Hyundai Launches Premium Models, New Brand Direction
- All-new premium sedan Azera launched in overseas market for the first time
- The new Yuedong, Hyundai’s best-selling model in China, is also unveiled
- Hyundai announces new “Modern Premium” brand direction in China
at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show
Hyundai Motor Company, the world’s fastest-growing major automaker, introduced its premium sedan Azera and its new brand direction to the Chinese market at the 2011 Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, as part of the company’s strategy to further enhance its presence in the world’s biggest auto market. Hyundai also unveiled its new Elantra Yuedong, its best-selling model in China.
On display were other vehicles encompassing premium values, such as the Sonata and Veloster, as well as eco-friendly vehicles including the Sonata Hybrid, BlueOn electric vehicle and sedan-style fuel cell electric vehicle concept Blue2
(read as Blue square
), demonstrating Hyundai’s great styling and advanced technology. These products, among other changes at the automaker, all reflect Hyundai’s new brand direction.
“We know that today’s customers are changing. So Hyundai must change,” said Jerry Shin, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor. “Today’s customers no longer want overpriced cars filled with unnecessary technology. That’s yesterday’s idea of premium. Therefore, we have created a new definition of premium; we call it Modern Premium.”
Mr. Shin announced Hyundai’s new brand slogan, “New Thinking. New Possibilities.”, presenting two examples of how new thinking created new possibilities.
“Old thinking says that only expensive cars have luxury features. New thinking produced our new Azera. With elegant `fluidic sculpture’ styling and a host of luxury features, Azera looks much more expensive than it is. Old thinking says that a coupe must have two doors. New thinking created our all-new Veloster. With three doors, Veloster has the style of a coupe and the convenience of a sedan.”
The Azera (badged as Grandeur in some markets) is Hyundai’s top-selling premium large sedan. Since it was launched in 1986, Azera has evolved greatly to its current fifth generation, with cumulative sales reaching more than 1.25 million units as of 2010.
While the all-new Azera was launched in the Korean market earlier this year, Hyundai chose China as the first market to showcase its premium large sedan outside its home market, showing its aggressive push to raise its presence in the upscale segment in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.
The new Azera is the result of three-and-a-half years of research and development, with an investment of 450 billion won (approximately US$413 million*). The goal was to create an entirely different large sedan that harmonized sophisticated design with significantly improved performance, safety, fuel economy and convenience features.
* According to currency exchange rates as of April 18 in Seoul.
Hyundai’s designers created a futuristic design concept, called “Grand Glide,” evoking powerful, elegant flight. Based on this concept, the exterior styling of the Azera is realized in a grand and progressive style that harmoniously connects dynamic character lines and striking surfaces.
The “Grand Glide” styling is carried into the Azera’s interior, as the center console, instrument cluster and dash are integrated into a graceful design that recalls the image of expressive, expansive wings.
The Azera projects a sporty yet refined exterior look (overall length: 4,910mm; overall width: 1,860mm; overall height: 1,470mm). Moreover, a 2,845mm-long wheelbase -- 65mm longer than the previous version -- delivers the most interior room in its class, as well as greater stability and a smoother ride.
Equipped with a standard six-speed automatic transmission, the new Azera comes with two powerful and fuel-efficient gasoline engines: The new Lambda II 3.0 MPI (maximum horsepower: 250ps / maximum torque: 28.8kg•m / fuel economy: 10.2km/ℓ) and the Theta II 2.4 MPI (maximum horsepower: 180ps / maximum torque: 23.6kg•m / fuel economy: 11.1km/ℓ).
*All specifications and features are limited to the Chinese market.
New Elantra Yuedong
Hyundai today also unveiled its new Elantra Yuedong, which has been one of its best-selling models in China. The new Elantra Yuedong has been upgraded in both style and performance, to enhance competitiveness in the biggest segment in China. The Azera and new Elantra Yuedong are scheduled to hit showrooms in the first half of this year.
The Elantra Yuedong was exclusively designed and developed for the Chinese market, reflecting Chinese consumers’ needs and preferences. Since its launch in April 2008, cumulative sales surpassed 500,000 units in only two years and seven months, reaching about 620,000 units to date. On average, 20,000 units are sold monthly.
The Elantra Yuedong has been upgraded in every aspect, while its main satisfaction points, such as its dynamic style, great fuel economy and outstanding convenience features, have been retained.
In terms of exterior design, the new Elantra Yuedong has been upgraded in 13 areas, including the sunroof, head lamps, front bumper and fog lamps, projecting a more dynamic look. Inside, higher quality materials were applied, to give a more sophisticated look and feel.
The face-lifted Elantra Yuedong will be equipped with two types of engines: The Gamma 1.6 and Beta 1.8 engines. A number of new convenience features are applied to the model, including a supervision cluster, smart key / button start, front side airbag, Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS), Navigation, USB2.0 port and eco-driving guide system.
Elantra Yuedong competes in China’s biggest segment, which surged from 2.11 million units in 2008 to 3.24 million in 2009 and 3.95 million in 2010. Moreover, this segment is expected to further expand up to 6 million units by 2013, according to industry forecasts. Hyundai is confident the new Elantra Yuedong will exceed its predecessor’s outstanding sales performance, with its improved design and powerful performance.
Beijing Hyundai Motor Company (BHMC), a 50-50 joint venture between Hyundai Motor and Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., has been posting record growth since its establishment in 2002. Although it sold only 50,000 units in its first full year of sales, this figure skyrocketed to 570,000 units in 2009 and continued to jump to 703,000 units last year. Together with its importing arm, Hyundai Motor China (Sales & Marketing H.Q.), Hyundai posted sales of over 735,000 units last year. When BHMC’s third plant is completed by 2012, Hyundai will produce up to one million units a year in China, while also increasing top-line imports from Korea.
After achieving such spectacular quantitative growth, BHMC will now focus more on qualitative growth. As part of its efforts to enhance brand competitiveness and strengthen its localization strategy, BHMC announced its new local brand positioning, ‘Intelligent and Stylish,’ which takes root from Hyundai’s new global brand direction, ‘Modern premium.’
“Beijing Hyundai is entering a new phase,” said Jae-man Noh, President of BHMC. “We will enhance the quality of consumers’ lives and their auto-related lives through our new brand positioning, ‘Intelligent and Stylish.’”
In line with its new brand strategy, BHMC recently launched Hyundai’s multi-award winning Sonata. Hyundai’s all-new, game-changing Sonata has proved its success in many markets worldwide since its debut in September 2009. BHMC expects the Sonata to penetrate China’s upper market consumers, strengthening Hyundai’s premium brand image.
1.6 Gamma T-GDi
Hyundai displayed some of its most advanced technologies at Shanghai, including its latest powertrain, the new 1.6 Gamma T-GDi engine. This engine boasts improved performance and response due to an intake cooling effect achieved as fuel is injected directly into the cylinders. Fuel consumption and exhaust emissions are remarkably reduced due to stable combustion. Furthermore, fuel efficiency is improved by 10 percent compared to I4 2.4L engines with similar levels of power through downsizing, reduction of turbo-lag and as a result of increased performance. With 1,591 cc displacement, 1.6 Gamma T-GDi delivers a maximum output of 208ps and a maximum torque of 27 kgf·m. The Lambda 3.0 GDi engine was also showcased, which boasts a maximum output of 272ps and a maximum torque of 31 kgf·m.