Hyundai has ever ranked in the APEAL Study, finishing ahead of all the Asian and U.S. domestic non-premium brands. The improvement is driven primarily by two of its redesigned models, the Sonata and Elantra, which improve by 57 and 35 points, respectively.

"We are thrilled with the recognition of Equus and the Hyundai brand as a whole in this year's J.D. Power and Associates APEAL study," said Frank Ferrara, executive vice president, Customer Satisfaction, Hyundai Motor America. "With the success of our Equus flagship and the unique appeal of our dynamically designed and fuel-efficient Elantra and Sonata, we're continuing our quest to satisfy all types of American car buyers."

Additionally, in the tightest race in the study, the Hyundai Sonata finished second by just two points – 818 v. 816 -- in the midsize car segment.

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance and the Hyundai Trade-in Value Guarantee.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 HYUNDAI ELANTRA RANKED ONE OF THE "TOP 10 COOLEST NEW CARS UNDER $18,000" BY KELLEY BLUE BOOK'S KBB.COM

Kbb.com Praises 40 MPG Elantra for Design, Fuel-Efficiency

The 2011 Hyundai Elantra has been named one of the "Top 10 Coolest New Cars under $18,000" by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. According to kbb.com experts, the Elantra was chosen on the basis of two criteria—being fun to drive and fun to own. Kbb.com praised the Elantra's "all-around package of slick design, convenient features and fuel efficiency," as well as the fact that "every Elantra gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway."

The Elantra will be one of four Hyundai vehicles sold in 2011 that achieves the milestone 40 MPG highway fuel economy rating, along with the Accent, Sonata Hybrid and the Veloster. Elantra received a complete redesign for 2011, as well as an 18 percent bump in fuel efficiency over its predecessor.

"We're honored that kbb.com recognized so many of the things about the Elantra that we baked into the recipe," said Brandon Ramirez, manager, Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "With standard 40 mpg highway fuel economy and terrific looks, as well as a wealth of advanced technological and safety features, the Elantra is definitely one of the coolest options in its segment." The 2011 Elantra excels in terms of design and fuel economy, but it also rises above the competition with a combination of advanced safety features, exceptional interior room equal to that of a midsize sedan and an all-new 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. All of these features, plus Hyundai's industry-leading standard warranty, amount to an exceptional vehicle that is also an exceptional value.

As kbb.com notes, "it takes some panache to be fuel efficient, affordable and great looking, and the 2011 Hyundai Elantra pulls it off in style."

Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, remarked of all the vehicles featured in the "Top 10 Coolest Cars under $18,000," "There are great deals to be had on many new cars under $18,000, but only a handful of them really possess that cool, difficult-to-describe 'it' factor. Each year the competition keeps getting tougher in this affordable segment, with more personality-filled, amenity-laden, versatile vehicles entering the marketplace."

For more information about kbb.com's 2011 "Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000," please visit http://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/10-coolest-cars-under-18000-_-2011-edition/.

KELLEY BLUE BOOK

Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies. Kbb.com is a leading provider of new car prices, used car values, car reviews, new cars for sale, used cars for sale, and car dealer locations. Kelley Blue Book Co. Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader.com.

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile power train warranty, 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance and the Hyundai Trade-in Value Guarantee.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Local Auto Dealership Sees High Demand

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) -- May wasn't a good month for most auto makers. Overall, sales dropped 2.9 percent, the biggest decline since February 2010, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce.



Chrysler and Hyundai, however, saw increases. Chrysler sales were up ten percent over May 2010. Hyundai sales were up 21 percent over the same time last year, largely due to the popularity of the Elantra and Sonata.

"Every month is a new record," said Cliff Dexheimer, Gary Rome Hyundai General Sales Manager . "They're up, up, up. Their market share is greater than it's ever been."

Tami Bailly of Granby just bought an Elantra. Her daughter encouraged her to buy one and she's now encouraging her father-in-law to do the same. She says a price tag of under twenty thousand and a high safety rating are big pluses. She says the biggest reason, though, is gas mileage. The Elantra gets 40 MPG on the highway. The Sonata gets 35.

"What you save on gas is what you can put toward your payment," says Bailly. "I thought it would be a really good deal."

"We're trading in trucks and SUV's like crazy," said Dexheimer. "Folks are saving a hundred or more dollars a month just on their fuel bill."

While demand isn't a problem, Dexheimer says supply is. The dealership's new car lot is almost empty. Bailly is actually on a wait-list for her Elantra. Dexheimer says Hyundai is thinking about adding a third shift at its plant in Alabama. It's an enviable position for a company to be in these days.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Landlord Has to Pay $25,000 Dollars for Trying to Evict Man With HIV For Having A Dog In a Pet Free Apartment Building

Richard M. Blake was diagnosed with HIV over 20 years ago. Because of this, Mr. Blake became depressed and wouldn’t leave his house. His blood pressure rose as well as his weight. Blake’s doctor recommended getting a dog as a companion in order to not feel lonely which would in turn hopefully improve his physical and mental health.

Blake asked his landlord if he could get the dog and he said yes. So with his landlord’s permission and his doctor’s request, Blake got a dog. After getting a dog Blake said that “She’s [the dog].. [has] given me sort of a routine in my life. She’s given me a lot of joy. Animals just seem to make it hard for you to be in a bad mood.’’ (http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/
04/05/ landlord_must_pay_25000_for_trying_to_evict_hiv_patients_dog/).

After getting the dog, Blake’s blood pressure went done along with his weight. He stopped being depressed and went out of his home. “Ever since I have had her, the walks and the tons of exercise I do with her have helped,’’ Blake said. (http://www.boston.com/news/
local/massachusetts/articles/ 2011/04/05/
landlord_must_pay_25000_for_trying_to_evict_hiv_patients_dog/).

Two months later, la Michael Lombardi, the landlord of Brighton Gardens in Massachusetts made a ruling that no pets are allowed in the apartment building. Drake asked Lombardi if since if he keep the dog since Lombardi said he could before the “now pets allowed” ruling, especially since the dog was important to him and added meaning in Drake’s life. The landlord denied Drake’s request, so Drake filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The committee ruled in favor of Drake saying that he was disabled and (according to the ruling) for Blake to “give up his dog would seriously jeopardize his emotional and physical well-being.’’ (http://www.boston.com/news/local/
massachusetts/articles/ 2011/04/05/
landlord_must_pay_25000_for_trying_to_evict_hiv_patients_dog/).

“The commission also ruled that each of the five landlords should pay a $5,000 fine “given their utter intransigence’’ in refusing to discuss a “reasonable accommodation’’ with the man.”(http://www.boston.com/news/local/
massachusetts/articles/2011/04/05/
landlord_must_pay_25000_for_trying_to_evict_hiv_patients_dog/).

Lombardi criticized the ruling stating that, “my firm did not knowingly discriminate against anybody. Lombardi called the ruling “an extraordinary decision because they really haven’t pinpointed any discrimination.’’ (http://www.boston.com/news/local/
massachusetts/articles/2011/04/05/
landlord_must_pay_25000_for_trying_to_evict_hiv_patients_dog/).

Lombardi also didn’t know that been diagnosed with HIV is considered being disabled.

While I don’t think that Lombardi acted nicely towards Drake—first giving Drake permission to buy a dog to improve his mood and then two months later changing his mind, especially when the dog was shown to improve Drake’s life—isn’t a very compassionate and nice thing to do, I also feel legally speaking (not morally and ethically), Lombardi is in the right.

As a landlord, Lombardi has a right to impose any rule he wishes and if his tenants don’t like his ruling they can either learn to deal with it or find a new place to live that does allow pets. At the same time, Drake asked permission to get the dog from Lombardi and if Lombardi wanted a pet-free apartment he should have voiced this when Drake asked him about getting the dog—although saying this isn’t really fair to Lombardi since he changed his mind two months later and maybe there was a valid reason why this is the case. While I don’t think Lombardi acted very compassionate and more like a landlord, with an emphasis on the lord, I also think that the ruling might have been impacted by the fact that Drake has HIV and that the doctor recommended a dog as a companion and not having a dog as an integral part of being able to function (like in the case of a seeing eye dog for the blind, for example).

Gary Rome Auto Group would love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Do you find the case interesting? Do you think the committee was being objective in their ruling or was their ruling impacted by the fact that Drake has HIV?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blue Sox Holyoke—Social Programs Opportunity

The Blue Sox is a baseball team in Holyoke, MA. The athletes who play on The Holyoke Blue Sox come from top colleges across the country and many of the players get drafted into Major League Baseball teams. Such professional sport teams that the Blue Sox athletes have been drafted in are: The Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Mariners, Nationals and Tigers.

The Blue Sox have been a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL www.necbl.com ) since 2008. The NECBL is partially sponsored by Major League Baseball and has 12 teams in all of the New England states who recruit athletes from around the world to take part in joining the Blue Sox in order to learn the skills necessary to play in the Major Leagues.

Aspiring and talented baseball players come to The Pioneer Valley for the summer to play for the Holyoke Blue Sox. These athletes come from all over the United States to become part of this fun and learning experience where they come to practice and increase their baseball playing skills. 42 baseball games are performed during the 60 days of summer, so these players get a lot of practice in getting better at their game.

While coming to Holyoke, the athletes stay at people’s homes who are interested in hosting these athletes. The goal here is to provide visitors with a feeling of warmth and family. Not everyone knows people in Holyoke and while there are athletes that are willing to sacrifice family and social life for a summer training in professional sports, but why make that sacrifice if you don’t have to? Thanks to the openness and generosity, there are families that house the athletes. The athletes don’t have to scope out these families themselves; Blue Sox takes care of this for them.

Host families are integral to the success of The Holyoke Blue Sox. Staying with a family allows the athletes to feel that sports are a part of their life, not their life. Doing what you love and are good at can lead to happiness, close inter-personal relationships are needed for this as well. Blue Sox is lucky to part of a community where the family the athletes say with feels like family.

If you are interested in hosting the athletes come summer time, please go to http://www.holyokesox.com/site/featured/com-post-headline/ for more details. In thanks for proving accommodations for the Blue Sox players, Blue Sox would like to show their appreciation by giving the hosting families:
  • Benefit: Host Family immediate members will receive a season pass allowing them general admission access to ALL regular season games, home and away.
  • Photos in-season with you player(s)
  • Invitations to ALL Holyoke Blue Sox special events
  • Special Discounts on summer clinics and Blue Sox merchandise
  • T-Shirt for each immediate family member
  • Get in return: Lots of love, smiles and great memories! (http://www.holyokesox.com/site/featured/com-post-headline/)
The Holyoke Blue Sox are also interested in looking for highly motivated individuals that have an interest in sports management and/or advertizing and marketing. The Holyoke Blue Sox are a Major League Baseball affiliated organization and is run as such. If you are interested in garnering experience in taking part in helping run a sports team, this is a perfect opportunity for you.

The volunteers with be able to interact with the players, sponsors, coaches and fans. Such duties the volunteers with perform are:

  Promotions and Marketing-where you will help coordinating contests, sporting events, sponsor nights, etc.
 Concessions-you will help with ordering and restocking the food concessions and merchandise. Web site management-this involves working with a website manager on updating Blue Sox’s website.
 Team maintenance-this is being on the road and packing food for the road trips, making sure the equipment is on board and safe, as well as conversing with the players and having a good time.
Please go to holyokesox.com for more information.

Going to games, hosting baseball players, and volunteering with helping run a sports team is a great way to have fun, meet people, learn valuable skills, and take part in the Holyoke community by engaging with interesting people. Please visit holyokesox.com on how to become part of such an enhancing experience.

Not in My Backyard!


Residents in Holyoke are clashing with state officials’ plan to allow the building of a parking lot (through the use of a special permit) in some residential areas in order to help businesses. Home owners feel that having a parking lot in their neighborhood would change the neighborhoods’ environment for the worse.

On Wed., August 6, at 6:30 P.M. at City Hall, the City Council Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board held a hearing deciding whether or not the wishes of the business owners or of the home owners will be listened to about building a parking lot in residential areas in Holyoke.

Martha G. Robinson commented that, “Nobody wants to live next to a parking lot… Owners of businesses in residential areas would benefit, but homeowners would see their property values and quality of life bear the brunt of this ordinance.” (http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/ 2011/04/holyoke_proposal_to_allow_park.html).

The staff at Gary Rome Auto Group would love to hear your opinion about this issue.

Why Improve Our Businesses When We Can Tax Others?

I was talking to someone awhile back about Walmart. The person I was talking to said that she hates Walmart. I asked why. She didn’t say “because Walmart mistreats their employees and are rude and dishonest.” [I’m not saying Walmart does or doesn’t do these things, I am just giving hypothetical reasons someone might give for thinking that Walmart is unethical.] She said the reason that she hates Walmart is because Walmart sells everything; because Walmart sells things cheaply and contains all different types of merchandise they end up putting small local “Mom and Pop” stores out of business.

The person I was talking to feels that Walmart is unethical because other stores go out of business because they can’t compete with Walmart’s vast stock and cheap prices and that it’s wrong for Walmart to succeed while many smaller stores go out of business. While I didn’t respond this way to her at the time, I thought of responding: “I see. So because Walmart is better than their competitors, this makes them bad. You want a Harrison Bergeron type of society where those who are richer, or smarter, or better looking than others should be punished for being so. Walmart is a business that is trying to attract customers by selling things people want at a cheaper price than anywhere else. How is this unethical? It’s better that the more business—savvy store be forced to shut down to make room for those small stores that are more expensive and less convenient than Walmart according to you. Why should someone be punished for running a business well? If someone studies and works hard and is the only student to get an A on a test so there is no grade inflation for the rest of the class, according to you this A student is unethical because now that he got an A no one else’s grades can be inflated and it’s his fault. I’m sorry, but I disagree.”

What this little story of mine shows seems to be a popular notion today. A lot of people feel that it’s not fair that there are people who are attractive, smart, and rich when there are those that aren’t and that it’s justice to level the playing field by taking away from those with advantages and giving it to those with disadvantages. While you’re entitled to your opinion, I’m also entitled to mine. If the only way you can give charity is by robbing from millionaires then don’t give charity. Leave charity to those who can give to the poor without stealing from others (yes, even if those others are millionaires). Why is our country turning into the characters from Raising Arizona who feel that it’s okay to take from others who they deem to “have enough already”?

On April 5, The Retailers Association of Massachusetts plans to unveil its "Main Street Fairness Coalition" at a legislative hearing. The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is made up of local merchants who want people to pay a sales tax when ordering online. The reason that local businesses have to pay sales tax and online businesses don’t is “because of the Quill Corp. vs. North Dakota decision [which rules that] states can only require a company to collect sales taxes if it has some sort of physical presence in the state.” (http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinion/x719609407/ Chesto-Retailers-fight-back-against-Amazon). The Quill Corp vs. North Dakota decision gives online stores an advantage local stores don’t have.

Local stores feel that the way to stop losing business is for the government to impose sales tax on online stores. This proposal hopes to level the playing field. Of course there are numerous reasons why people shop online and not in stores that has nothing to do with sales tax. Sales tax is only part of the issue. First of all, online stores have shipping and handling fees which local stores don’t have. But of course, you don’t hear the local stores mentioning this advantage.

If local stores really wanted to get people coming to their stores this would entail lowering their prices and having a wider selection of merchandise. But why lower your prices and make less money when you can have online stores raise theirs? (Or in the above analogy, why study hard to get an A when you can have grade inflation?).

The meeting will take place on Beacon Hill where Massachusetts will decide if this new legislation will get passed. According to Representative Martin J. Walsh, a Dorchester Democrat who supports the bill charging online businesses with having to pay sales tax, “This is less about collecting taxes and more about a question of fairness. This levels the playing field for retailers in Massachusetts who are losing sales to the Internet.’’ (http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/04/06/ retailers_push_for_e_commerce_sales_tax/).

States such as IllinoisNew York and Rhode Island have already agreed to charge a 6.25% sales tax, effective July 1st 2012 for online stores that have buildings located in any of those 3 (so far) states (and dozens of more states are proposing to adopt this bill as well).

“According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states missed out on an estimated $8.6 billion in 2010 from failing to collect sales tax for online and catalog purchases.” (http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/04/06/ retailers_push_for_e_commerce_sales_tax/).

The problem I have with this bill isn’t so much that customers have to pay sales tax when ordering online, but the reason that this bill is introduced in the first place. It’s one thing if some states decided to propose this bill, but instead this is coming out of local businesses. It seems obvious to me that these businesses only have self interest in mind, which is okay but at least admit that’s the reason for this bill. Don’t pretend it’s about leveling the playing field when it’s really about money. Local businesses are losing money and they feel this bill will increase sales at local stores. The fact that this bill may increase sales to local businesses but will certainly cause people to spend more money online isn’t the concern of local businesses.

Do local stores really believe the way to attract customers is to isolate them by adding online expenses to people? Why don’t local stores ease the burden on customers by lowering their own prices instead of lobbying the government to raise the prices (through the use of sales tax) of their online competitors? Is the only way to get people to shop at your stores is by taking away the advantages of others? There are advantages to buying in stores already, such as having your item right away and knowing what condition the product is in instead of having to wait a week for online stores to deliver. Customers who shop online have to pay shipping and handling fees that they don’t have to pay when shopping at a local store, but I don’t see the online stores complaining to the government about this.

There are always advantages and disadvantages that both groups have. Isn't better to try to get rid of the disadvantages instead of spreading them to others? Well I guess it’s true what they say: “The best defense is a good offense.” The staff at Gary Rome Auto Group (who have both local and online stores, so we aren't part of the problem) would love to hear your thoughts on this—which only costs 6.25% of your purchase.

The Hyundai Equus Ultimate

The 2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate has a nice sporty look to it. The car design has a strong, sleek look to it without drawing attention to itself.

What makes the Hyundai Equus Ultimate such an ultimately enjoyable experience are all the cool new features that the Hyundai Equus Ultimatecontains. The 2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate has a heated steering wheel, seats which can be heated and cooled, a refrigerator in the rear console, an entertainment system in the rear of the car, and power sunshades are a just a few of the features that the Hyundai Equus Ultimate contains.

The Equus has two seats in the back of the car. In between the two seats is a console which stores the entertainment system. The back seats (unlike many cars, which only give this feature to the front seats) can recline as well as massage the passengers. All this makes no only driving but sitting in the Equus a pleasurable experience.

The 2011 Hyundai Equus has Hyundai’s exclusive dealership experience. All you have to do to get a routine checkup and maintenance is click on the service application on the I-Pad (which comes with the car) and make for a technician to come and take your car to get a checkup.Hyundai’s exclusive dealership experience gives you an Equus or Hyundai Genesis until your car comes back from the dealership (after the routine maintenance).

With all these unique features, comfortable seats, and nice sleek look, make the 2011 Hyundai Equus the car to buy.

“Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?”

Some teachers in Amherst, MA want the community to grow more food. Brian Donahue, an environmental history professor at Brandeis is speaking on March 30 at 7 P.M. in Town Hall about growing more food. Donahue’s speech is called, “Growing More Food in Amherst: Public Responsibilities and Opportunities” (http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/ 03/amherst_officials_want_residen.html). John Gerber, a professor at the University of Massachusetts is also leading a campaign to help residents from Amherst take part in growing more food. Gerber is trying to make it easier for people to get a raise chickens. Gerber’s goal is to get ordinary people in Amherst to raise chickens as a way to help contribute to the producing as food as well as having people become more self-sufficient. Gerber also mentions that there is around 100 acres that could be used for farming, instead of growing hay to feed animals (which is how the land is currently being used). Gerber says that people can do more in terms of growing more food. Such ways to do this are by raising chickens and other farm animals, supporting local farmers and markets and having people have their own gardens and growing vegetables from there. Gerber says that, “we need a lot more people involved if we’re going to make the kind of changes [to grow more food]” (http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/ 2011/03/amherst_officials_want_residen.html).  Gary Rome Auto Group hopes that Donahue’s speech and Gerber’s advocacy will be successful. Thanks to modern technology and know- how, there are ways to combat food shortages. The staff at Gary Rome Auto Group hopes that increasing the amount of food and decreasing starvation will be successful and lead to even more ways to combat food shortages in the near future.

Not Everyone Gets a Defense Lawyer? What Kind of Country Do You Think We Are Running Here?

Why is it that some of the best quotes I’ve heard have been on Youtube and on public internet forums? I remember reading a comment that a person wrote on YouTube. The topic was on the dealth penalty and about the argument that the death penalty saves money so that’s why it should be implemented. In response to this a person (who goes by the username, “kjmehal”) wrote, “’It's cheaper’ So? Our justice system should be about JUSTICE not about money.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSwZ2_4yFrI –page 4). I agree with kjmehal. Now, I’m not voicing my opinion on the death penalty, simply the idea that justice is bought. It is a sad truth, but this is the case. I don’t call the justice system the justice system, but the legal system. I call it the legal system for a few reasons. One, what is justice is arguable. Lawyers, jurors, and judges don’t have a monopoly on justice. Plenty of things are laws which are unjust and plenty of things are unjust which are allowed. Justice is something to discuss, it’s not an absolute that any system can determine. What is justice isn’t so clear (if it even exists at all). What the judges and lawmakers decide isn’t what is just but what is legal. It’s very arrogant for someone to think that they are the arbitrator of justice. The so called justice system determines what is allowed, not what is right, since what is right is a matter of debate and while society’s rules might be legal that doesn’t make them just. For instance, slavery and segregation were allowed, but were they just? During the 1950s, while segregation was certainly legal, it wasn’t certainly just. While I am a pretty hardcore libertarian, I believe that there are a few things people have a right to. John Locke said that people have a right to “life, liberty, and property.” I agree. I feel that what our tax money should go to is to try to punish people who take away those three things from others as well as making sure people who are threatened with people having their “life, liberty, and property” taken away from there are entitled to a defense. The law should protect everybody. I don’t believe in the shifting of power roles or taking something from one person and giving it to another, but everyone is entitled to a defense. If the legal system really cares about justice as it claims, then people shouldn’t have to buy justice; that’s called bribery. Once someone puts a price on justice, you lose all respect for the law. There is a famous joke about a guy who sees a woman on the street and offers her money if she will go to bed with him. “I will pay you a million dollars to go to bed with me,” the man tells the woman. “Okay,” is her response. “How about one dollar? I’ll give you a dollar if you sleep with me,” the man says. “What kind of a person do you think I am?” the woman responds. “What kind of person you are we’ve already established; now we’re just talking price,” the man states. This joke, like the best jokes, has truth to it. If it’s wrong to pay a person a dollar for sex, paying them a million dollars doesn’t make it right, it shows that their morals can be bought. Justice should have no price tag. Justice can be bought unfortunately (isn’t that what lobbyists are for?) and occurs daily, but that doesn’t mean it should continue. There are a few things in our LEGAL system that makes sure everyone gets a defense, but it seems that there are people who want to take this away. Gov. of Mass., Deval L. Patrick wants to change the current system of providing legal representation to poor criminal defendants. Patrick proposes to hire 1,000 additional full-time state attorneys instead of having the state pay private lawyers to represent the poor criminal defendants. “Gov. Deval Patrick recommended that oversight of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPSC) be moved to the executive branch of the state government, and has proposed budget cuts to CPCS and the private bar-advocate program. “(http://www.masscounsel.org/2011/03/09/more-criticism -about-proposed-changes-to-the-massachusetts-public-defense-system/) Patrick says that he wants to save the taxpayers’ money, since private lawyers are expensive. Patrick feels that hiring private, independent lawyers cost more than having lawyers employed by the state. The private lawyers that Patrick wants to get rid of come from nonprofit organizations that are made to help represent poor defendants. There have been many critiques about what Patrick is proposing. According to attorney and bar advocate, Susan Edgett: Bar advocates have been accused of being expensive to the state. But in 98 percent of cases handled by bar advocates, the state pays $50 a billable hour. Out of that amount they are required to pay the costs to maintain their own malpractice insurance, pay their own self-employment tax, and maintain an office with the overhead expenses of computers, paper, and telephone. While not required, if a bar advocate chooses, he or she may obtain at his or her own cost medical/dental/life insurance, continuing education, pension benefits, and office support staff. Conversely, many of these items are provided to the district attorneys’ offices and none of them are included in the $92 million budget often cited by the district attorneys. Should Patrick implement his new public-defender model, these cost benefits will have to be paid by the taxpayer.” (http://www.masscounsel.org/2011/03/09/more-criticism -about-proposed-changes-to-the-massachusetts-public-defense-system/) David P. Hoose, president of Hampden County Lawyers for Justice, which administers the private bar advocate program in Massachusetts has been a lawyer for 31 years. Hoose said, “The best system for providing indigent defense is the one that we have here in Massachusetts. Not only the best for providing quality indigent defense which we should all be concerned about but it is the best bang for your buck.” (http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/ 2011/03/lawyers_ask_legislators_to_der.html). Hoose also mentions that defense lawyers who represent poor defendants hardly get rich out of defending them. Hoose mentions that defense attorneys represent poor defendants because they believe that everyone deserves a defense and that the lawyers believe that their clients are innocent. Anthony C. Bonavita, a lawyer who does a large amount of bar advocate work, said “that lawyers who take cases as bar advocates are businessmen who in turn spend money in the city on office rent, meals, business supplies and other things.” (http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/ 03/lawyers_ask_legislators_to_der.html). “Bonavita said after doing his tax return he wondered ‘why I continue doing this, I’m probably crazy....But, you do continue doing this because you have a passion for it, and you love the work and the bottom line is you’re trying to help people.’” (http://www.masslive.com/news/ index.ssf/2011/03/lawyers_ask_legislators_to_der.html). Former Northampton District Court Judge W. Michael Ryan criticized Patrick’s proposal, saying, “ “If Governor Patrick truly believes that our system of justice is expensive wait until he sees the price tag of the injustice system he has proposed” (http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/ 2011/03/lawyers_ask_legislators_to_der.html). It seems that Patrick has many people criticizing his proposal. They are saying that what Patrick plan on doing won’t save the tax payers money. What will end up happening if Patrick succeeds in his goal is not just costing the taxpayers more money, but will have the poor be represented by lawyers less skilled and qualified than the lawyers they have now. One wonders how what Patrick is proposing is just. What do you think of what Patrick is proposing? What do you think the goal of the legal system should be? What do you think about the points I brought up? Gary Rome Auto Group would love to hear your thoughts on what you feel justice is and what Patrick is doing. So please share your thoughts, there is no need to plead the Fifth here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Hyundai Elantra Named One of the "Top Ten Cars to Look Forward to in 2011" by CarsDirect.com

CarsDirect.com's editors named the 2011 Hyundai Elantra one of the "Top Ten Cars to Look Forward to in 2011" on their new Pricing Insider Blog. The all-new Elantra encompasses all of Hyundai's latest ambitions including modern design, advanced safety technologies and best-in-class 40 mpg highway fuel economy. In the very competitive compact car segment, the Elantra stands out with "class-above" mid-size car interior volume, a new 1.8-liter "Nu" engine and a low starting price point of $14,830.

"Compact-car buying used to be a compromise with consumers settling for affordable, fuel-efficient cars without style, space, or luxury amenities," said Scott Margason, director of product planning, Hyundai Motor America. "The 2011 Elantra challenges the current compact sedan segment, offering a sleek, sophisticated look and affordable price tag, while still returning 40 mpg of fuel economy."

CarsDirect.com is the leading multi-brand online car buying service, providing new and pre-owned automobiles and related products and services. Their "Top Ten Cars to Look Forward to in 2011" list highlights the very best cars that they believe 2011 has to offer.

"Hyundai [has] pulled it off and delivered a car that not only challenges the compact status quo, but seemingly has the competition totally outgunned," said CarsDirect.com editors. "With a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine producing a respectable 148 horsepower, the Elantra has plenty of power for a compact—especially when you take into account that it has more power than the industry benchmarks, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

"But what really sets the Elantra apart is its incredible fuel economy. Rated at 29 City/40 Highway mpg, the Elantra is nearly untouchable in its class. Moreover, with its thoroughly modern body style, the Elantra looks and feels more advanced than its Japanese rivals. Even with a new Civic due next year and a new Corolla planned for 2013, we believe this generation of Elantra will enjoy its spot at the top of the compact car hierarchy."

Joining the Elantra on the CarsDirect.com list are the Nissan Leaf, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Volt, Audi A8, BMW 1-Series M Coupe, Ford Explorer, Buick Regal GS, Fiat 500, and Ford Focus. For more information about the "Top Ten Cars to Look Forward to in 2011" from CarsDirect.com visit: http://pricinginsider.carsdirect.com/tag/top-10-cars-to-look-forward-to-in-2011/.

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through about 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.

Friday, February 25, 2011

HYUNDAI CELEBRATES ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY IN THE UNITED STATES

With gas prices at $1.20 per gallon, financing topping 10 percent APR and airbags emerging as the latest safety technology, the auto industry looked much different 25 years ago when Hyundai brought its car to the United States. Today, with a full line-up of award-winning products, Hyundai Motor America celebrated its 25th anniversary in the U.S. on February 20th, focused on the new challenges and exciting opportunities that the next 25 years will bring.

Since its start in 1986 with the humble Excel, Hyundai has grown into a full-line producer of cars and crossovers, from Accent to Equus, from Tucson to Veracruz. Since the company’s arrival, Americans have put 6,608,208 Hyundai vehicles in their driveways, with more than 4,350,000 still on the road today. In 2010, sales topped 538,000, making Hyundai the sixth best-selling brand in the country, behind only Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, and Chevrolet. U.S. production capacity has grown to over 400,000 units of Sonata, Elantra and Santa Fe models produced in modern assembly plants in Alabama and Georgia. Hyundai engines and transmissions are produced here, too. Direct U.S. employment totals more than 4,000, with total employment including suppliers and dealers of over 45,000. Hyundai’s commitment to the U.S. market includes engineering, design, testing, production, sales, and marketing. In all, Hyundai’s investments in the U.S. total $1.7 billion.

Hyundai’s heritage is built on earning the trust of its owners. Every Hyundai sold since the 1999 model year comes with what remains the industry’s best warranty – a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and a 5-year, 60,000-mile vehicle warranty. Over the years, Hyundai has partnered with its owners in deeper ways, through good and bad times, and now offers a comprehensive suite of programs under the Hyundai Assurance banner that includes America’s Best Warranty, five years of unlimited mileage roadside assistance, and the innovative job-loss protection program.

As Hyundai grows, so do its aspirations. Last year, Hyundai established the most aggressive fuel economy goal in the industry, committing to a 50 miles-per-gallon-plus fleet average by 2025. This strategy, which falls under the banner “BlueDrive,” includes the aggressive implementation of a range of new, affordable technologies such as direct injection, turbocharging, internally-developed transmissions, and lightweighting. In parallel, Hyundai’s engineering teams are developing new fuel cell and battery solutions to help provide alternative solutions beyond the internal combustion engine.

Hyundai’s pursuits are not limited to the automobile. Hyundai Hope on Wheels is the united effort of Hyundai Motor America and its more than 800 dealers across the U.S. to help children fight cancer. We are dedicated to raising awareness about childhood cancer, celebrating the hope of the brave children battling the disease and finding a cure through our support of the best pediatric cancer researchers in the country. A portion of every Hyundai sold goes directly to this fight and more than $23 million have been donated since 1998.

“As far as we’ve come since 1986, we still feel we’re in the early stages of connecting the Hyundai brand to the U.S. consumer,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “We’ve always challenged convention – from our powertrain strategies, to our consumer partnership programs, to our unique Genesis and Equus retail approach. It’s authentically Hyundai to question the status quo and pursue our own vision of how things should be in order to best serve our customers. This willingness to challenge convention will continue to guide us these next 25 years.”

Hyundai’s model lineup now offers 12 distinct cars and crossovers – with more on the way. Hyundai’s immediate future includes three exciting new models arriving at showrooms through summer. The Veloster, a unique 3-door 40-mpg sporty coupe featuring Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics solution, will join all-new 4-door and 5-door versions of the Accent, which will also deliver 40 mpg. Hyundai’s award-winning Genesis gets a thorough face-lift and new engines and transmissions, with the performance-focused Genesis R-Spec and its all-new 429-horsepower Tau 5.0L V8 engine making its first appearance.

Hyundai’s anniversary present still awaits; a state-of-the-art headquarters based in Fountain Valley, Calif. is slated for completion in late 2012. The new campus doubles the size and capacity of the current building, giving Hyundai and its employees an environment conducive to growth as it prepares to help write the next chapter of a great American success story.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hyundai Elantra heats up competition with Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze

The very first thing I said to myself when I sat down in the 2011 Hyundai Elantra was "Well, this is going to screw things up."

For months, I have been advocating that the best compact cars were imported from Detroit. (Hey, maybe I should copyright that line before some carmaker steals it?) The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and 2012 Ford Focus were far and away my top picks for mainstream compact car transportation. But now, I'm not as sure. The 2011 Hyundai Elantra is simply gangbusters in nearly every category.

It has the looks of Hyundai's all-new Sonata, which is awesome. It gets better gas mileage than most subcompact cars. It comes with out-of-this-world amenities, such as second-row heated seats, a crystal-clear navigation system, and more than 43 inches of legroom in the front row. And it has a starting price under $15,000, giving it a dollar to luxury quotient of incredible.

Realistically, the base-model Elantra GLS feels more like a price statement than a civilized modern machine. It only comes with a six-speed manual, and things like air conditioning, cruise control and 16-inch wheels are optional. Lots of carmakers pull off this stunt.

But it's when Hyundai starts adding options that the Elantra begins to feel like a bargain. A top-of-the-line Elantra Limited starts at $21,980 — both the Cruze and Focus can still cost thousands of dollars more.

My fully loaded Limited was a cocoon of luxury and leather, at a cost of $22,000. The 7-inch, high-resolution monitor at the top of the center stack provided a crisp navigation system that's easy to use. There is also a slew of technology features that are quickly becoming the norm on many compact cars: Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone operation, voice recognition and push-button start.

Hyundai also adds a proximity feature, which unlocks the door when you touch the handle — meaning you don't have to pull your keys out of your pocket to unlock the door. It's a feature that you never knew you needed until you start using it. Stunning interior delivers

The interior is simply stunning.

There's an elegant center stack that roughly resembles an hourglass. Throughout the cabin, waves of luxury roll through every surface, reflecting an emotive design. At the top of the center stack is a sliver of blue light that cuts out of the dash and relays information. At night, the cabin fills with a soft blue light that is easy on your eyes — and your night vision.

The instrument panel includes two chrome-trimmed gauges and the same blue lighting. Every individual piece looks and feels well crafted, and together, they combine into a masterpiece.

Even the comfortable seats offer just the right touch of environmental sensibilities with lightweight, eco-friendly foam. It's only a seat, but, somehow, you feel better about it. Then again, you also feel better because it's heated — in the front and back row.

Hyundai also has managed to help the environment another way: The Elantra hits 40 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in the city. Unlike the Cruze and Focus, which reach 42 mpg and 40 mpg, respectively, those cars need special fuel-efficient models to do that. Hyundai does it with all of its cars — not a small difference. Responsive, peppy engine

The little 1.8-liter dual overhead cam four-cylinder engine with dual-continuously variable valve timing provides 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. Its performance on Detroit's streets was good. The engine is peppy and the six-speed automatic transmission in my test vehicle was extremely smooth — almost too smooth. It changed gears quickly and rarely rewarded me with that gear-shifting lurch. Lots of carmakers do this to improve fuel economy, but in the Elantra it was more noticeable. There is a manual override on the automatic that allows more aggressive drivers to get more out of the engine and the car.

On the road, the electric motor driven power steering was very linear and precise. I would have preferred more resistance the farther I moved the steering wheel, especially at highway speeds, when the Elantra felt a little twitchy.

However, it was comfortable on the highway and driving at low parking lot speeds, something to remember for people who drive in heavy traffic. It was also extremely quiet, making it all that much better to sit back and enjoy the 360-watt optional stereo system.

And a stereo is important — as this car is so good looking it should come with its own soundtrack. Exterior is modern classic

Hyundai says the exterior is the next step in its fluidic sculpture design language.

No matter what you call it, the fifth-generation Elantra looks sharp. The wheels are pushed out to the edges, but not so far to disrupt the car's proportions. The small grille above and below the bumper help define the Elantra's face, while the angular fog lamps provide dimples to the car's smile. It looks modern and classic in the same breath.

There is also nice definition along the car's side, with the A-line moving through both door handles and then through the rear tail lamp. While it has all the trappings of the Sonata — the first fluidic design car to enter Hyundai's lineup — I like the Elantra more. The Sonata is almost overdone with all of the sharp edges. But with the Elantra, the designer seemed to know when to put the pencil down. Sometimes the best design happens when you stop.

Inside and out, the Elantra seems to offer more and more.

The Cruze and Focus may have set a new standard for compact cars, but the Elantra raises the bar even higher.

That's not good news for carmakers, which now have to re-evaluate their next compact offering.

But it's fantastic news for consumers.

Friday, February 11, 2011

2012 Hyundai Genesis Offers its Most Powerful V8 Powertrain With Further Design and Chassis Refinement

New 5.0-liter V8 R-Spec Model, Enhanced Direct Injection V6 Engine and New Eight-speed Transmissions Significantly Improve Driving Dynamics and Refinement

Hyundai's award-winning Genesis sedan continues its segment leadership with exterior design improvements, new direct injection technology for its Lambda V6 engine, new eight-speed automatic transmissions, and enhanced chassis tuning. In addition, a new 5.0-liter direct injection V8 engine is now available exclusively with the 5.0 R-Spec model, which includes unique 19-inch machined-finish alloy wheels, optional Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 summer performance tires and sport-tuned transmission, suspension and steering calibrations for exhilarating vehicle dynamics.

2012 Genesis Highlights

* New 5.0-liter R-Spec Direct Injection V8 performance flagship model added
    - Most powerful Hyundai engine ever with 429 horsepower
    - Unique 19-inch alloy wheel design with premium machined finish
    - Dark chrome headlamp inserts
    - Unique R-Spec sport transmission, suspension and steering calibrations
* Direct injection technology added to Lambda 3.8-liter V6 engine for 15 percent improved output (333 HP), improved fuel economy and emissions
* In-house-developed eight-speed automatic transmissions for all engines
* More aggressive grille and front fascia design
* New headlight design with LED accents and daytime running lights
* Sportier rocker panel design
* Folding mirrors with integrated puddle lamps
* New, brushed aluminum finish window surround
* Redesigned rear taillights
* Redesigned rear fascia with integrated dual asymmetrical exhaust tips
* New 17-inch alloy wheel design (3.8 model)
* New interior woodgrain colors for Black, Beige and Saddle leather interiors
* New Twilight Blue Pearl exterior color (replaces Sapphire Blue Pearl)

NEW 5.0 R-SPEC: MOST POWERFUL HYUNDAI V8 ENGINE EVER

The heart of the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec model is a new Tau V8 engine producing 429 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 376 lb. ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm. This new Tau V8 represents the most powerful Hyundai engine ever, with a higher specific output (85.8 hp/liter) than its normally-aspirated premium luxury competitors. For 2011, the Tau V8 engine family has again been named to the prestigious Ward’s Ten Best Engines for the third consecutive time.

Genesis 5.0 Competitive Set 5.0 R-Spec
5.0-liter V8
Lexus GS460
4.6-liter V8
Infiniti M56
5.6-liter V8
M-B E550
5.5-liter V8
Normally-aspirated V8
Specific Output (HP/liter)
85.8 74.3 75.0 69.5
The 5.0-liter cylinder bore was increased from 92 mm to 96 mm over the 4.6-liter bore for a total displacement of 5.0 liters (5,038cc). In addition to the enlarged displacement, direct injection technology has been added. This high-pressure direct injection system (over 2200 psi), dramatically increases power and torque while reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Compression ratio has been increased from 10.4 to 11.5:1 for greater thermal efficiency and output. The Tau also receives a revised bed plate for improved block rigidity and lower NVH as well as camshaft carriers and a roller timing chain to improve valvetrain stability.

5.0 R-Spec Direct Injection Tau V8 Engine

Even more, this new V8 still offers all of the premium engine technology from the 4.6-liter V8, including Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT), a tuned variable induction system, and low-friction diamond-like coatings (DLC) on piston skirts, rings and tappets. Even with these impressive power increases, fuel economy is estimated at 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, nearly matching the 4.6-liter V8 (17 mpg city/26 mpg highway). As an additional point of interest, this same 5.0-liter Tau V8 with eight-speed transmission will replace the current 4.6-liter V8 as the standard powertrain in the 2012 Hyundai Equus premium luxury sedan, on sale this summer.

The Tau 5.0-liter V8 is coupled with a new in-house eight-speed transmission. This new Hyundai-developed transmission adds two additional ratios to enhance acceleration, shifting smoothness, and transmission efficiency by six percent over the former six-speed. All eight-speed transmissions will include SHIFTRONIC® manual shift capability. This new eight-speed transmission is the first offered by a non-luxury branded manufacturer.

Hyundai-developed eight-speed automatic transmission

In keeping with Hyundai engineering philosophy, the R-Spec also will include more aggressive chassis tuning, matching its corresponding powertrain enhancements for optimal dynamic balance. For enhanced body roll control, front stabilizer bar diameter has been increased from 25 mm to 26 mm, and rear diameter from 18 mm to 19 mm over the 4.6 model. R-Spec will offer a unique sport design 19-inch alloy wheel with premium machined finish and optional Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 summer performance tires. The R-Spec steering calibration has been matched to this unique wheel and tire combination for optimized performance and driving refinement expectations in this segment. To complete the performance package, front brake rotors have increased from 13.0 inches to 13.6 inches over the 2011 4.6 model.

In addition to the more aggressive styling cues for all 2012 Genesis models, R-Spec will offer unique headlights with dark chrome inserts for a more distinctive front appearance. An R-Spec trim designation badge has been added to the rear deck, and black R-Spec embroidered floor mats daily remind the driver of the performance that awaits behind the wheel. Genesis R-Spec only will be offered in three sport-oriented exterior colors: Black Noir, Titanium Gray, and Platinum Metallic, each with Black leather interior and an all-black leather steering wheel for a differentiated sport appearance from the 4.6 model.

2012 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec

DIRECT INJECTION LAMBDA 3.8-LITER ENGINE

In keeping with its 5.0-liter V8 sibling, the Genesis 3.8-liter Lambda engine will receive direct injection (GDI) technology, boosting its output 15 percent from 290 to 333 horsepower, an impressive gain of 43 horsepower with no increase in displacement. In addition, peak torque rises from 264 lb.-ft. to 291 lb.-ft., a generous increase of 27 lb.-ft. from the same 3.8 liters. Compression ratio increases from 10.4:1 to 11.5:1 for greater thermal efficiency. This new direct-injected Lambda V6 produces a higher specific output (87.6 hp/liter) than its normally-aspirated premium luxury competitors.

Genesis 3.8-liter GDI Competitive Set GENESIS
3.8-liter GDI V6
Lexus GS350
3.5-liter V6
BMW 528i
3.0-liter V6
M-B E350
3.5-liter V6
Normally-aspirated V6 Specific Output
(hp/liter)
87.6 86.6 80.0 76.6
The 3.8-liter engine retains all of the premium technologies that have made it outstanding since the launch of Genesis: Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT), variable induction, all aluminum block and heads, steel timing chain, and iridium-tipped spark plugs. Besides the generous horsepower and torque gains, direct injection technology produces a significant reduction in emissions through a 40 percent reduction in catalyst light-off time. Further, a variable vane oil pump has been fitted to precisely match oil pressure with engine lubrication requirements for increased efficiency at all engine speeds. As a result, 3.8-liter GDI fuel economy increases over seven percent from 27 mpg to 29 mpg on the highway.

2011 Genesis 3.8-liter Engine vs. 2012 Genesis 3.8-liter Direct Injection with eight-speed automatic

Engine Horsepower Torque
(lb-ft)
Fuel Economy (mpg)
City Highway
Lambda 3.8-liter V6 Direct
Injection with eight-speed
automatic transmission
290 → 333 264 → 291 18 → TBD 27 → 29
3.8-liter Direct Injection Lambda V6 Engine

All 3.8-liter engines will be coupled to an in-house-developed eight-speed transmission with SHIFTRONIC and precisely calibrated gear ratios for an overall transmission efficiency gain of six percent. These two additional ratios serve to achieve competing objectives of acceleration and economy without compromise.

AWARD-WINNING TAU 4.6-LITER V8 ENGINE WITH EIGHT-SPEED AUTOMATIC

For 2012, Genesis' award-winning Tau 4.6-liter V8 powerplant will now be coupled exclusively with an in-house-developed eight-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC, adding benefits in acceleration and efficiency. Internal engineering tests estimate this new eight-speed transmission to be six percent more efficient at transferring power than the former 6-speed automatic, increasing highway fuel economy from 25 mpg to 26 mpg.

This same 4.6-liter Tau V8 engine was already significantly improved for 2010 with induction and tuning enhancements increasing peak output from 375 to 385 horsepower. A variable intake system, iridium-tipped spark plugs, anti-knock control, and multi-port injection further add to the sophistication of this engine.

2011 4.6-liter Tau V8 vs. 2012 4.6-liter Tau V8 with eight-speed automatic transmission

Engine Fuel Economy (mpg)
City Highway
Tau 4.6-liter V8 with
eight-speed automatic transmission
17 → 17 25 → 26


CHASSIS REFINEMENT FOR 3.8 AND 4.6 MODELS

Always seeking to enhance the Genesis driving experience, Hyundai engineers have made further refinements to the 3.8 and 4.6 model suspension damping calibrations. These precise adjustments serve to minimize the traditional compromises between handling precision and ride comfort. In addition, body roll control for the 3.8 model is enhanced, with the rear stabilizer bar diameter increasing from 17 mm to 18 mm. Braking is also improved on both the 3.8 and 4.6 models; the 3.8 model front rotor size increases from 12.6 inches to 13.0 inches, while adding by higher performance 4-piston brake calipers, and the 4.6 model front brake rotors increase from 13.0 inches to 13.6 inches for greater fade resistance.

EXTERIOR DESIGN

Not content to rest on their laurels, Hyundai's design team has sought to make a great Genesis exterior design even better for 2012. For the front view, the front grille has been enhanced, a more aggressive front fascia with larger intake openings was developed, and the headlights have been redesigned, adding LED accents and daytime running lights (DRLs). From the side view, the standard 17-inch alloy wheel design has been freshened and the rocker panels have been refined. In addition, the mirrors now incorporate power-folding and puddle lamp functions, while the side window surround now receives a decidedly sporty brushed aluminum finish. From the rear view, the taillights have been redesigned and new dual asymmetrical exhaust tips are more cleanly integrated with a new bumper fascia.



NEW SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES

Maintaining Hyundai's emphasis on delivering leading safety technology, Genesis boasts world-class active and passive safety features to help both prevent accidents and maximize the well being of its occupants in the event of a collision. Genesis continues the Hyundai tradition of standardizing key life-saving safety technology with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), eight airbags and electronic active head restraints. Active front head restraints have been proven by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to help prevent whiplash.

Adding to this safety leadership for 2012, Genesis adds new daytime running lamps to all models. Further, Genesis offers a newly-developed Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), available on the 3.8 Technology package, 4.6 and 5.0 R-Spec models.

Genesis' total of eight airbags includes advanced dual front airbags, front and rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and roof-mounted side curtain airbags for both front and rear outboard seat occupants.

Genesis has a total of eight ultrasonic sensors located on the front and rear bumpers. The sensors, along with the rear backup camera, help detect how close objects are when parking. Distance is indicated on the in-dash screen and accompanied by an audible warning tone.

Genesis is brought to a halt by large four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). Genesis 3.8 models now have large 13.0-inch front rotors with four-piston fixed calipers, while 4.6 and 5.0 models have oversized 13.6-inch front rotors.

NEW TECHNOLOGY AND FEATURES

Genesis 3.8 Standard Equipment
2012 Genesis also will increase its impressive list of standard equipment, adding headlight LED accents and daytime running lights (DRLs) and outside mirror puddle lamps.

Genesis 3.8 Premium Package
The 3.8 Premium Package will now offer newly-developed power-folding outside mirrors and heated rear seats with console controls. For 2012, the 3.8 Premium package will also include rearview camera, DVD navigation system with seven-inch touchscreen, XM NavTraffic, and 18-inch Hyper Silver split-spoke alloy wheels.

Genesis 3.8 Technology Package:
The 3.8 Technology package will continue to satisfy tech-savvy buyers, adding a newly-developed Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), and thin-film-transistor LCD gauge cluster readout.

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program which now includes the 5-year/60,000 mile fully transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty, Hyundai's 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty and 5-year complimentary Roadside Assistance in addition to the highly acclaimed vehicle return policy introduced in early 2009. For more details on Hyundai Assurance, please visit www.HyundaiAssurance.com.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Crowd-Pleasing Composition in 3 Movements

WHEN it comes to describing precisely what makes the 2011 Hyundai Sonata so undeniably excellent, the structural metaphor that applies best is, obviously, the crunchy taco.

What makes a great taco is its shell. If the shell is fresh, crisp and robust, it doesn’t get soggy quickly or crack and crumble, and the flavor of what’s inside will shine. Chicken, steak or pork carnitas, it’s all tastier when served in a perfectly fried corn tortilla taco shell.

Before Hyundai stuffed the all-new version of its midsize front-drive sedan, it built a great shell. By forgoing the option of a V-6 engine (unlike most of its rivals, as well as the previous-generation Sonata), the car’s basic structure could be optimized around 4-cylinder engines, which take up less space.

So the nose doesn’t have to cover a wider V-6, the engine bay doesn’t require the strength to carry a heavier V-6 and room need not be made for an exhaust system evacuating two banks of cylinders. Dozens of other less obvious challenges were also avoided. By sticking with 4-cylinder engines — in mild naturally aspirated, spicy turbocharged and righteous hybrid flavors — Hyundai made it easier to engineer a relatively lightweight, rigid and efficient shell.

There’s nothing exotic or even clever about the Sonata’s structure. It’s a standard steel unibody with a pair of MacPherson struts constituting the front suspension and a multilink independent rear suspension. Hyundai has just sweated the details better this time than it ever has before.

Size-wise, the new Sonata’s dimensions are almost right atop the Honda Accord sedan; the Hyundai’s 110-inch wheelbase is just 0.2 inch shorter than the Honda’s and the Sonata is within a half-inch of the Accord in overall width, height and wheel track. The “almost” lies in overall length, where the Sonata’s 189.8 inches is 4.3 inches shorter than the Accord. But despite that, the Sonata offers virtually the same interior room (the back seat is a little tighter) and 16.4 cubic feet of trunk space compared with the Accord’s 14.

Based on the interior volume, the Environmental Protection Agency rates the Sonata, like the Accord, a “large” car. But the Sonata, styled in Hyundai’s California studio, is a swoopy, sleek, streamlined looker compared with the aging Accord, which is blandly boxy from the blunt face of its fuddy to the trailing edge of its duddy.

The Sonata has the “four-door coupe” profile of a Mercedes-Benz CLS or a Volkswagen CC, without those cars’ compromised interior space. That’s a slick trick.

Fortunately, Hyundai didn’t stop thinking when it stuffed the Sonata’s shell. Even the base GLS, which starts at $19,915, includes nice touches like a pull-down handle built into the trunk lid and, below the ventilation controls, two easily accessible 12-volt power points, a USB port and an audio jack. The ventilation controls themselves are neat, featuring a human pictograph for choosing where the flow of air should be directed.

There’s a thoughtfulness that runs throughout every 2011 Sonata that pays off in nearly perfect ergonomics, nicely shaped seats, easily scanned instrumentation, standard Bluetooth cellphone integration with the sound system and an overall feeling of quality that Hyundai has frankly never even approached before.

This isn’t a small step forward for the South Korean company; the made-in-Alabama Sonata is a thumping bound to the front of its class.

The standard Sonata engine is a direct-gasoline injection 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with variable valve timing, a sky-high 11.3:1 compression ratio and a relatively long crank stroke for better torque production. Rated at 198 horsepower in the GLS and the more luxurious Limited, and at 200 in the sporty-trim SE, the engine is sweet natured until about 5,000 r.p.m. — after which it gets a bit ragged.

But the slick part of the Sonata’s drivetrain is the transmission. A 6-speed manual is standard on the base car, the GLS, but virtually all buyers will take the 6-speed automatic. Built by Hyundai itself, that transmission is a paragon of electronically controlled self-shifting virtue; the gears are perfectly spaced with fifth a 1:1 direct drive and sixth an overdrive. The transmission can be shifted manually using the floor-mounted shifter, but why bother?

Combine the GLS automatic’s modest 3,199-pound unloaded weight (about 80 pounds less than a comparable Accord) with the drivetrain’s talents and the result is a federal rating of 22 miles per gallon in the city, 35 on the highway and 28 combined — again slightly better than the Accord.

Car and Driver magazine tested a Sonata SE with the automatic and it waltzed to 60 m.p.h. in 7.8 seconds — nearly a second quicker than the 2010 Accord EX to which it was compared.

The real treat, however, lies in the new turbocharged Sonata 2.0T. Using a shorter stroke, smaller bore, 2-liter version of the same direct-injection engine, the intercooled turbocharger installation whips the output up to a robust 274 horsepower with outstanding torque from off-idle to the 6,500 r.p.m. red line — and does so on regular-grade gas.

No, the turbo 4 is not as silken as the V-6s from Honda or Toyota, but operating through the 6-speed automatic produces effortless thrust, excellent acceleration (0-60 in 6.2 seconds, again according to Car and Driver) and impressive fuel economy. The E.P.A. rates the Sonata 2.0T at 22 m.p.g. in town and a noteworthy 33 on the highway.

All that additional power does, however, point up some of the weaker elements. The suspension is a touch too soft and the speed-proportional electric power steering seems to vary its assist a half-beat behind the driver’s moves.

And since the turbo engine is available only in SE and Limited models, prices start at a dizzier $24,865. Yet considering the amount of equipment aboard, that still seems like a bargain.

The final variation on the Sonata theme is the Hybrid. The hybrid system itself is technically interesting and the redecoration of the car’s nose is pure funk, but the most significant element in how it drives is the same 6-speed automatic used in other Sonatas.

While most hybrids use a continuously variable transmission without fixed gears, the Sonata’s conventional gearbox makes for a more conventional driving experience. The Sonata Hybrid’s recalibrated version of the same 2.4-liter decelerates with the gear changes. For those of us who despise the engine drone associated with CVTs, that sound is a relief. Otherwise, the drivetrain machinations of the Hyundai hybrid system are almost invisible as long as the car is driven moderately.

In fact, if it weren’t for the electro-luminescent instrument panel and the liquid-crystal display between the tachometer and speedometer that graphically encourages economical driving, many drivers wouldn’t notice much difference between the Hybrid, with 206 horsepower (166 horses for the gas engine and 40 more for the electric motor) and the regular Sonata GLS. But they will notice the Hybrid’s stunning E.P.A. rating: 40 m.p.g. on the highway and 36 in the city.

The Sonata Hybrid just went on sale at a starting price of $26,545 — almost $1,000 less than the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which isn’t as well equipped and has a lower mileage rating.

Of course the Sonata isn’t perfect. Some will find its high beltline — the line below the side windows — disconcerting. The turbo model’s lack of a manual transmission keeps it from being a performance leader. And there are still some interior switches that operate raggedly. But this is the first car Hyundai has sold in America that’s so good and so keenly priced that any buyer shopping in its market segment must seriously consider it. It’s the first unavoidable Hyundai.

That’s why it is doing so well. Some 200,000 of the new Sonatas have been sold so far, Hyundai says. After all, everyone loves a tasty taco.