Hyundai Roadmap Takes Azera More Upscale

Hyundai plans to take the next generation Azera even more upscale than the current model.? The large, front-wheel size sedan will be an all new design from the Hyundai slippery ?fluidic sculpture? design language used for the Sonata.

In an interview with Automotive News at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai Motors America CEO John Krafcik said of the Azera, ?We have changed everything, it’s a remarkable car,? and that it will surprise a lot of people.

The front-wheel drive design should have a stronger appeal to buyers in northern and Midwest parts of the country where snow and ice are factors.? The Azera will compete with cars like the Toyota Avalon.

No details about features, drive trains or dates were released, however Krafcik said the launch date was not far away.

The current Azera was launched late in 2005 as a 2006 model replacing the top Hyundai model, at that time, the HG350.? The current Azera, which has a starting price of $26,290, including shipping, has had limited success with sales last year of fewer than 3,000 cars.? However, considering Hyundai?s recent increases in popularity and quality ratings, the new Azera should be an important addition to the Hyundai lineup.

Azera is slotted between the new Sonata and the rear-wheel drive Genesis sedan.? The company recently released the upscale Equus to compete against cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series.

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