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Hyundai

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Hyundai Partners with Microsoft

Microsoft is set to partner with Hyundai-Kia for new automotive ‘infortainment systems. The computer company targets 2010 as the year where the partnership will introduce its first product, a product that focuses on voice control of mobile devices inside a car. The partnership and their products aren’t just for the North American market. It is expected that the two companies is set to target Asian and European markets as well. This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has partnered with an automaker to develop some in-car technology. It can be remembered as well that Microsoft has an agreement with Ford Motor Co. to offer its Microsoft Auto system in North America under the Sync brand name. The deal of Microsoft with Ford Motor Company is set to expire this November. The Ford system, Sync connects mobile phones, iPods or mp3 players to the car’s audio system. The European company, Fiat also makes use of Microsoft technology in Europe and South America. The Fiat brand sells its cars with the software outside the US market.

The deal that was signed by the two companies will allow Hyundai and Kia Motors to sell cars that are equipped with the Microsoft Auto around the world starting November. But based on some reports, the companies are working on new capabilities and these products may not be available this fall. Though it wasn’t mentioned what type of capabilities that may be, it has been said that the companies are developing softwares that can include navigation and an emergency call service that can be activated once the air bags are inflated.

Hyundai is the world’s fifth largest automaker and South Korea’s largest manufacturer. In Ulsan, South Korea, the company operates the world’s largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility that can produce 1.6 million units annually.

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Tennis Punditry

Jelena Jankovic Australian Open

I watched the finals of the Sony Ericsson Open that featured one of my fave player, Jelena Jankovic and Serena Williams. Thank god that our cable provider showed this tennis match, since I really find it hard to get quality tennis matches on cable right now. With all NBA and basketball stuff all over tv, you’ll think that this is the only sport on tv! Anyway back to the match. I tuned in late, with Serena up and set (6-1) and leading 1-0 on the second set. Then Serena leads 2-0 and then up 3-0. What is happening? This is cruel and boring at the same time. But the face of Jankovic suggest that all’s well. She has that friendly and happy face on court that really grows on you, in fact I am a recent fan convert.  Jankovic found his form, and Serena started to show some errors and in the end, Jankovic stole the second set 7-5. In the end, the experience of Serena proves to be the factor as she raced for games on the deciding set and finally winning it. It was’nt bad for Jankovic, and I am already a fan.

After the Sony Ericsson event, I visited the site and research things about this talented Serbian player. Prior to her finals appearance, I read a number of articles about her and what she likes. Hmm she seems to like as well all the finer things in life. In fact one of the things she likes as well are cars, fast cars at that. At one of her interview during the competition, Jankovic was asked if indeed she loves fast cars.

porsche 911 turbo

That’s a cool choice. In fact if I have the means as well, a Porsche will certainly be one of my choices. As far as I know, Jankovic is not entered on the Bausch and Lomb event, clay surface. I don’t see her posing a significant threat to Justine Henin this clay season. But expect to see her again during grass season and on Wimbledon and I will cheer for her, together with my other faves Ivanovic and Sharapova.

Marketing Thru Sports

Nadal for Kia

Most of the time, the quality and the reliability of the vehicles do the talking for these automobile manufacturers. These vehicles are usually subjected to road tests, and often the commendation and the citations coming from respected publications and organizations such as Consumer Reports and government agencies like EPA are the ones that do the talking for these car manufacturers. Most of the time, expensive advertisements do the job of promoting these cars in the market. Now South Korean auto manufacturers had step up its promotion and now wanted to market the vehicles thru sports. Though this is new, what is new is the fact that these two South Korean companies are now more focused than ever and found sports as a viable medium to promote their brands.

Hyundai took the lead with its tie-up with Superbowl and it was reported that Hyundai’s recent Super Bowl ads yielded the positive impact on the brand among the consumers. This conclusion was produced thanks to the recent Nielsen Online Mega Panel Survey’s post game study that  found out that around 43 percent of the respondents had improved their view on Hyundai. Another recent surver indicated that Hyundai netted a 45 percent increase in net brand improvement for its Genesis campaign. It was the goal of the bran’s marketing efforts to not only entertain but also to inform, to build awareness and position  of Hyundai vehicles in the market.

Another Hyundai brand enters in an agreemet with a large sporting institution. Kia joined hands with NBA to promote the sport and the brand. Kia Motors America is now the official sponsor of the National Basketball Association. It can be noted that Kia has been in sports long enough and the brand maintains a sponsorship on the Australian Open and it even got Rafael Nadal to promote one of the brand’s model.

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Consumer Reports’ Bests for 2008

I already did a write-up about the vehicles that made the cut and made Consumer Reports proud. And it is my intention for the rest of the week to take note of these vehicles and cite some of their strengths and features so that their citations can be best understood. It was already mentioned that Hyundai sent two in the list, Chevy has one and Japanese car manufacturers headed by Honda and Toyota dominated the list. All these vehicles need to meet stringent requirements in terms of road-test performance, reliability and safety. Also   Consumer Reports added another metric for which they can based their ratings- the provision of the Electronic Stability Control or the ESC either as a standard equipment or as a readily available option. These are Consumer Reports’ criteria in choosing the best in the segment.

  • Road tests: Each Top Pick scores at or near the top of its category among more than 260 vehicles we’ve recently tested at our Auto Test Center.
  • Reliability: Each has an average or better predicted-reliability Rating, based on the problems subscribers reported on almost 1.3 million vehicles in our Annual Car Reliability Survey.
  • Safety: Top Picks have performed adequately in overall safety if tested by the government or the insurance industry. Starting this year, they also must provide a critical safety feature, electronic stability control (ESC), either as standard equipment or as a readily available option.

 On to my next focus. A US company entry- the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab as this years ‘pick-up’ truck.

Hyundai Santa Fe Takes Center Stage

Santa Fe is the latest face of Hyundai in the competitive automotive industry. This developed after the Hyundai Santa Fe together with the Elantra SE joined the lists of Consumer Reports on the listing of the years ‘Best’. The Hyundai Santa Fe for 2008 is actually a redesigned version of the old Hyundai Santa Fe that was first issued in 2001. This was actually redesigned in 2007 and the move to redesign this vehicle proved to be a good move. What the Santa Fe offers is a quite and a roomy interior, excellent paint and finish, optional third seat to name just a few. Based on Consumer Reports test, the Hyundai Santa bested Honda Pilot in its category.

The Santa Fe is available in three trims- the GLS, the SE and the Limited.

The Santa Fe GLS features a 2.7L DOHC V6 engine with dual exhaust outlets and a 5 speed transmission and also available in 4-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic. Also included in the GLS trim are the Electronic Stability Control or the ESC, the Anti-Lock Braking System and the Traction Control System. Sixteen inches alloy wheels are provided and there is  a tire pressure monitoring system or the TPMS.

The Santa Fe SE trim features a 3.3L DOHC V6 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic. Eighteen inches alloy wheels are provided and the trim is provided with an auto-dimming inside mirror that is integrated digital compass. Other features include the fog lights, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, automatic on/off headlights, steering wheel mounted audio controls, Trip computer, chrome grille surround and the windshield wiper de-icer. The SE series also features the ESC, ABS and the TCS.

The Limited Edition on the other hand features leather seating surfaces and heated front seats. The power seats have lumbar support and there is an automatic temperature control with outside temperature display. A complete listing of the features of the Limited Edition:

  • Leather seating surfaces
  • Heated front seats
  • Power driver seat with power lumbar support
  • Automatic tempertaure control with outside temperature display
  • Homelink Integrated transceiver
  • Chrome accent grille and exterior door/tailgate handles
  • Deluxe metal accent door scuff
  • Rear spoiler
  • Power tilt-and-slide sunroof
  • Infinity Logic 7 CD changer audio system with 10 speakers and 605 watt amp

The complete listing of the features of the GLS, the SE and the Limited can be viewed on the site and the standard features are listed as well.

All in all it can be expected that the Hyundai Santa Fe has that rugged capability and at the same time extending that much-desired style and comfort. This what makes the Santa Fe a mile ahead of its competitors in its segment. And Consumer Reports validated the claim of Hyundai by placing this Hyundai vehicle on its respected list for 2008. Also joining the Hyundai Santa Fe on the list is the Hyundai Elantra SE. The feat that was achieved by these two Hyundai models helped propel Hyundai vehicles as one of the most admired in the sector when it comes to vehicle reliability and dependability.

Hyundai Joins the Big League

HYUNDAI SANTA FE

Give a little space, Honda. This year, a new name is recogized as member of the elite class when it comes to reliability and dependability, at least based on the opinion of Consumer Reports. Based on the ’10 Bests listings of Consumer Reports for 2008, a new name has been ushered into the elite list. South Korea’s Hyundai brand has been ackowledged as makers of reliable and dependable cars.

For two years running, its all about Honda and their reliable cars but not for 2008 as US and Hyundai cars made an appearance on the list. The appearance of Hyundai is more significant as this is the first time that this brand has managed to get the citation from the respected Consumer Reports.  Hyundai’s Elantra SE was named as the top small sedan and the Hyundai’s Santa Fe was named the top mid-sized sport utility vehicle.

But if you notice that I only mentioned two Hyundai vehicles in the top 10 and another 1 from Chevy, its because Japanese car manufacturers still tops ’em all. Japanese car makers sent 7 entries into the top ten of Consumer Reports.  This goes to show that these car makers continued their dominance in the ratings for performance, safety and reliability. And what are these cars and from what manufacturer?  The Lexus 460L is there as the best luxury sedan. Dubbed ‘greenest’ car is Prius that can be powered by gasoline or electricity. Prius’ feat is remarkable as this is the fifth time that this car model was selected on its category. Prius and the Lexus are of course products of Toyota.

Though Toyota sent two in the list, the best cars that are sold in the US market are still coming from the Honda brand. Honda did send one in the list, the Honda Accord but what makes the feat of Honda excellent is the fact all Honda vehicles that are rated by Consumer Reports made it to the list of Consumer Report’s recommended lists.

The citation that has been received by Hyundai is an affirmation that indeed Hyundai has turned serious into producing top quality vehicles. As it can be remembered, the brand’s reputation has been not-so good in terms of quality and reliability. But over time, Hyundai made for the lost ground and found its place now as one of the best. In fact, its reputation is fast approaching that of Honda’s.

Here’s the rest of the top picks, as selected by Consumer Reports for 2008.

  • Best Green Car by Toyota Prius
  • Best Small Sedan by Hyundai Elantra SE
  • Best Family Sedan by Honda Accord
  • Best Upscale Sedan by Infiniti G35
  • Best Luxury Sedan by Lexus LS
  • Fun-to-Drive Pick Up Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Top Small SUV is Toyota Rav4
  • Top Midsize SUV is Hyundai’s Santa Fe
  • Top-Pick Up Minivan is Toyota Sienna

As mentioned these listings that was created by Consumer Reports was based on reliability ratings, road tests and the ratings in insurance industry and government safety testing.

Aside from the fact that Consumer Reports cited two Hyundai vehicles for their reliability, the publication also chose three Hyundai vehicles for its ‘Most Overlooked Cars’ listing. These Hyundai vehicles are the Kia Rondo and the Optima and the Hyundai Azera.