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Hyundai, Kia to Add Solar Panels on Future Electric Models

Technology expected to extend range, reduce emissions.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.01, 2018

Hyundai says all of its hybrids, starting next year, will have solar panel roofs to help corral more power.

Future vehicles built by the Hyundai Motor Group using electrified drivetrains will start coming with solar roof or hood panels capable of helping charge their batteries, the company says.

The parent of both the Hyundai and Kia brands expects the technology will help boost the range of those vehicles while also reducing emissions by cutting a motorist’s need to charge up using the traditional electrical grid.

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“In the future, various types of electricity-generating technologies, including the solar charging system, will be connected to vehicles,” said Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice president of engineering design at Hyundai Motor Group. “This will enable them to develop from a passive device that consumes energy to a solution that actively generates energy. The paradigm of the vehicle owner will shift from that of a consumer to an energy prosumer.” (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Kia Forte

Ready to compete with small-car standbys: Civic, Corolla, Cruze

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.18, 2018

Despite the segment shrinking, Kia is plowing ahead with small cars with an all-new 2019 Forte sedan.

Given, the popularity of sport-utility vehicles, crossovers and pickup trucks, selling the traditional small car in the U.S. has become a very tough gig as evidenced by Ford giving up on cars and the Volkswagen Beetle is going away.

Meanwhile, cars such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Chevrolet Cruze have gotten better and offer an increasing number of features that shoppers in this segment could only dream about as recently as five years ago

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But that hasn’t discouraged Kia, which is launching an updated version of the compact third-generation Kia Forte this fall. Kia has built its reputation by building smart, stylish small vehicles and now has great ratings from J.D. Power’s critical initial quality survey to assure first-time buyers. (more…)

Riding the Runway: New Kia Telluride Debuts at NY Fashion Week

Kia’s biggest-ever SUV teams up with designer superstar Brandon Maxwell.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.10, 2018

Kia's new Telluride Concept is all but production ready -- minus the hat box.

It had all the accessories you might expect on a rugged new SUV, including brush guards, a snorkel for fording deep water and a ladder meant to make it easier to get up to the Kia Telluride’s big luggage racks. But there were also a few things you likely wouldn’t expect, including the leather-wrapped sideview mirrors and the transparent hatbox tied down on the roof rack.

It was all in keeping with the theme of the evening, the new Telluride sharing the stage with designer Brandon Maxwell’s launch of his fall clothing line during New York’s annual Fashion Week. Maxwell, a 33-year-old star in the garment industry, has developed close ties with Kia and may even lend his name to future special editions, he and Kia officials told TheDetroitBureau.com at the weekend event.

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Automakers have been looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, increasingly searching for alternatives to classic car show product debuts. Kia is just one of several automakers who were active during Fashion Week. The tie-up to Maxwell made sense considering the Texas native’s focus on his down-home roots in this year’s collection.

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Genesis Tops JD Power APEAL Survey

Korean up-start topples luxury mainstays, but Detroit mainstream brands also gain ground.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.25, 2018

The Genesis brand aced another test, a month ago also topping Power's IQS.

Genesis, the upstart Korean luxury brand, has pulled off another surprise, this time landing the top spot in the 2018 J.D. Power APEAL study, surpassing such traditional highline brands as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus.

It’s the latest in a series of coups by Genesis, which was spun off by Hyundai just two years ago. And it comes barely a month after the Korean marque also landed in the top spot on Power’s widely followed In initial Quality Survey. But there were some other surprises in the APEAL report which measures how well individual brands and models are satisfying their owners. Mainstream brands, notably including some Detroit marques, are rapidly gaining ground on the luxury badges that have traditionally led in customer satisfaction.

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But the industry, as a whole, achieved record levels in the 2018 APEAL study – the name short for “Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout” – the second year in a row that has happened.

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First Drive: 2018 Kia Stinger GT1

Brand's first sports sedan turns heads, snaps necks.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jun.28, 2018

The Kia Stinger GT1 shows the automaker is looking to attract attention with its designs and products.

Cars of various kinds have come to seem kind of ordinary or even passed their prime even though still much go and fit anywhere 99% of motorists go day in and day out with a minimum fuss and great efficiency.

But they are also kind of boring, which is one of the primary reasons buyers have moved toward the compact two-box SUVs that have become so popular during the past couple of years.

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The Kia Stinger, however, is one car that doesn’t try to hide the fact it is a car and is certainly anything but humdrum. Indeed, the Stinger is quick, cleverly packaged so it doesn’t feel cramped when you are sitting in the driver’s seat and comes with all kinds amenities, including up-to-date technology and as well as convenience-oriented features. (more…)

Lexus Order Fire-Related Recall as Feds Probe Hyundai, Kia, Tesla Fire Concerns

Nearly 2 million vehicles involved in recalls, probes.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jun.27, 2018

The Lexus recall covers a number of models, including the 2010 IS350C convertible.

Toyota’s high-linen Lexus brand today said it will recall 121,000 vehicles because fuel leaks in the engine compartment could lead to a fire.

The announcement came about the same time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advised a senior member of Congress that it is expanding a probe of engine problems with Hyundai and Kia vehicles that may also result in fires. And, as TheDetroitBureau.com reported earlier Wednesday, NHTSA is exploring reports that battery packs that have caught fire in Tesla vehicles have proved more difficult than expected to put out.

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The recall involving Lexus products covers four different products, 2006 through 2013 IS350 sedans, as well as the 2010 through 2014 IS350C, and the 2007 through 2011 GS350 and GS450h. All shared the same 3.5-liter gasoline powertrain.

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Hyundai, Kia Announce Global Reorganization Plans

Korean carmakers will get more regional autonomy in U.S., Europe.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jun.18, 2018

The new organization is aimed at making the two brands more responsive to local markets.

Hyundai and sibling Korean carmaker Kia already operate as largely autonomous entities. Now, their regional operations in the U.S. and Europe will operate as largely independent operations to “spur sustainable growth and enhance innovation.”

The move to boost regional autonomy by Korea’s largest automaker is no surprise and follows in the footsteps of what has already been done by major Japanese automakers such as Toyota and Nissan. The first step will come with the establishment of new North American regional headquarters for each of the brands on July 2. Europe will follow shortly afterwards, as will other key global regions.

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In a statement, the Hyundai Motor Group – which includes both Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motor Corp. – said the move will impact “every aspect of the business, ranging from product planning, marketing, sales, and manufacturing,”

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Kia Recalling 500K Cars Due to Airbag Problem

Hyundai already recalled nearly 600K vehicles for same issue.

by Michael Strong on Jun.12, 2018

The 2011 Kia Forte is part of a larger recall related to an airbag deployment problem..

Kia issued a recall of more than 500,000 cars in the U.S. because the airbags may fail to inflate during a crash, according to the automaker.

The action includes 2010–13 Forte modes, 2011–13 Optima models as well as 2011 and 2012 Optima hybrids and Sedona minivans. The move comes in conjunction with a similar action by Kia’s sibling maker, Hyundai.

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Which brings the total to nearly 1.1 million vehicles due to the problem, which has been linked to four deaths. (more…)

Production Version of Kia Niro EV Breaks Cover

Timing of U.S. launch unclear.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on May.04, 2018

The long-range version of the Kia Niro EV will get 236 miles out of a 64 kWh battery pack.

We got a first look at the concept version of Kia’s all-electric Niro model during the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. The Korean carmaker has now pulled the wraps off the production model during the Fifth International Electric Vehicle Expo in Seoul.

A quick glance suggests the version that will be rolling into showrooms is a bit more conservative than the CES show car, with relatively conventional lights and bumpers. Perhaps the biggest difference between the Niro EV and earlier versions of the crossover can be seen in the textured, albeit solid, grille – which actually bears more than a passing likeness to the snout on the all-electric Hyundai Kona that debuted at the New York International Auto Show barely a month ago.

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Kia is being sparse when it comes to offering details about the Niro EV, though it did indicate the battery-electric vehicle will be offered with a choice of two different batteries – at least in some markets – the more powerful, 64 kWh pack will provide enough energy to travel an estimated 236 miles between charges, the 39.2 kWh pack reducing range to around 149 miles.

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Kia Offers Up New, Upgraded Cars, CUV in NYC

New York debuts hitting showrooms later this year.

by Michael Strong on Mar.30, 2018

Kia gave its best-selling midsize sedan, the Optima, a refresh for the 2019 model year.

Automakers are really focused on the more than half of new vehicle buyers looking for something other than cars and minivans; however, Kia took the occasion of the New York Auto Show to remind the world that they still make those vehicles too.

The South Korean automaker unveiled three new vehicles – Optima, Sedona and K900 – in the Big Apple.

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The Optima is Kia’s best-selling midsize sedan and gets a refresh for the 2019 model year. Midsize vehicles are still big sellers in the U.S., right behind trucks and utility vehicles, so getting an updated Optima into the market is important. (more…)