Los Angeles 2011: Hyundai Hopes to Spice Up Large-Car Segment with 2012 Azera Sedan

Hyundai has pulled the wraps off of the 2012 Azera sedan, and it’s not just gunning for its Japanese and American competition -- it’s trying to eradicate the stereotype of large cars.

Hyundai Motors America CEO John Krafcik wants to remedy the stereotype that large sedans are nothing more than rental upgrades. He even tweeted days before the Azera’s L.A. debut, “Half of all large cars in the US go to fleets, mostly rentals. Zzzz. Hyundai's antidote? The all-new 293HP 2012 Azera."

The 2012 Azera’s improvements start with an upgraded exterior, which draws heavily from the fluidic sculpture design philosophy of Hyundai's other models. Inside its decked out with leather seating and plenty of head and legroom, but the Azera also promises some slightly unusual standard features in the form of a standard navigation system, front- and rear-seat heaters, and a chilled glovebox.

Underhood, the Azera gets a revised version of the previous model's 3.3-liter Lambda V-6 engine. Now named Lambda II, the 3.3-liter mill gets gas direct injection and some friction-reduction technologies that pump it up to 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet, an increase of 33 horsepower and 22 pound-feet.

The Azera hasn't been officially priced yet, but Krafcik promised that the car will come in at or below a similarly equipped Toyota Avalon -- one of the car's key competitors.

With a design and price philosophy of modern premium, the Azera also looks to capture another niche market, according to Krafcik. Pointing out that Hyundai market researchers have found that the Azera also slots in to compete against the Lexus ES sedan, he called it a great car for the Occupy Wall Street protests. "Maybe if you're in the one percent but don't want to look like it, this is the car for you," he mused shortly after the car's release.

The Azera will hit Hyundai dealerships early next year. For more on the 2012 Hyundai Azera, check out our First Look here. For more on the 2011 Los Angeles Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our L.A. Show homepage.

Peter
For the potential future bashers of John Kracik and his comment: John's (Hyundai's USA CEO) favorite car in the Hyundai's fleet and his work car used to be a Hyundai Accent 1.6 SE manual. A CEO driving an economy car as his favorite car in the line up tells you something. He is most definitely in the 1%tile yet he used to drive a 99%tile's car. That is until the Hyundai Chairman Chung in Korea heard about his subordinate driving an Accent, essentially, forced him to change his change to a Genesis (and latest Equus).

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