Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hyundai CEO says New Azera Coming Soon, will be More Upscale

You probably have noticed that Hyundai is on a roll lately. Whereas the newly-wed Fiat and Chrysler couple are trying to tidy up the mess left by Daimler -for the most part- with makeovers and tweaks, the South Korean automaker, which also owns Kia, is churning out one new model after the other.

More recently and following a barrage of presentations such as the new Equus, Genesis Sedan and Coupe, Sonata, Tucson, Accent (South Korea and Russia for now) and Elantra, Hyundai gave out the first renderings of its next brand new offering, the 2012 Azera. The family sedan, which will be sold as the Grandeur in certain markets, will slot between the Sonata and the Genesis in Hyundai's NA lineup.

While the official release didn't reveal much, Hyundai's North American boss and always eager to share info on the firm's future plans with the press, John Krafcik, spoke with Autonews on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

"We have changed everything, it's a remarkable car. It will surprise a lot of people." said Krafcik. Even though Hyundai NA's boss wouldn't confirm a U.S. launch date, he said that the new Azera "is not that far away."

Krafcik also revealed that like the current Azera, the new model will be front wheel drive offering a less sporty experience than the Genesis.

"The Azera is a front wheel drive car whereas the Genesis is rear-wheel-drive and performance-focused, so (the Azera) will have greater appeal in northern, snow-states where front wheel drive is important, but there will be a very, very strong level of differentiation between the two cars," Krafcik said.

No word on powertrain options yet, but it is likely that Hyundai will offer the Azera only with V6 engines to further distance it from the Sonata which is available exclusively with four-cylinder units. Expect to see the new Azera making its world premiere in 2011 and going on sale before the end of the year.

Source: Autonews

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