How Did Hyundai Get So Cool?

First Up 05/22/23

How Did Hyundai Get So Cool?

Hyundai Motor was dreaming up an answer to Tesla when the company’s top executive sent its lead designer a photo of a bizarre-looking car that last rolled off assembly lines more than 70 years ago. The Stout Scarab, manufactured in Michigan in the 1930s and 1940s, looked like an outlandish cross between a bus and a pontoon, reports The Wall Street Journal. “Let’s face it, 10 years ago, our design strategy was all about the fast follower,” said SangYup Lee, the Hyundai designer. He said Euisun Chung, executive chair of Hyundai and its affiliate Kia who sent the photo, wanted to stop imitating and get ahead of rivals. “The message was: Inspiration can come from anywhere,” said Lee. The Hyundai electric car that drew inspiration from the Scarab’s eye-catching streamline design, the Ioniq 6, has been a hit with critics. At the New York auto show in April, it was voted World Car of the Year. Hyundai and Kia, the sibling Korean carmakers, have long had a reputation for making inexpensive, uninspiring cars. Over the past few years, though, they have become one of the leaders in the electric-vehicle race. Click here for the full story.

Update: Here’s More on the 2024 Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma made its debut Thursday during a splashy introduction on the Big Island of Hawaii, and with a top-to-bottom makeover — and the addition of the all-new Trailhunter off-road model, the Japanese automaker is determined to remain king-of-the-hill in the increasingly competitive midsize pickup market. What’s clear is that the new Tacoma will go up against some of the toughest competition it’s ever faced, with Chevrolet, GMC, and Ford also launching all-new midsize offerings this year, reports The Detroit Bureau. Curiously, in a market where newer is generally better, the outgoing Toyota Tacoma was the oldest model in the segment yet also the most popular, easily outselling the nearest three competitors combined. Now, however, it will be one of the newest, and it’s given Toyota the opportunity to redo just about everything. The 2024 Tacoma gets a new design, inside and out, a new powertrain line-up, plenty of new technology and, with the Trailhunter edition, an extreme machine that won’t easily cede ground to the likes of Chevy’s Colorado ZR2 Bison, GMC’s new Canyon AT4X AEV or the Ford Ranger Raptor. Click here to learn more about the 2024 Toyota Tacoma.

U.S. Consumers Want EVs, But Cost and Range Remain Issues, Survey Finds

About half of gasoline and diesel vehicle owners in the U.S. are considering a hybrid or electric vehicle, consultant KPMG's consumer pulse summer 2023 survey found. The majority of consumers willing to consider those vehicles expect to purchase one within the next two years, according to the survey released Monday. Automotive News reports, KPMG surveyed 1,003 people in the U.S. on April 21-26. For most consumers considering the switch to electric or hybrid vehicles, gas prices and environmental concerns are the top motivators. But affordability remains an obstacle for many potential EV buyers, said Gary Silberg, KPMG global automotive sector leader. Silberg said he expects demand for EVs to continue to grow but sees affordability as an important caveat to industry optimism. "A lot of people are excited about the opportunity, but I don't know how many people can afford it," Silberg said. On the survey, households with incomes of at least $100,000 were much more likely to report already owning an alternative fuel vehicle than households with lower incomes and were more likely to be considering an alternative fuel vehicle if they did not already own one. Click here to learn more about the survey results.

Digital Kiosks Designed to Jump-start BEV Sales

When Volkswagen instructed its dealerships to install digital kiosks to enhance the launch of its ID.4, the main purpose was to help educate customers about owning and driving a battery-electric vehicle. The kiosks serve as consumer touchpoints and as a good way for salespeople to engage in casual “watercooler conversation” with a customer, Danny Ryan, general manager of two VW stores in the Los Angeles area, tells Wards.  Digital kiosks have become useful sales and marketing tools for dealerships, allowing them to engage customers by offering interactive vehicle buying experiences. The kiosks in Ryan’s stores turned out to have many more uses. They have “transitioned into something dynamic and exciting,” says Ryan, general manager of McKenna Volkswagen dealerships in Cerritos and Huntington Beach. There are three kiosks in Ryan’s Cerritos store and two in the Huntington Beach store. BEV owners or potential owners can learn how to charge the vehicle, locate charging stations, look at inventory and see accessories, among other uses. Click here for the full story.

Australia Wins U.S. Support for Critical Minerals Industry

Australia has won the backing of the United States for development of its critical minerals industry after the two countries reached an agreement to coordinate polices and investment to support the industry's growth. Australia supplies around half of the world's lithium as well as other minerals like rare earths used in batteries for electric cars and defense amid a global push to diversify supply chains away from dominant producer China. The agreement will also cover clean energy as the country sets itself up to become a major producer of hydrogen and ammonia, reports Reuters. "The climate, critical minerals and clean energy compact is an ambitious agreement," Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told parliament. "It will expand and diversify our clean energy supply. It'll promote the sustainable supply and processing of critical minerals and support the development of clean hydrogen, battery technologies and other clean energy products." The deal also paves the way for Australian suppliers of these minerals, and renewable energy, to be treated as domestic suppliers under the U.S. Defense Production Act. That is set to boost investment back towards Australian companies, supported by regulation like the landmark IRA. Click here for the full story.


Around the Web

An Automaker Has a Stark Warning for the U.K. Car Industry [The New York Times]

Geely Ups Aston Martin Stake to 17% as Third Largest Shareholder [Automotive News]

America’s 2025 VW ID. Buzz LWB with Three-Rows will be Revealed in California on June 2 [Carscoops]

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 First Look Review: Formula 1 Tech in a Roadgoing Roadster [Carbuzz]