Archive for December 2012

Hyundai Elantra, Azera and Santa Fe Sport Winners for Residual Value

Three Hyundai models won top prizes in ALG’s 14th annual Residual Value Awards, based on 2013 models. The Hyundai Elantra won in the Compact Car category, and for the third year running; the Azera won in the Fullsize Car category. Meanwhile, the Santa Fe Sport took home gold in the Midsize Utility Vehicle class.  Also, Hyundai’s residual values across all models ranked second overall among mainstream brands.

Magnificent! But what exactly is “residual value,” and what does it mean to the consumer?

As ALG defines it, it is the percentage of manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) a vehicle retains after three years of ownership. How is residual value different from depreciation? You use residual value to calculate depreciation, like this:

Depreciation = price – residual value

You want a high residual value if you plan to trade in a car or turn it in at the end of a lease: it gives you more buying power. You also want it as an indicator of quality. ALG calculates residual values using more than 100 factors, which include the perception of quality or brand value; simply put, how high the brand or models are esteemed. ALG President Larry Dominique called Hyundai’s ascent as a brand “Nothing short of impressive” when it comes to residual value. “Hyundai’s successful residual value retention has been driven by well-executed products, improved perception of quality and a disciplined approach to incentives and fleet,” two factors that can erode residual value. “Receiving Residual Value Awards for the Elantra, Azera and the redesigned Santa Fe Sport demonstrates that Hyundai continues to deliver on that promise.” Thanks, Larry! And thanks, ALG.

And while we’re at it – thanks to Strategic Vision, which just honored three Hyundai models in its 16th annual Strategic Vision Total Value Awards. The Hyundai Elantra sedan won in the small car category, Sonata among medium cars, and the Equus in the luxury segment, beating out competitors from BMW and Mercedes. Also, the Hyundai Equus took the award for Best Model, while Hyundai ranked second overall in Total Value. Strategic Vision calculates its Total Value Index (TVI) is based on perceived value, including quality and customer appeal. If you’re interested in a great new vehicle that will pay you back when it’s time to trade in, check out the range of Hyundai vehicles available at our Illinois Hyundai dealership.

2014 Mazda6 Makes North American Debut at LA Auto Show

Midsize sedans have a reputation for middle-of-the-road designs, but the 2014 Mazda6 that made its North American debut at the LA Auto Show last week could help change that. With its aggressive styling and cutting-edge technology, the new Mazda model will be a distinctive option when it goes on sale in January.

Taking strong design cues from the Mazda Takeri Concept vehicle, the 2014 Mazda6 features a bold exterior, with sharp lines contrasting smooth curves. The brand’s new five-sided grille, which debuted on the Mazda CX-5, is flanked by angular headlights that pull back over the front fenders and curve away from the creased hood. Meanwhile, Mazda’s lightweight and fuel-efficient SKYACTIV technologies encompass the engine, transmissions and chassis.

“Mazda is showing America that midsize sedans don’t have to be boring to look at or drive,” said Les Enger, general manager of Rosen Mazda Lake Villa, an Illinois Mazda dealer. “The new Mazda6 has the head-turning styling that most cars lose after their concept phase, and because it’s a Mazda, you know it’s going to have the performance to back up that aggressive exterior.”

Mazda hopes its sleek new addition will help push the brand’s overall U.S. sales to new heights, with Automotive News reporting that the automaker is aiming to surpass 400,000 units annually by its fiscal year ending in March 2016. That ambitious goal isn’t relying solely on the Mazda6, but also with other refined models like the 2014 Mazda CX-5 and 2013 Mazda CX-9 crossovers, which made their North American debuts at the LA Auto Show as well.

While the 2014 CX-5 will get upgrades like an optional 184-horsepower 2.5-liter engine and a more advanced Technology Package following its market debut for the 2013 model year, the 2014 CX-9 has received a more dramatic mid-cycle refresh. Featuring Mazda’s KODO, or Soul of Motion, design language, the updated CX-9 sports new front- and rear-end designs that mimic that of the CX-5. Currently arriving at dealerships, the 2013 CX-9 wears angular headlights that are connected by a winged chrome grille surround, complementing the expressive fog-light openings in the bumper.

Inside, Mazda’s seven-seater gets a tech-savvy touch with the automaker’s next-generation audio and infotainment system, which uses a 5.8-inch touchscreen to control communication, entertainment and navigation settings. The system also features Bluetooth connectivity to enable hands-free phone calls and streaming audio from smartphones, as well as SMS text message audio receipt and delivery to keep drivers connected, but not distracted.

“Mazda is pushing new products that offer unique styling, innovative features and excellent performance to drive sales,” added Enger. “While many automakers are playing it safe by recycling the same ideas, Mazda is introducing new ones that meet driver demands for fuel efficiency while still keeping driving fun.”


New Nissan Pathfinder Hauls In Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Award

Nissan completely redesigned its popular Pathfinder SUV for the 2013 model year, and Popular Mechanics believes that the automaker’s efforts have paid off. The publication recently recognized the new Nissan Pathfinder in its 2013 Automotive Excellence Awards, praising the new design for being more practical, spacious and fuel efficient.

Popular Mechanics editors chose their favorite vehicles in 10 different categories relating to attributes that car buyers are looking for, whether it is overall value, performance or all-out versatility, where the Nissan Pathfinder was named a winner. Editors applauded the new model’s move to a unibody platform from its prior body-on-frame design, which allowed for a weight loss of roughly 500 pounds while actually increasing space on the inside.

“Most SUV drivers are only willing to give up so much to save on gas, but with the new Nissan Pathfinder, they don’t have to give up a thing,” said Joe Lage, general sales manager of Rosen Nissan Gurnee, an Illinois Nissan dealership. “The Pathfinder provides all the space and amenities that families need without the excess that weighs down the competition. It returns class-leading fuel economy, but it doesn’t shy away from its athletic past either.”

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder can net up to 26 mpg on the highway, which is no mean feat for a vehicle that can also tow up to 5,000 pounds and seat seven. That rare mix of capability and fuel economy comes not only from the SUV’s sleek shape and lighter weight, but also from its advanced 260-horsepower V6 engine and continuously variable transmission, which supply ample acceleration and impressive cruising efficiency.

While the Pathfinder is the latest result of Nissan’s efforts to green up its lineup, there are more sustainable models on the way. For example, the Japanese automaker is further refining its all-electric LEAF compact car, using the latest technology to increase its driving range while reducing its price tag.

With a lighter lithium-ion battery pack and a rearranged drivetrain, the 2013 Nissan LEAF, which is set to go on sale early next year, has shed about 180 pounds. That new setup has resulted in a 14-percent jump in driving range, with a single charge now getting drivers as far as 140 miles before the vehicle needs to be plugged in again.

“The LEAF was already a standard-bearer for electric cars on the mass market, but Nissan isn’t resting on that achievement,” added Lage. “Nissan’s dedication to producing cutting-edge cars is changing the way we think about the daily drive, and it has positioned the automaker as a leader in alternative drivetrains.”