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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Hyundai Motors’ Unlucky Timing

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Amid an economic downturn and global pandemic, we’re in the middle of a golden age in Hyundai car quality. Let’s hope choppy sales don’t force the carmaker to skimp on quality for future fleets. Sales outside of Korea are DOWN about 10% year-on-year. However, sales in Korea are UP about 33% year-on-year.

Our family bought three Hyundai cars since 1990 when doing so was a choice made out of patriotism or frugality (or both). Let’s say it wasn’t all that bad, but I certainly have many memories of when the radiator overheated or the automatic seatbelts didn’t work right. And that 10-year warranty as a marketing tool in the late 90s/early 2000s certainly got good amount of use.

I pretty much ignored Hyundai cars until 2018 when I had to get a Grandeur as a rental because my car was in the shop. It blew my mind. So smooth. So powerful. So elegant. It was around then when I think this golden age of quality started. The models in the mid-2010s seemed technologically sound, but had an empty feeling like they were skimping on cheap components.

This is a newish Hyundai Avante (Elantra)

Last summer, I rented an Avante (Elantra in the U.S. market) and drove it around the seaside. It had more technological upgrades than many BMWs I’ve seen. And it even had a semi-semi-autonomous driving feature that kept you in your lane if you were close to swerving out. In the states, my family bought another Hyundai. This time the Genesis. I hear it’s amazing. I’ll have to go for a road trip once covid ends. But I’m worried if the virus persists, the bean counters will push to bait and switch on quality materials. We’ll see. For now, it’s probably the best value car in the United States. In Korea, it’s another story. We have higher prices for Hyundai cars that essentially subsidizes all y’alls discounts around the world. But people are going crazy for the new luxury Genesis GV80 SUV. So enjoy now!

Here’s my attempt at doing a car review of the Grandeur:

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