General Motors is the undisputed king of recalls for 2014. No one is going to contest this point. The American company is far from the only one with vehicles that need fixing, though, as Hyundai has announced another recall totaling 419,000 vehicles in three separate campaigns.
The majority of the vehicles affected come from the Santa Fe family, where 225,000 of the model year 2001 to 2006 CUVs will need their front springs replaced. It seems that the early Santa Fe's coils can rust and crack when subjected to frosty temperatures and the road salt that so often accompanies them. Should they fracture, it's possible that a crash would be the end result.
As this is an issue linked to road salt, only Santa Fes sold in 20 states - from Maine to Iowa and Wisconsin to West Virginia - are affected. Vehicles sold in Washington, D.C. are also covered in the recall.
Meanwhile, the Sonata sedan is getting dinged with another recall, the nameplate's third in less than three weeks. This time, the 2011 model is at fault, with 133,075 vehicles that could be leaking brake fluid, thanks to a bad seal between brake hose and the brake-line fitting.
Finally, the Veracruz is facing a recall, with 61,122 of the SUVs suffering from potential alternator failure. This issue is caused by a bad valve cover gasket in the front cylinder bank, which could cause oil to leak on the alternator causing the vehicle to stall or refuse to start.
None of these issues have lead to any crashes or injuries, although the Santa Fe's spring issue has resulted in 1,200 warranty claims and 90 cases of the spring contacting the tire, according to the Associated Press. As is usually the case, repairs on each vehicle will be conducted free of charge, while Hyundai plans to have notified owners of all affected cars and SUVs by the end of September.
Scroll down for the trio of bulletins from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Continue reading Hyundai recalls over 419k vehicles in three campaigns
Love it or hate it, the Nissan Juke has drawn attention to itself and to its maker. Little wonder, then, that Hyundai wants to follow a similar formula.
According to our compatriots over at Edmunds, Hyundai has a whole raft of new products in the works - as you'd expect from the world's fourth-largest automaker - including replacements for the current Tucson and Elantra sometime next year, but also a subcompact crossover to target the Juke, not to mention tiny softroading rivals like the forthcoming Chevrolet Trax. Details at this point are few and far between, but it appears Hyundai is committed to making it as zany as the Nissan it will target. The Korean automaker revealed the Curb concept (pictured above) along similar lines at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.
Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski tells Edmunds not to expect a mini Tuscon, but to "Think of maybe something that looks like a Juke or something that has edgy, dynamic styling." Considering how off-the-map Hyundai went with the Veloster and its unconventional array of doors, we know the Korean automaker can think outside the box for this Gen-Y crossover. Whether the edge tiny CUV market has space for more than the Juke, however, is another matter. One way or another, look for the tiny Korean crossover to arrive sometime in 2017.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong in a car, some more vital than others. Automakers try their best to make sure they don't, but things slip through, like the shift cables on the Hyundai Sonata.
Hyundai and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found that, on 883,000 units of the MY2011-2014 Sonata manufactured between December 11, 2009, and May 29, 2014, the shift cable in the transmission is prone to detach from the shift lever. As a result, the gear indicated and the gear engaged might not match, which could set the vehicle in motion unexpectedly. Worse than that, the Park position might not engage altogether, and without the hand brake pulled, that could lead the car to roll away without warning.
In an entirely separate recall affecting a much smaller number of 2015 Sonatas, Hyundai has found that the front brake calipers could fracture. This second recall affects a relatively small 5,650 units manufactured between April 25 and June 16, 2014.
In both cases, Hyundai is instructing owners to bring in their vehicles to have the parts repaired (in the case of the shift cables) or replaced (in the case of the brake calipers), but in the latter instance, it's also warning owners not to drive their cars until the issue is addressed. Find details of both recalls in the notices below.
Continue reading Hyundai recalls 883k Sonatas over detaching shift cable
Episode #391 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Mike Harley and Brandon Turkus talk about the appointment of Kumar Galhotra to run Lincoln, changes coming for Scion, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, and which cars won't live into 2015. We also take a quick detour to talk about the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype, which Mike Harley just came back from driving. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #391:
2015 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype
New boss at Lincoln
Scion xB, iQ ending soon
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Cars that won't live to 2015
In the Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Michael Harley, Brandon Turkus
Intro and Garage - 00:00
Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge - 30:05
Kumar Galhotra to Lincoln - 34:32
Scion Changes - 43:58
Dodge Charger Hellcat - 54:25
Discontinued Cars - 01:06:24
Q&A - 01:22:59
Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.
I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.
Beyond knowing that it existed, and occasionally seeing a surcharge for it listed on the specification sheet for a press car I'd been loaned, I didn't really understand how the GGT worked or was calculated.
Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency makes learning about the GGT (and a lot of other stuff) pretty simple. EPA.gov has a clearly written explanation of the tax and the tax schedule. That schedule, operating with miles-per-gallon ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, clearly lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam. Basically, if a car's combined fuel economy rating is 22.5 mpg or higher it's off the hook - trucks, minivans and SUVs are all exempt from the GGT - if the rating is lower, per vehicle taxes range from $1,000 to $7,700 for the very thirstiest.
Continue reading 40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler tax
Just as they did in the Initial Quality Study, Porsche and Hyundai have taken the premium and non-premium crown, respectively, for the 2014 J.D. Power APEAL study. This is the tenth consecutive year for that Porsche has been rated the best premium make in the APEAL study, which attempts to figure out how pleased owners are with their purchases. For 2014, it asked 86,000 owners of MY2014 cars to rate their vehicles in 77 different categories 90 days after their initial purchase. The resulting figures were plugged in deliver the APEAL score, which is rated on a 1,000-point scale.
The industry average sits at 794 points for 2014, although that's a one-percent decline over last year's rating. In this year's study, premium brands averaged 840 out of 1,000, while non-premium makes average 785. For their part, Porsche netted an impressive 882 points, while Hyundai earned an 804. Interestingly, only four non-premium brands (Hyundai, Ram, Volkswagen and Mini) finished above the industry average for 2014.
It's also interesting to see the clear delineation between premium and non-premium brands, with an eight-point gap between the non-premium champ, Hyundai, and the lowest-rated premium brand, Volvo.
Porsche and Hyundai weren't the only automakers to take home recognition. Dodge managed to tie Porsche for the most segment awards, with three. The Challenger, Charger and Dart all topped their market. There were a number of two-segment winners, as well, with Audi, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan capturing a pair of segments each.
Scroll down for the full press release from JD Power on this year's winners.
Continue reading Hyundai, Porsche top J.D. Power APEAL study
Hyundai has managed to get another vehicle on the prestigious Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick +, as its new 2015 Sonata sedan performed admirably in crash testing.
The redesigned Sonata's new look belied an improved crash test in the difficult small overlap front test, where Hyundai's family sedan improved from a "Marginal" score to "Acceptable." Meanwhile, the Sonata's optional Forward Collision Warning system garnered a "Basic" rating on IIHS' three-tier rating scale for these sort of automatic safety systems.
Netting a spot on the Top Safety Pick + list requires a "Good" or "Acceptable" score on the small overlap test, as well as "Good" scores on the four standard tests and some form of automated safety system.
You can view the Sonata's crash test video below, as well as the full press release from IIHS. Scroll down and take a look.
Continue reading Watch the 2015 Hyundai Sonata crash its way to an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating
Despite having revealed the 2015 Mustang many months ago, Ford hasn't divulged the official power and weight specs - until now. Today, we learned that the new 'Stang will produce anywhere from 300 to 430 horsepower, and will weigh anywhere from 3,524 to 3,729 pounds, depending on engine and trim. There's a whole lot more to learn, here.
Forgotten nuclear-powered concept cars
Ah, nuclear-powered cars. A good idea, in theory, especially for the 1950s and 1960s, but in execution, not exactly something that'd be, you know, safe. Looking back, the Atomic Age produced a good number of delightful concept cars, and so we've pulled five of our favorites together for a quick blast-from-the-past list.
Hyundai Azera fate in question
Hyundai has just overhauled its Sonata and Genesis sedans. So where does that leave the fullsize Azera that slots between the two? Executive editor Chris Paukert recently sat down with some Hyundai executives and learned that while a next-generation Azera is indeed in the cards, it might be a Korea-only affair. As of right now, the car's future in the US is unclear.
The Azera has been consistently outsold by its rivals. Through June, Hyundai has shifted just 4,191 units.
Hyundai's dealers call the Azera the "nicest car nobody knows about." That's according to Mike O'Brien, Hyundai Motor America's vice president of corporate and product planning. Indeed, the fullsize sedan is a handsome, well-rounded machine, loaded with creature comforts. Yet it's not selling well, and its space in Hyundai showrooms is about to get a whole lot more crowded thanks to the newly spruced-up 2015 Sonata. No surprise, then, that company officials admit that the model's future in the US is uncertain.
The Korean automaker's Sonata family sedan has all-new styling that's a lot less divisive than last year, with a more conservative, crisply tailored aesthetic that reads upscale, particularly in higher-end trims. It's also larger inside, offers a more refined interior, and comes with more available creature comforts and safety features. In other words, the Sonata's redesign is poised to make the Azera's business case even more problematic, especially as the new midsizer starts at just $21,150.
Introduced at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show as a 2012 model, the Asan, South Korea-assembled Azera is a car that has been consistently outsold by its rivals. Through June, Hyundai has shifted just 4,191 units in 2014 - down from 5,792 cars at this time last year. This, despite the base price on the 2014 model being dropped by $1,250 to $31,000 through standard equipment changes. Compare that to Chevrolet's Impala, which cleared 14,378 units in June and a total of 78,499 this year. Or the Toyota Avalon (5,605 units in June, 32,031 units year to date) and Buick LaCrosse (5,332 units in June and 25,280 units year to date). Even the due-for-replacement Nissan Maxima sold 3,528 models in June and has moved 23,451 so far in 2014.
The The 2015 model-year Azera will be a late arrival this fall, but after that, its fate is an open question.
Hyundai's manager of product planning for Azera and Sonata, John Shon, says he still sees daylight between the newly matured Sonata, the Azera and the company's pricier Genesis Sedan. "We look at it [Azera] as a large car, and as a near luxury car - it sort of straddles that gap. Also, we don't have a V6 engine, the Sonata has a 2.0-liter turbo." Shon continues: "One of the great things about Azera is it's a customer-loyalty product. When we look at who is buying the product, over half the buyers are previous Sonata owners, so it's the move-up vehicle."
But the step up benefit isn't as clear in light of the new Sonata - there's little difference between it and the Azera in terms of cabin space in both specific dimensions like headroom (Azera: 40.3 inches, Sonata: 40.4 inches), overall passenger space (107 cubic feet vs. 106.1) or cargo space (16.3 cubic feet for both). Performance figures are similar between the two (with the exception of fuel economy, where the Sonata is significantly better), and interior materials and refinement levels are similar now, too. It doesn't help that Hyundai hasn't earmarked much in the way of a marketing budget for the Azera, instead preferring to focus on its US-built offerings like the Sonata and Elantra.
The 2015 model-year Azera will be a late arrival this fall, but after that, its fate is an open question. When Autoblog asked Shon if America will see a next-generation model, he admitted, "[That's] to be seen at this particular point... obviously we'll see what the market take-rate for the Sonata is, how the Azera continues to do, how the Genesis continues to do."
There's little doubt that a third-generation Azera will be made, as the car is a strong seller in Hyundai's home market. "That vehicle is a Korean domestic market vehicle," says Shon. "They sell over 100,000 of those a year there. So the vehicle will be built, engineered. Whether we import it into the US is still to be determined."
With the all-new, 2015 Hyundai Genesis Sedan hitting the road, it puts the current Genesis Coupe in a rather weird spot. The sporty model is starting to get a bit long in the tooth, and for 2015, it's dropped its four-cylinder engine in the US. Hyundai isn't letting the car whither on the vine, though. Behind closed doors, the Korean automaker is rumored to be working on a new coupe to transform the vehicle from something of a pony car in the current guise into a luxury grand tourer with avante garde styling.
The next-generation Genesis Coupe would reportedly borrow its design inspiration from the Hyundai HND-9 Sports Coupe Concept from the 2013 Seoul Motor Show, according to Australian site Go Auto. The key to the new model is growing it larger to be able to seat four adults and giving it more grown-up styling at the same time. Go Auto claims that the coupe could finally get a V8 engine option and possibly a V6 and turbocharged four-cylinder in at least some markets, too. It's slated for a possible 2016 unveiling.
Even during the HND-9's unveiling, Hyundai admitted that the concept projected of the design direction for future models. Its styling was certainly a big shift from the current Genesis Coupe with more hard creases, a wide, mesh grille and butterfly doors. The show car also packed a 3.3-liter turbocharged, direct-injected engine with 364 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels.
Hyundai's Australian COO John Elsworth is really hoping to get the model Down Under, according to Go Auto. He believes that while luxury coupes might not be sales leaders, they grab mindshare and get enthusiasts excited about the brand. We like the way this guy thinks.