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Hyundai Bolsters Gen Y Attack With Upcoming Veloster

The B-car’s unique, asymmetrical design, executives say, is symbolic of the auto maker’s newly launched brand slogan: “New Thinking, New Possibilities.”

DETROIT – Hyundai Motor America Inc.’s new Veloster B-segment 3-door sport coupe will hit the U.S. market in June, the auto maker says here.

Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, the Mini Cooper and Scion TC competitor will be priced in the $17,000 range, says HMA President John Krafcik.

Built at Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.’s Ulsan, South Korea, plant, the Veloster shares components with the Accent and Elantra.

The new model will be aimed at Gen Y buyers (those born in the mid-1980s), Krafcik says, which Hyundai will be chasing with its upcoming revamped Accent, as well.

“We think there’s a lot of growth here,” he says. “And we’ll take more of it with the Accent. Wait until you see that car, especially the 5-door.”

The Veloster is powered by a 1.6L gasoline engine, mated to a dual-clutch transmission, and will get 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km) on the highway. Krafcik declines to predict volume or indicate how many cars Hyundai will have capacity to build.

It won’t be the fastest sports coupe in Hyundai’s lineup – that distinction belongs to the Genesis. But the Veloster will be fun to drive, Krafcik promises, and symbolic of the auto maker’s new brand campaign launched here that is built around the slogan, “New Thinking, New Possibilities.”

The Veloster originally was to have suicide rear doors similar to the type on pickup trucks that can’t be accessed unless front doors are opened. But in conducting clinics with potential buyers aged 16-29, Hyundai came up with the idea of having only one conventional rear door.

“Why does a car have to be symmetrical on the outside? It isn’t on the inside,” Krafcik says. That’s the type of new thinking the auto maker wants to take to future products, he indicates.

The new brand campaign, introduced by Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. Vice Chairman E.S. Chung, attending the Detroit auto show for the first time, also will focus on the company’s fuel-economy and environmental initiatives.

As the only global auto maker making its own steel, Hyundai is uniquely positioned to focus on green initiatives from the blast furnace to the recycling plant, Chung says.

The Veloster is the third Hyundai model boasting 40 mpg fuel economy, Krafcik says, adding Hyundai’s “laser-like focus” on efficiency has helped the brand land on the shopping lists of a third of U.S. car buyers, up from just 7% in 2002.

“We’re going to stay that way,” he says of the emphasis on high-mileage vehicles. “Consumers love that.”

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TAGS: Auto Shows
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