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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.


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.


Kia and the Spurs

The last time I talked about NBA and a car manufacturer, I was talking about Kia’s participation for the coming play-offs as a sponsor. Now let me talk about this in great detail. While I was searching for stories, I caught a glimpse about Kia’s deal with a basketball team. Kia inked a deal with San Antonio Spurs as part of the brand’s effort to make its presence felt in US basketball. The partnership between Spurs and Kia will include educational programs and initiatives and Spurs will soon be part of Kia’s promotional projects.

Hyundai Joins the Big League


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.

Kia And NBA

After teaming up with Rafael Nadal for the Kia advertisement and sponsoring the recently concluded 2008 Australian Open at the land down under, Kia has then targeted another sport as a way of strengthening the brand. Kia is now the ‘Official Automotive Partner of the NBA’.

Kia Motors

The brand expanded its sponsorship in NBA to 16 teams and this move by the brand is the brand’s own way to position Kia in the market.

Kia is proud to be part of such a distinguished organization that is also a perfect fit for our youthful, energetic brand and our dynamic vehicles. The team partnership leverage the excitement of the game in local markets and help us elevate our brand awareness in the respective communities, says Byung Mo Ahn, President and CEO of KMA and KMMG.

As mentioned, Kia is also a proud sponsor of the Australian Open and of the Davis Cup.

This move by Kia only goes to show how serious the brand is in capturing a significant portion of the market.  The deal that was signed by Kia Motors America was a one year deal, and Kia is to become the official car of the National Basketball Association. Aside from the the fact that Kia will be visible during the play-offs and the draft, it is expected that Kia will donate vehicles to the charities that are selected by the winners of the Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year and the Sixth Man awards.