South Korea auto news

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Seoul moves to ban Uber, create own app

07/23/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Tech, South Korea

Barcelona Cabs Strike Against Uber Taxi App

The ridesharing service Uber promises to connect people needing a lift with drivers offering one, and it appears to be pretty useful. After all, you can use it to summon Optimus Prime. For many cab drivers around the world, though, the app is basically the bane of their existence. The French passed a law mandating wait times before pickups in January, and 30,000 European cabbies staged a mass protest in June. The latest group hoping to ban Uber is the government of Seoul, South Korea.

The government in the South Korean capital city claims that the app is illegal because the vehicles shuttling users around aren't registered as taxis, according to the Wall Street Journal's Korea Realtime blog. The attempted ban is only the latest shot across the bow of Uber in Seoul. Officials fined a driver 1 million won ($974) for picking up passengers using the service in April. The authorities say that an alternative is on the way in December that would allow clients to hail legal cabs from their smartphones.

"Comments like these show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global 'sharing economy' movement," said Uber in a statement to the WSJ. Other locales facing how to cope with the influx of the service's users have instituted driver limits and implemented background checks.

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What you missed on 7.11.14

07/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Etc., Videos, Cadillac, Infiniti, Volkswagen, South Korea

Daily U-Turn

Dad pleads with parents to remember kids in hot cars

The weather is definitely taking a turn towards the high end of the thermostat, meaning the sad, seasonal issue of unattended children in hot cars has been raised yet again. See how one dad, North Carolina resident Terry Williams, is taking to YouTube to bring the issue into the spotlight once again, and hopefully save a few lives in the process.

2014 Volkswagen Amarok Canyon

Forbidden fruit is one of the tastiest foods that the car enthusiast can snack on. So when our own Noah Joseph had the opportunity to travel to the UK and drive Volkswagen's not-for-the-US Amarok small pickup, you'd better believe we were interested in hearing more. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel (what else), find out if the German small truck is really something that's worth missing in the US of A.

Cadillac snags de Nysschen from Infiniti

Johan de Nysschen has some 20 years in the business of building luxury car brands. Today we found out the executive will take his talents from Nissan's premium brand Infiniti, to General Motors flagship Cadillac. As the new president of Caddy, de Nysschen believes he can help restore the company to it's proper place at the top of the luxury-car heap.

Top Stories

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GM Korea employees approve strike

07/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: GM, UAW/Unions, South Korea

Chevrolet Spark

Think the UAW is the only labor union that's angling to give General Motors headaches in the near term? Guess again. GM employees in South Korea's highly unionized and strike-happy workforce have officially approved a strike action against the automaker as labor talks are set to begin.

Of GM's 14,000 workers in South Korea, 69 percent approved the strike action, which will mark the fourth consecutive year, provided a deal can't be made. Workers are demanding a revamp of a 60-year-old wage structure, according to Reuters, and are also pushing for increases in production, despite the fact that GM is pulling the Chevrolet brand out of Europe (nearly every Bowtie in Europe is assembled by South Korean workers).

The push to renegotiate the wage structure is part of a government decision, where the country's supreme court ruled that fixed bonuses should be counted as part of the regular salary, according to Reuters. Workers want GM to comply with this agreement, largely because it will lead to an increase in base-pay-influenced things like overtime and severance pay.

As of right now, this "yes" vote doesn't mean there will be a strike - it simply means the option is available to workers, should talks break down. For GM's part, it's stressing this fact while also pointing out that a fourth consecutive strike action could have a negative impact on the work force.

GM's South Korean CEO, Sergio Rocha, pleaded with workers to "stop this vicious cycle before it is too late."

Of course, we'll stay with this one, should anything new develop.

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Hyundai in trouble for overstating fuel economy numbers at home, too

06/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Crossovers/CUVs, Hyundai, South Korea

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai is, understandably, "very confused by the fine and the different results."

The South Korean government is investigating Hyundai and Ssangyong, alleging that the two manufacturers overstated the fuel economy figures on some of their crossovers. But while the initial investigation is being carried out by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, a separate branch of government, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is supporting the manufacturers' estimates. See Americans, our government isn't the only dysfunctional one.

The two vehicles that have raised the ire of the transport authorities are the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Ssangyong Korando Sports. Allegedly, the two vehicles overstate their mileage by as much as eight percent. Provided the claim proves true and the two manufacturers are found to have been exaggerating their vehicles' fuel efficiency, Hyundai could be open to fines of as much as one billion Korean won ($985,000 at today's rates). Ssangyong could be facing a smaller punishment of just 200 million won ($197K).

In its own testing, meanwhile, the Industry of Trade, Industry and Energy has found that the fuel economy stated by Hyundai and Ssangnyong and the results of internal testing were within the margin of error, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, which cites government sources.

Hyundai is, understandably, "very confused by the fine and the different results," the company said in a statement acquired by WSJ. Hopefully, the South Korean government can get its ducks in a row and figure out just who is in the wrong here.

It's worth noting that this isn't Hyundai's first brush with fuel economy overstatement issues. Autoblog regulars will likely remember that Hyundai Motor America endured down a costly and embarrassing fuel economy scandal of its own back in late 2012, and in March of this year, the automaker had to restate efficiency figures on its Korean domestic market Sonata.

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Korea's Oullim Spirra supercar heading to Geneva under electric power

06/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Geneva Motor Show, Euro, Electric, South Korea

Spirra Europe EV

South Korea has emerged as a global powerhouse in the automotive industry. It's home not only to Hyundai and Kia, but General Motors (having taken over Daewoo), SsangYong and Renault Samsung Motors also make cars there. Unfortunately not a one of them makes a serious sports car. But that's where the Oullim Spirra comes in.

First introduced back in 2008, the Spira is a mid-engined sports car powered by a Hyundai-sourced 2.7-liter V6 with either one or two turbochargers, and as much as 600 horsepower. It's sold in a handful of Asian and European markets, but will reportedly soon make its debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show... with a bit of a twist.

Instead of the internal-combustion V6, a new outfit dubbed Spirra Europe is preparing to introduce a new version of the sports car with an all-electric powertrain. Spirra Europe is setting up spot in Friesland, the Netherlands, where it will assemble the cars to European specifications, with all the battery tech and all-wheel drive where the existing version powers only the rear wheels. Pricing is tipped to come in around 200,000 euro (equivalent to about $270k at current exchange rates).

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Hyundai shocks Korea with mid-engined Veloster concept

05/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Sports/GTs, Hatchbacks, Hyundai, Misc. Auto Shows, South Korea

Hyundai Veloster Midship Concept

There are many things we love here at Autoblog, but one of the quirkiest is the mid-engined hot hatch, whether it's the Renaultsport Clio V6 or the Volkswagen GTI W12-650 concept. Unfortunately, we can never seem to get our hands on one - the former never having made the transatlantic journey and the latter remained strictly a concept. And now we've got one more to salivate over.

It's called, simply enough, the Veloster Midship concept, and Hyundai is unveiling it this week at the Busan Motor Show in South Korea. As you might have guessed, it's essentially a Veloster with the engine - a 2.0-liter Theta turbo four producing 296 horsepower - mounted behind the two seats. It's also got a lightweight aluminum suspension, a reinforced chassis and extreme aero to help that mid-mounted turbo engine do its thing.

The project was undertaken by the same team that developed the initial i20 WRC rally car, but unfortunately as Hyundai itself says in the press release below (released with the solitary image above), "The Midship is a concept only to explore possibilities for the Veloster chassis and is currently not related to any future production model." Which is a bit of a shame, but hardly a surprise.

Continue reading Hyundai shocks Korea with mid-engined Veloster concept

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Hyundai reveals refreshed Grandeur sedan in South Korea

05/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Hyundai, Misc. Auto Shows, South Korea

2015 Hyundai Grandeur (KDM)

Never heard of the Hyundai Grandeur? That's alright, because that's just the name the model uses domestically. Over here it's known as the Azera, but it's back in Korea where Hyundai has revealed a revised version of what is currently the company's largest front-drive sedan.

Compared with the previous Grandeur and even the recently redone Azera we know, the new model is marginally longer and benefits from a redesigned bumpers front and rear, a new grille, new LED fog lamps and upgraded equipment. Inside there's a reshaped center stack with upgraded HVAC controls and an eight-inch nav screen, and keeping it all on the straight and narrow are all the latest electronic aids you'd expect of a high-end model from a global automaker.

Whereas the Azera is offered here with a 3.3-liter V6 packing 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, back home Grandeur buyers get a choice of the 2.4-liter Theta II four-cylinder with 187 hp and 178 lb-ft or a 2.2-liter diesel with 199 hp and 325 lb-ft.

In addition to the revised Grandeur, Hyundai is also unveiling a new sedan at South Korea's Busan Motor Show. The new model, dubbed AG, is set to supersede the Grandeur/Azera as the company's largest front-drive model, and Hyundai will also show a mid-engined Veloster show car. The latter stands little chance of production, but we'll be watching to see if the two large front-drive sedans will made the transpacific voyage to US showrooms.

Continue reading Hyundai reveals refreshed Grandeur sedan in South Korea

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IHS: Global vehicle production to increase by 21M units by 2021, China to account for half

05/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Euro, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Russia, South Korea

DEU Daimler Jahresbilanz

The global automotive market will continue to surge into the start of the next decade, according to a new report from IHS Automotive. The analytical firm is reporting that global annual production will increase by 21 million units by 2021. Global production has already seen a 25-million-unit increase since the dark days of 2009.

Not surprisingly, China will dominate global production, while its neighbors in Japan and South Korea focus on foreign production, rather than building vehicles in their home markets. The North American market, meanwhile, will be kept going with the help of the same foreign investments that are leading to a decline in Japanese and Korean production.

Europe is a different case altogether, as the continent continues its economic recovery. Russia and Turkey will fall back in 2014, although IHS is predicting demand will increase four percent per year from 2015 to 2017. As for production, the percentage of European-built vehicles that are sold in Europe will fall by 2021, from 70 percent to 50 percent. That number could be greater, although IHS is arguing that significant recoveries in the struggling Italian and Spanish markets will help keep sales of Continentally produced vehicles afloat.

Take a look below for the official press release from IHS.

Continue reading IHS: Global vehicle production to increase by 21M units by 2021, China to account for half

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Hyundai reveals all-new Sonata in South Korea

03/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: New York Auto Show, Sedans/Saloons, Hyundai, South Korea

2015 Hyundai Sonata

We've seen the spy shots. We've seen the teasers. We've even seen the finished product uncovered in its home market. But now Hyundai has officially taken the wraps off its new Sonata, consistently one of its top sellers in North America that was surpassed only recently in the sales charts by the smaller, cheaper and slightly newer Elantra. It's Hyundai's challenger to the likes of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion et al, which makes it a vital debut not only for Hyundai but for anyone in the market for a mid-size family sedan - and that's one of the biggest markets of all.

Set to be revealed at the New York Auto Show in a matter of mere weeks, the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata you see here is the latest representation of a more toned-down family design language which Hyundai calls Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, following the lead set by the new Genesis and away from the swoopy and sharply creased styling of the successful but stylistically divisive model it replaces. A good inch longer and wider than the outgoing Sonata, the new model is also over a third more rigid, thanks in no small part to the use of high-strength steel that now composes over half of the body's construction.

The all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata follows the lead set by the new Genesis and away from the swoopy and sharply creased styling of the model it replaces.

Having undergone extensive testing at Hyundai's new test center at the Nürburgring and at the Mojave Proving Ground in California, the new Sonata promises a more refined ride. It also offers a good deal more interior space where, as the latest volume model from one of the world's largest automakers, you'll find it incorporates the latest electronic safety features, infotainment technologies and creature comforts.

We're looking at the Korean market version here, which will be offered with three engine options - four-cylinder units ranging from 2.0 liters to 2.4 and from 151 horsepower to 193 - driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Hyundai has yet to confirm which powertrain options will be offered Stateside, but with a few minor differences, we can expect to see largely the same vehicle on the show stand at the Javitz Center next month. In the meantime you can delve into the press release below and the high-resolution images in the gallery above for a closer look.

Continue reading Hyundai reveals all-new Sonata in South Korea

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2015 Hyundai Sonata found uncovered in Korea

03/13/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: New York Auto Show, Spy Photos, Sedans/Saloons, Hyundai, South Korea

2015 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai is locked and loaded to debut its redesigned, 2015 Sonata at the New York Auto Show next month. For one enterprising Korean photographer, however, the reveal just couldn't come soon enough.

A South Korean website called Bobaedream.co.kr unceremoniously published some images of what would appear to be a completely undisguised example of the new Sonata. Korean Car Blog quickly followed up on the leak, claiming that the car in question was fitted with Hyundai's 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI engine, making 274 horsepower, and connected to an all-new, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Whether that information came from a reliable insider source (as the photos would suggest) or was just a best guess, we can't say. But we can see what direction Hyundai is headed in with the Sonata. The front end seen in the spy shots is more or less what we'd already seen in the last teaser picture, with a new headlamp design helping to set off a prominent grille. The grille does seem to have some element of the strong, graphical surround from the teaser, too, though it's not as defined in these low-resolution pictures. Sheetmetal on the hood and bodysides seems cleaner, straighter and less fussy than in the current car, too. As for whether or not this is the Korean-spec car or the one destined for the US market, that's unclear, though we have been told that the two cars do look very similar.

What say you? Does this leaked image promise a better-looking Sonata, or is the 2015 car a step backwards in terms of design? Tell us which way you're leaning, in Comments.

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