Future Hyundai Products Focus on Fuel Economy

What drives today’s car buyer?; We’d argue it’s fuel economy, and automakers are scrambling to offer vehicles that drink less gasoline.; Hyundai’s no exception – a look at its future product plans shows a focus on smaller engines, six-speed transmissions, and even its first hybrid for North America.

Although most attention will be placed on the advent of the 2009 Genesis luxury sedan, Hyundai is bringing a few other offerings to market.; A lightly-revised form of the midsize Sonata sedan is already at dealers, while an all-new five-door Elantra, dubbed the ‘Touring,’ arrives in North America in January.

The rear-wheel-drive platform that underpins the Genesis will also spawn a two-door coupe, appropriately named the Genesis Coupe.; Debuting as a 2010 model, the Genesis Coupe will be powered by either a V-6 or a turbocharged I-4, and will, for the time being, replace Hyundai’s front-wheel-drive Tiburon coupe.

2011 brings significant changes to two of Hyundai’s crossovers.; The Santa Fe will be completely revamped, adding both a four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic.; The smaller Tuscon SUV will also be redesigned, but will only use four-cylinder engines.; Hyundai will also introduce new versions of both the Accent subcompact and the Sonata sedan, which will also be sold as a hybrid.

Will They Come?
Still up in the air are decisions related to the i10, an extremely compact hatchback, and the Veloster, a front-wheel-drive sports coupe originally shown as a concept at the 2007 Seoul motor show.

The i10, presently sold in Europe and in Asia, is small enough to be a competitor to the smart fortwo, yet roomy enough for a second row of seating.; As the current car doesn’t meet U.S. safety or emissions standards, the i10’s U.S. debut – if it happens – is still a ways out.; Hyundai spokespeople tell Automotive News they’re watching sales of the ForTwo in order to build a business case.

We noted the Genesis Coupe succeeds the departing Tiburon “for now.”; Although the rear-wheel-drive coupe was designed for such a purpose, it won’t replace the Tiburon in Europe – the Veloster will.; Hyundai officials are still unsure if the company needs two coupes instead of one, and will only bring the Veloster stateside if the Genesis Coupe doesn’t take off.

Source: Automotive News