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Hyundai, Kia debut new Elantra, Sportage in U.S.

Peter Schreyer, president and chief design officer of Kia Motor Corporation, introduces the 2017 Elantra during the press briefing for the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show at the L.A. Convention Center on Wednesday. Hyundai Motor Company
Peter Schreyer, president and chief design officer of Kia Motor Corporation, introduces the 2017 Elantra during the press briefing for the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show at the L.A. Convention Center on Wednesday. Hyundai Motor Company


LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai Motor America unveiled the All-New 2017 Elantra during the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday in the carmaker’s push to boost U.S. sales.

The car, which debuted in Korea as the Avante AD earlier this year, is expected lead the compact car market once it is released in the U.S. market in January.

"We all know that good things come in small packages ... and that’s Elantra,” said David Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, at the media briefing held before the auto show’s general opening at the L.A. Convention Center.

Zuchowski positioned the vehicle, which was recently classified as a midsize sedan in the U.S., as a car that could be embraced by both millennials and baby-boomers.

The Elantra, the world’s No. 6 bestseller with more than 10 million units, sold 2 million of them in the U.S., he noted, adding that U.S. sales would be boosted with the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.

"We’ll be celebrating both Hyundai’s 30th, and the Super Bowl’s 50th anniversary,” he added.

The new Elantra follows Hyundai’s signature fluidic sculpture design with a larger hexagonal grille, sleeker profile and more voluptuous derriere. The 2.0 CVVT engine with a six-speed transmission and the 1.4 turbo GDI engine with a seven-speed double clutch transmission will be out in the U.S.

Hyundai also envisions its future by displaying the N2025 Vision Gran Turismo, the concept car for Hyundai’s next-generation high-performance vehicle brand N, at the lobby of the L.A. Convention Center.

Kia Motors is showcasing its fourth-generation model of the iconic crossover utility vehicle, the Sportage, flaunting a completely different exterior, spacious interior and enhanced performance.

Peter Schreyer, president and chief design officer at Kia, insisted that the Sportage’s new design would be well received in the U.S. “I met a man this morning in the hallway and he told me that he was very much impressed with the Sportage design,” Schreyer told The Korea Herald. “And the sales will show.”

The new Sportage is facilitated with the autonomous emergency braking, the lane departure warning system as well as the blind spot detection systems. About 51 percent of the new Sportage body is made of advanced high-strength steel, which is a big leap from the previous 18 percent and is expected to enhance the safety, and can be synced with Adroid and Apple applications. The new Sportage comes with a 2.0-liter turbo engine or a 2.4-liter gasoline engine.

The nine-day 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show will kick off Friday, local time, with dozens of world premieres and technology demonstrations, reflecting the interests of dynamic and tech-savvy customers in California.

The event held until Nov. 29 at the L.A. Convention Center will feature more than 800 cars including some of the most luxurious models in an aim at grabbing the attention of not only the motorists but also the superrich in the U.S., the world’s largest luxury vehicle market.

Hyundai, which recently its launched premium brand Genesis and is scheduled to release its first flagship sedan, the G90, next year, also stepped up to emphasize its zeal to join the ranks of global luxury carmakers.

"This decision does some very important things for us.  First, it sets the stage for us to compete head-to-head against the world’s most esteemed luxury brands with luxury products that go beyond today’s award-winning Equus and Genesis models. 

"We’ll enter that competition with innovative products and an equally groundbreaking ownership experience,” Zuchowski said.

By Bae Ji-sook, Korea Herald correspondent (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)



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