Hyundai continues to light up Piccadilly

KOREAN firm Hyundai has confirmed it will retain its place on the iconic Piccadilly Lights in central London.

The advertising landmark and tourist hot-spot will display the brand’s advertising until October 2018, helping Hyundai to raise awareness of its brand, following an initial two-year agreement signed in 2011.

Tony Whitehorn, CEO of Hyundai Motor UK, said: ‘We have had a prominent position on the world-famous Piccadilly Lights for nearly two years now. During that time, Hyundai has increased sales and market share in the UK.

‘The new five-year partnership will help further build the Hyundai brand and enable us to share Hyundai imagery and information through one of the most prominent and renowned advertising spaces in the world.’

A recent study into footfall around the lights during core daytime hours found that over a week-long period, an estimated two million people passed the iconic site. Of these, 1.38 million were on foot, increasing their chances of viewing Hyundai’s advertising, raising awareness of the brand.

Whitehorn added: ‘Hyundai’s sales growth in the past few years has been driven by a new generation of vehicles that demonstrate our European focus in terms of design, quality and technology. Now, we want to further raise awareness of the Hyundai brand, and the Piccadilly Lights will play a key role during the next five years in appealing to and engaging with new and existing customers.’


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Hyundai cars stuck at sea

A boat carrying the first shipment of updated Hyundai Equus luxury sedans to the US has reportedly become stranded at sea.

According to USA Today, the Morning Spruce ship carrying 61 Hyundai Equus luxury sedans from South Korea to the US has lost power.

Boat-spotting website had reportedly shown the ship indicating a zero speed record for several days, first in the Okhotsk Sea near Russia, then later in the North Pacific. At the time of writing, the ship was no longer searchable.

Hyundai North America has confirmed the cars will be delayed, but suggested to the paper that it is unconcerned about losing the cars at sea as shipping delays are a regular occurrence. However, it will have to reschedule the launch of the car in the States.


The 2014 Equus has seen a minor update with new front-end styling and a refreshed interior.

Hyundai Australia says it isn’t planning on launching the Equus sedan here anytime soon, but is still investigating the potential for the slightly smaller Genesis luxury model to be sold here.


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Hyundai building $200 million US headquarters in Fountain Valley

Construction on Hyundai’s new U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley–alongside the I-405 freeway–is part of the South Korean car company’s expansion.

Hyundai sold 703,000 cars in the U.S. in 2012 and has outgrown the Fountain Valley facility it moved into more than 20 years ago.

“We simply needed a larger building,” said Chris Hosford, a spokesman for Hyundai Motor America, which distributes Hyundai cars in the United States.

So Hyundai demolished its old building in Fountain Valley and is spending $200 million on a new facility that will more than double its size to 500,000 square feet.

But the company thought about moving elsewhere, including Irvine. City of Fountain Valley officials said Alabama, where Hyundai has a manufacturing plant, was also on the list of possibilities. Fountain Valley didn’t offer Hyundai any financial incentives, but Hyundai decided to stay there.

UC Irvine economics professor Jan Brueckner said foreign car companies are drawn to Orange County.

“They want to keep in touch with the trendy parts of the United States, where fashion trends and car trends are set,” Brueckner said.

Hosford also said keeping talented employees is important.

“There is a great, very talented workforce from which we can draw here in Southern California,” Hosford said. “There are a lot of people that are knowledgeable about autos here in Southern California and that’s important to us in recruiting people.”

And, Hyundai said it already owned the land and liked its visibility on the I-405.

While Hyundai is staying put in the Golden State, some other companies—including auto companies—have taken incentives to relocate operations elsewhere.

In 2005, Nissan said it would move its U.S. headquarters from Gardena to Tennessee – along with about 1,300 jobs. A driving force behind that move was economic incentives. While it worked financially for Nissan, many employees stayed behind.

Steven Lam is one of those who stayed. He loved his job, but not enough to move to Tennessee.

“My whole family is here,” said Lam, who now owns an auto repair shop in Irwindale. “I have my parents here and they are starting to get a little older. I’m married and we were planning to have kids so we wanted to have family around for that.”

If Nissan stayed in California, Lam said he would probably still work for the company.

Larry Perrault also refused to move – and he’s from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. But he worried about possible discrimination because he’s gay.

“I would have lost benefits … as well as job protection because I have several friends I knew that have lost jobs just because of who they are in the state of Tennessee,” Perrault said.

Perrault now works for Hyundai. He will join as many as 1,300 workers from Hyundai (and affiliated companies) that will move into the new Fountain Valley headquarters. About half of the jobs will be for subsidiary Hyundai Motor America, with a focus on sales and marketing.

The building, which will be completed at the end of this year, has a capacity for 1,400 people–which could mean more jobs in the future.

Hyundai’s decision to stay in Orange County also benefits the area economy. Fountain Valley City Manager Ray Kromer said the company is the city’s largest foreign employer.

“We’re looking at it strictly from jobs,” Kromer said. “Also, those people will go out and eat lunch and they will be buying at the Costco, etc. and all the other stores in the area. We think it will have a big financial impact on us.”

Kromer says Hyundai pays the city $20,000 to $25,000 in property taxes each year.

U.S. sales for the company’s cars continues to increase.

But David Whiston, an equity analyst for Morningstar, said Hyundai has started to lose market share to other companies like Ford and Nissan.

“They’ve got sort of a good problem in that they can’t keep up with U.S. demand right now,” Whiston said. “I think they are ultimately going to have to bite the bullet and built more factories in the U.S.”

But Hyundai spokesman Chris Hosford says there are no plans to open any U.S. factories in the near future.


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Hyundai Suicide Ad Draws Criticism, Company Pulls Ad and Issues Apology (VIDEO) Read more at

After numerous complaints regarding an online ad campaign for Hyundai’s zero-emission car depicting a suicide, attempt the car company decided to remove the ad.
The advertisement was taken down on Thursday after the commercial, which depicts a man trying to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, was deemed “dangerous” by suicide prevention organizations. They said the ad undermined the serious nature of suicide.
“We know from research that graphic depictions of suicide in the media can inadvertently lead to further suicides … This advertisement was particularly graphic and potentially dangerous. We are pleased that Hyundai has decided to pull this campaign,” Robert Gebbia, executive director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said in a statement.
The Hyundai suicide ad depicted a man trying to commit suicide when he connects a hose from the exhaust pipe and puts the other end inside the car. He seals the car’s windows and then proceeds to inhale the fumes.
Ultimately his attempt fails because the car used in the ad was Hyundai’s new iX35, which runs on hydrogen and only emits water vapor.
Hyundai pulled the car suicide ad a week after it first aired and immediately issued an apology.
“We at Hyundai Motor America are shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt in an inappropriate European video featuring a Hyundai. Suicide merits thoughtful discussion, not this type of treatment,” the company stated.
The company added that the suicide ad was created by the overseas ad agency Innocean Europe and added that the ad agency had no connection to Hyundai’s operations in the U.S.
Holly Brockwell, a blogger who is also an advertising copywriter, wrote to explain that her father committed suicide in the same manner and warned that the ad was the wrong way to advertise for a new car.


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BMWs cheaper than Hyundais in Korea as tariffs crumble Read more:

Lee Tack Young says Hyundai Motor Co’s luxury vehicles are oversized, overpriced gas guzzlers. So he opted for a more modest alternative: a BMW 528i.
Foreign brands have seen their share of South Korea’s market for premium vehicles surge to 41 per cent from 28 per cent in the past two years, according to Korean industry groups, as lower tariffs make their cars cheaper and local buyers abandon a decades-long preference for domestic brands.
“I was looking for a quality car that wasn’t too big,” said Lee, president of Cosmetic Engineering, a packaging-machinery maker near Seoul.
The 65-year-old’s last seven cars were all Korean, starting with a Hyundai Excel in the 1980s.
This time, he chose his 71 million won ($US64,000) BMW over an 85 million won K9 from Hyundai affiliate Kia Motors Corp.
“Unless Hyundai and Kia change and offer me more variety and better quality, I don’t see any reason to go back,” Lee said.
The shift has made South Korea a growth market for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi. Their gains are coming at the expense of Seoul-based Hyundai and Kia, which count on sales of luxury vehicles in their home market for much of their earnings.
“It’s definitely something Hyundai and Kia are worried about, and they should be worried,” said Lee Sang Hyun, an auto analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co.
“This trend will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on Hyundai’s profits.”
Duties on European imports have fallen to 3.2 per cent from 8 per cent since a trade pact was implemented in 2011, and next year they will be eliminated for most cars. A US deal has halved tariffs for passenger vehicles to 4 percent and will eliminate them by 2016.
Boy’s dream
BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz — the world’s largest luxury automakers — all saw Korean sales rise by at least 25 percent in the first quarter, faster growth than in China. Hyundai’s high-end sales fell 4.7 per cent in the period as the country’s overall auto market shrank 2.2 per cent. The three German companies sold 18,114 vehicles costing more than 40 million won in Korea in the quarter, versus 31,444 for Hyundai.
“Sure, it’s every boy’s dream to have a German car, but that wasn’t the most important reason,” said Park Jun Bum, 28, who traded his Kia Forte sedan for an Audi A4 a few weeks back.
“Audi offered better design, engine, safety – better quality overall.”
Sticker prices for the Hyundai Equus – the company’s most luxurious model – range from 68 million won to 151 million won. BMW’s 5-series runs 61 million won to 113 million won, though the Equus is closer in size to the BMW 7-series, which starts at 124 million won.
Test Track
Hyundai’s profit fell 15 per cent last quarter, squeezed by Japanese competitors boosted by the weakening yen.
This year, Hyundai says its sales will likely rise at the slowest pace since 2007.
Investors have taken notice. Hyundai’s stock this year has underperformed all major automakers. Its Seoul-traded shares have fallen 12 per cent, versus a 12 percent gain for Daimler and a 24 per cent increase for the Bloomberg Industries global auto index. Hyundai fell 0.3 per cent in Seoul trading today.
BMW is planning a range of new models and investing 70 billion won constructing a track in the Korean city of Incheon where customers can test drive its cars at high speeds, its first such facility in Asia. Mercedes-Benz says it will add A-Class hatchbacks in the second half of the year in a bid to lure customers in their 20s to 30s.
To fight back, Hyundai this month cut the price of mid-sized sedans by as much as 1.5 million won. The automaker is developing diesel engines, which have become popular in the imported brands. And it’s remodeling some dealerships and service centers to better compete with the upscale digs offered by the Germans.
Soft Side
Hyundai has considered creating a separate luxury brand, like Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus or Honda Motor Co.’s Acura. For now, the company has ruled out the idea in favor of selling its higher-end models under the Hyundai nameplate.
“We will continue our efforts to enhance brand value and increase premium car sales,” Chief Financial Officer Lee Won Hee said in April.
Kim Pil Soo, a professor of automotive engineering at Daelim College in South Korea and an adviser to the government, said Hyundai must promote its extensive dealership network and comparatively cheaper maintenance costs to win back domestic buyers.
“They should focus on the soft side,” Kim said.
Still, the recent change in the Korean auto market won’t be reversed easily, especially since both younger and older buyers are considering imports rather than domestic brands. And with more than 45 percent of the market, Hyundai still has plenty of share to lose.


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Car keys to lead police in identifying MRT suicide victim

MANILA, Philippines – The Makati Police is now scouring the vicinity of the Guadalupe Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 station for a parked Hyundai vehicle in the hopes of identifying the man who leapt to his death on Wednesday morning on the path of a northbound train from the station’s platform.

MRT-3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III told reporters the victim had no identification documents with him when he jumped to the tracks at 8:15 a.m. When scene of the crime investigators searched his body later, a key for a Hyundai vehicle was found inside his short pants pocket.

“A key for a Hyundai car was found in his pocket. The Makati Police is now searching the streets of Guadalupe for a Hyundai car that could belong to the victim and lead to his identification,” said Vitangcol.

Vitangcol told reporters that the man entered the Guadalupe MRT station and did not act suspiciously.

“He looked like an ordinary passenger as he entered the station with his ticket. At exactly 8:15 a.m., he leapt at the tracks and was pinned under it. He died instantly,” he said.

Vitangcol said the suicide managed to paralyze the MRT’s operation for almost two hours. The train’s operation returned to normal by 11:30 a.m.

Makati Police chief, Sr. Supt. Manuel Lukban confirmed that the incident was a suicide and that the victim was not pushed off the platform.

“Initial investigation shows that the victim was not pushed,” he said.

Lukban said the victim was wearing a sky blue T-shirt and is about 30 years old. The victim was pinned in between two coaches and was dragged some 30 meters by the train before it stopped, police said.

Lukban said the Makati Police would also be requesting a copy of a footage taken by a closed circuit television camera at the terminal from the MRT management to aid its probe of the suicide.


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Hyundai India to launch four new models in 2 years, aims to take on Dzire, Amaze – See more at:

Hyundai Motor India is planning to launch up to four new models in the next two years, including a compact SUV, to enhance its position in the market.

The company, which is slated to introduce a new compact car later this year, is also mulling taking on Maruti Suzuki’s Dzire and Honda Cars India’s Amaze with a new sub-four metre sedan.

“Compact SUV is a very lucrative segment India. I think we are a bit late but we are developing a compact SUV to be launched soon,” Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) Managing Director and CEO Bo Shin Seo said here.

Company officials said the compact SUV is part of HMIL’s strategy to launch up to four new models in the next two years.

When asked if the company planned to launch a sub-four metre sedan from the same platform as its upcoming compact car codenamed BA, Seo said :”That’s a different car.”

He declined to share further details but sources said the entry level sedan could hit the market between 2014 and 2015.

Dzire and Amaze qualify for the excise duty benefit, enjoyed by small cars in India. At present, any car with a petrol engine capacity under 1,200 cc or diesel engine under 1,500 cc, but length shorter than four metres, attracts an excise duty of 12 per cent.

Besides, HMIL is also studying the multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) segment, where Maruti has tasted success with Ertiga.

“The MPV segment is also fast growing, we are definitely looking at it but our priority will be the compact SUV,” Seo said.

On the upcoming compact car, he said apart the model will be positioned between the company’s i10 and premium hatchback i20.

“Apart from the domestic market, we will be exporting it. We expect it to be our largest selling model,” Seo said.


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