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Hyundai future products: New entries seek upscale niches

Mon, 22 Aug 2011

Hyundai will continue to enter new product segments, including upscale niches, while keeping lower-priced models fresh over the next three years.

The Veloster sporty coupe will join the lineup this fall, and a turbocharged version comes next summer.

A redesigned Azera sedan debuts in the final weeks of this year, and a two-door Elantra will go on sale next spring. Short- and long-wheelbase versions of the Santa Fe crossover will be offered when the vehicle is redesigned next year.

Further down the road, Hyundai will launch a more luxurious SUV, a dedicated plug-in hybrid sedan and a sport sedan to compete with the BMW 3-series.

Accent: The Accent which has been on sale since July, was redesigned for the 2012 model year. A new 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection four-cylinder from Hyundai's Gamma engine family replaces the old four-banger.

Genesis: The high-performance Genesis R-Spec sedan was added for the 2012 model year as the top trim level of Hyundai's mid-sized luxury car. The R-Spec gets 429 hp and 376 pounds-feet of torque from a new 5.0-liter gasoline direct injection V8 engine teamed with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

An updated 3.8-liter V6 engine powering the base Genesis adds gasoline direct injection technology for 2012, helping to boost output by 15 percent to 333 hp and torque by 10 percent to 291 pounds-feet.

In 2013 the Genesis will get new sheet metal and a new interior, as well as a re-engineered platform with major improvements, including all-wheel-drive.

Veloster: Hyundai's sporty coupe will arrive in showrooms in September. The Veloster features a hatchback roofline and third door on the passenger-side rear. Powering the Veloster at launch will be a 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine and Hyundai's first dual clutch transmission. A turbocharged version will debut next June or July with a turbocharged version of the 1.6-liter engine producing around 200 hp.

Azera: A redesigned Azera will make its North American debut at the Los Angeles auto show in November and will go on sale just before the end of the year. The sedan will reflect the brand's fluidic sculpture design language, a major change from the current Azera's tame styling. Power will come from a new Lambda II 3.5-liter V6 engine with gasoline direct injection technology producing more than 300 hp.

Hyundai wants to capture Sonata owners looking to move up within the brand without going all the way to the Genesis. Executives also expect the front-wheel-drive layout to appeal to buyers in cold-weather states, where the Genesis' rear-wheel-drive system can be a deal breaker.

Genesis Coupe: When the Genesis coupe is re-engineered for the 2014 model year it will share the Genesis sedan's more upscale interior and comfortable ride.

In the meantime, the 2013 Genesis Coupe will get the gasoline direct injection 3.8-liter V6 that powers the base model 2012 Genesis.

Elantra: An Elantra coupe will debut at the Los Angeles auto show in November prior to its sales debut in the second quarter of 2012.

No significant updates are planned for the sedan until the 2013 model year, when it is scheduled for a freshening.

Elantra Touring: A restyled version of the compact wagon is scheduled to launch next year, possibly in the summer. The updated Elantra Touring will continue to ride on the platform of the i30 sold in Europe, but styling will draw heavily from the U.S. market Elantra sedan's fluidic sculpture design concept.

Santa Fe: The SUV will be redesigned in the fall of 2012, using a new platform. Hyundai will offer both short- and long-wheelbase variants, but a source says the versions may launch at different times. Sources say the long-wheelbase Santa Fe is being added to accommodate a third row of seats.

Tucson: After being redesigned for 2010, a freshening for the Tucsonis scheduled for the 2013 model year.

Veracruz: Long-in-the-tooth and slow-selling, the mid-sized SUV will disappear after the 2012 model year. But it won't be gone long.

After a model year in exile, the Veracruz is expected to return in more luxurious and upscale form for the 2014 model year. The redesigned Veracruz is expected to launch early in 2013.

Sonata: While a hit in the United States, the dramatic, swoopy lines of the Sonata have gotten a cool reception in the South Korean market. To address that a restyled version of the sedan, with styling expected to be more conservative, will be launched in the United States sometime in 2014 as 2015 model.

Equus: Topping out at more than $65,000, the Equus sedan was Hyundai's opening salvo into true luxury territory when it debuted in the fall 2010. For the 2012 model year Hyundai's halo car gets the new 5.0-liter V8 engine used in the Genesis R-Spec.

No major updates are planned for the Equus until 2014 at the earliest.

Sports sedan: Work is under way on Hyundai's oft-rumored answer to the BMW 3-series but it is unlikely to appear before 2013. The sporty sedan will be derived from the rear-wheel-drive platform used for the Genesis. Styling is expected be marked by aggressive lines more akin to the Genesis Coupe than the Genesis sedan or Equus.

Plug-in hybrid: Hyundai is developing a plug-in hybrid sedan that will arrive in the United States in either the 2013 or 2014 model year. Details are sketchy, but the car will be a dedicated plug-in hybrid, not a variant of an existing model.

By Ryan Beene- Automotive News