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Hyundai Elantra Wins AutoPacific 2007 Ideal Vehicle Award for Compact Car:

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Again, package considerations put the Hyundai Elantra at the top of the hotly competitive Compact Car class. The Elantra is highly rated for exterior size, passenger room, cargo space, visibility, ease of getting in and out, and interior storage. Interior lighting was also highly rated, while power and acceleration is slightly below segment average.


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Hyundai Entourage Wins AutoPacific 2007 Ideal Vehicle Award for Minivan:

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A minivan is a utilitarian people mover where function often wins over styling and image. The all-new Hyundai Entourage wins as the Most Ideal Minivan with exterior size, exterior styling and power and acceleration providing just what its target buyers prefer. The outstanding achievement of winning the Most Ideal Minivan Award in its first year out proves that Hyundai designers and engineers understand the American minivan buyer and have provided a vehicle that caters to their needs.


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Hyundai Tucson – Wins AutoPacific 2007 Ideal Vehicle Award for Compact Crossover SUV:

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The Hyundai Tucson is the Most Ideal Compact Crossover SUV for 2007. Tucson buyers prefer their current exterior size and passenger room, but would like more cargo space. Ease of getting in and out is highly rated, as is interior storage. Buyers also prefer the same size and style of wheels and tires.


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Hyundai Entourage – Troop Transport

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Ah, the wonderful world of Minivans. Where parents are relegated to a tin box on wheels. Where you share the same workload as a prison bus driver, only you’re not getting paid and there are no steel bars to protect you from the scoundrels in the back. Can’t imagine owning one? Well, neither could we. But after a weekend with a 2007 Hyundai Entourage the AutoPacific staff is starting to rethink the possibility that these minivan owners may have the last laugh…

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Walking up to the Entourage, for me, is like walking up to any minivan: depressing. It’s like I’m walking towards the ‘injection room’ on my last day at San Quentin. Part of the issue is package provisions. It would be very difficult to pack in everything that makes a minivan so great into something with a different image. Most manufacturers have identified the exact ingredients needed to build and successfully sell a minivan. They all take relatively the same shape or form and follow the magic instructions: front-wheel-drive, V6, and two sliding doors.


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Hyundai Tucson Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Crossover

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Hyundai Tucson Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Crossover SUV:
“The owners of the Hyundai Tucson out-pointed its competition in Vehicle Satisfaction ratings but the Hyundai Warranty was the one attribute that vaulted Tucson to the top of its class. The Tucson is a very competitive Compact Crossover SUV and is available with a V6 engine – a rarity in this class. But it was the Warranty and not the engine that powered the Tucson to victory,” said AutoPacific president George Peterson.


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Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe Win AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV

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Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe tie for AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV: buy cialis tabs
“One of the most competitive SUV segments is the Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV segment. These Crossover SUVs are, for the most part, 5-passenger vehicles with no third row seat (exceptions are the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Ford Freestyle and Chrysler Pacifica). They represent the heart of the Crossover SUV market,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. The Ford Edge is a new entry and was rated highly for Exterior Appearance, Image, and Quietness. The Dealership Experience was also rated well. The Hyundai Santa Fe is all new for 2007, and their owners rated the vehicle higher than segment average for Warranty (something for which Hyundai is well known), Cupholder Design and Size, Audio Controls, Interior Storage Compartments, and Value. The Santa Fe has been a perennial AutoPacific VSA Award Winner”.


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Hyundai Azera and Toyota Avalon Win AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Large Car

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Hyundai Azera and Toyota Avalon Tied for AutoPacific 2007 Large Car Vehicle Satisfaction Award:
“The then all-new Hyundai Azera was the top rated vehicle overall in AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Again this year, Hyundai Azera owners gave the Azera class winning ratings,” said AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Azera owners rated their vehicle highly for Power/Acceleration, Innovative Technology, Value and especially Warranty. Tied for a win in this segment was the Toyota Avalon, the Toyota Division flagship, which scored well for Ride, and such traditional Toyota strengths as Quality, Reliability, Durability and Anticipated Resale Value”.


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Saturn and Hyundai Lead in Improvement in Opinion

The brand-by-brand results for the VehicleVoice Image and Consideration Tracking Study. Earlier we had released the results of the changing opinions for nine “manufacturers”. Now, the information for the 36 individual brands we measured have been analyzed.

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Saturn and Hyundai Tops in Positive Opinion Change
In a virtual tie, Saturn and Hyundai are tops in opinion improvement over the past year. With a net better-vs.-worse score of +29%-points Saturn nudges past Hyundai at +28%-pts. Cadillac posted a respectable showing with a 23%-point improvement.
Saturn’s positive results come from a respected and expanding lineup of new cars and trucks. Winning the Car of the Year Award with the Saturn Aura did not go unnoticed. Also, addition of the Saturn Outlook Crossover SUV to the lineup was a very positive move. And, we cannot forget the Sky sports car. While Sky may not sell in huge numbers or generate huge profits, it is having a substantial positive effect on the image of Saturn. As a pure “halo vehicle” Sky is doing its job.
Hyundai was the top manufacturer in image change (Hyundai + Kia), but came in second among individual brands when considering Hyundai alone. Hyundai gets strong credit for having a solid warranty, improving durability/quality/reliability, better styling, better products overall, and an outstanding value. Hyundai has done an excellent job communicating the basic values of the brand to VehicleVoice panelists.

HUMMER Trails List of Image Improvement

Any list with top to bottom ratings has to have a last place finisher. For this wave of the research HUMMER was tail end Charlie. While the opinions of most individual brands improved, HUMMER showed the most net loss. In an environment of high fuel prices spiraling upwards, HUMMER is seen as out of touch with what the country wants and needs. The large, fuel in-efficient, brutishly styled HUMMERS are the poster children for the eco-friendly.

Two Luxury Brands Dip Below the Line

VehicleVoice panelists indicate that their opinion of Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz are lower today than a year ago. Both of these brands are dinged for reliability problems especially with electronics systems.
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VehicleVoice Panelists' Opinion of Manufacturers

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During the last week of March 2007, 1,254 VehicleVoice panelists responded to an Internet survey concerning their opinion of major automakers in the USA. VehicleVoice asked these questions because the opinion of buyers and their attitudes towards various aspects of a manufacturer’s image are critically important. Managing image and opinion plus understanding what is driving that opinion can influence whether a person will positively consider or reject a brand next time they are in the market.
The key question in the VehicleVoice survey was whether the respondent’s opinion of a manufacturer had changed since this time last year. If their opinion had changed, the panel member was given the chance to explain why their opinion had changed. We received over 5,000 comments concerning these manufacturers. Some were as short one word. Some were as long as a page of 10-point type. Folks really had a lot to say and their comments were fascinating.

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Discussion for each of the brands is below the fold.


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Concept Hyundai Genesis: New York Auto Show

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Next, Hyundai Takes on Luxury Sport Sedans
As VehicleVoice reported earlier (click here), Hyundai revealed an upcoming rear-drive sedan as the Genesis concept at the New York Auto Show, and at what must have been one of the best-attended end-of-day press conferences ever. There was surprisingly little traffic around Genesis the next day during my walkaround. It was more difficult to get post-conference photos of the Infiniti EX or Ford Flex than the Hyundai, and we see the Genesis as one of the most significant introductions at this year’s show. (Click for our posting of Hyundai’s official Genesis photos.)

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Genesis, known internally at Hyundai as “BH”, telegraphs Hyundai’s intention to seriously go after rear-drive sports sedans. The exterior design builds on styling credibility Hyundai has been developing, but the interior and the driving dynamics that will make or break this car are still under wraps. A miss on the exterior styling would keep people away, but even with strong styling the car will not make it all the way to consumer driveways if the interior is a disappointment.
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Hyundai designers have created a smooth and elegant design, but Genesis does have one risk: It could blend in with the pack. Genesis takes styling cues from luxury brands all over the world (long, thin taillights much like the Lincoln Zephyr concept, though the MKZ production lights are taller; decklid bump from BMW; narrow headlights similar to Acura; lower LED fog lights along the lines of the Audi S6) and shown off on a silver car, created a credible look for their upcoming sports sedan. The wheels are sharp, as is the subtle character line running from front fender, over the door handles, and into the taillights. Though the grille is among the elements that may be revised before production, it is clearly a Hyundai grille and shares some relationship to the Azera.
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Hyundai gave no hints as to the interior, but the exterior design is ready to play. There’s a fine, fine line between hitting the mark and going too far. Genesis won’t be accused of moving the needle and does not offer new design elements. But Hyundai is working its way into relatively conservative segments, and Genesis takes the safe route. Luxury sedan buyers look for elegance, simplicity, and style and don’t seem to adapt quickly to dramatic style shifts; witness the brouhaha that surrounded the latest 7-Series introduction. Hyundai is wise to start off with something elegant but that does not push the envelope just yet.


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