After a series of embarrassing breakdowns and mechanical problems, most recently a well-publicized “mis-fueling” incident in Israel, the White House announced that it is trading in the Cadillac presidential limo for a Hyundai Elantra.
“There’s a lot we like about the current Presidential limousine,” said White House press undersecretary Benjamin Disasterstein. “The control layout is uncluttered and it gets pretty good fuel economy for a twelve-ton armored vehicle. But getting it worked on anywhere outside of DC is a real nightmare, and now that it’s out of warranty, we have to think about these things. With Hyundai’s 10 year/100,000 mile warranty and world-wide dealer network, that won’t be an issue, at least not until well into Hilary’s second term. And if the Republicans are right about the President’s economic policies, the Hyundai Buyer Assurance program will allow us to return the car and walk away from the payments.”
Disasterstien said President Obama was directly involved in the selection of the new vehicle, a 2013 Hyundai Elantra Limited in Azure Blue Pearlcoat with alloy wheels, leather seats, and the optional Limited Technology package, which includes dual-zone climate control and a 7″ touch-screen navigation system.
“We really didn’t need nav,” says Disastersteen, “But that was the only blue Limited they had in stock, and if we custom-ordered the car, we wouldn’t be eligible for the $1,500 Competitive Trade-In cash-back bonus. Besides, the dual-zone climate thing will come in handy. The President and the First Lady are always arguing about the temperature in the car.”
President Obama immediately came under fire for not buying an American-made vehicle, but Dinerstean said that the White House did consider vehicles from the Big Three.
“Our first stop was a Chevy dealership to test-drive a Cruze Eco, but they kept trying to push us into an Equinox with much higher payments. The Focus was nice — the President loved that self-parking feature — but the First Lady didn’t care for the way the transmission shifted. And the President said no to the Dodge Dart, because he had a buddy in college who owned a Fiat X1/9 and it was always in the shop.”
The Secret Service refused to comment on what type of armament and protection will be fitted to the Presidential Elantra. However, an anonymous source inside the White House told Autoblopnik that the car will be driven in stock condition, because “no criminal in his right mind would think a guy driving a Hyundai Elantra is a valuable target.”
South Korean automaker Hyundai has been arrested and charged with murder after fellow South Korean automaker Kia was found shot to death inside Hyundai’s gated residence in Fountain Valley, California.
Hyundai, through it’s lawyer Ivana Soudabastad, claims that the Kia shooting was accidental, and that Hyundai simply mistook Kia for an intruder.
“Fountain Valley is the tenth most dangerous city in Orange County,” explained Hyundai spokesexplainor Chris “Horse” Ford. “It’s only natural that we’d want to protect ourselves against threats.”
While the two companies present a unified front to the outside world, insiders talk of rising tensions between Hyundai and its on-again, off-again subsidiary.
“On the outside, it looks like they had a loving relationship,” said Hyundai marketing executive Ki Ya, speaking on condition of anonymity, “but behind closed doors, there was a lot of violence and manipulation. Come on — do you really think Kia wanted the US-market Cadenza to be an Azera clone instead of the rear-drive K9?”
Several news reports have chronicled rising tensions between the two related companies. Though Kia is a subsidiary of Hyundai, analysts say their more modern designs have been eating into Hyundai’s sales.
“Hyundai has been undergoing a product revolution,” analyzed automotive analyst Paul Eisenstadtician of The Detroit Booger. “But Kia’s designs are proving more popular with buyers in both North America and South Korea. Hyundai doesn’t like to show it, but that’s a real problem for them.”
“Hyundai has always been jealous of Kia’s success,” said Ya our anonymous source. “Kia is only supposed to nip at Hyundai’s ankles. Instead, Kia has cut them off at the knees.”
In the wake of an EPA investigation and Hyundai’s official admission that they overstated their fuel economy estimates, several Hyundai owners are insisting that their Elantras and Accents really do get 40 MPG.
“This whole thing is just a load of bullshit,” said Harold B. Fetz, a retired forklift driver and Accent owner from Bellflower, California.
Despite our objections, Mr. Fetz took an Autoblopnik correspondent for a ride to demonstrate his Hyundai’s fuel economy. After merging onto the freeway, moving to the far-left lane, and accelerating to 5 MPH below the speed limit, Mr. Fetz reset his trip computer and showed us that the car was indeed able to maintain a sustained 40.1 MPG. By braking hard, darting across four lanes to his exit, and narrowly missing two cars, a UPS truck, and a charter bus full of Honduran missionaries, Mr. Fetz was able to increase his fuel economy to 40.2 MPG.
Bill Homecrick, founder of the “!!HyundaisRool4EVER!!!” forum at forums4free.com, says he can point to “at least six” forum members who claim to get 40 MPG or better out of their 2011 and 2012 Elantras.
“My Elantra only gets 34 MPG,” Homecrick told Autoblopnik, “but I’m still in the 50,000 mile advanced pre-break-in phase. These Korean-engineered engines are way more custom precision than anything Japan makes, so you have to drive them special. But these guys say it can be done, and even though I’ve never met them in real life, and despite my suspicion that three of the accounts belong to the same person, I believe them,” he said.
Asked about Hyundai’s admission that they overstated their EPA figures, Homecrick said he was skeptical.
“I think the Government forced them to do it because they own part of GM, which sucks, and Hyundais are so much better. They couldn’t stand Hyundai making their sucky Government Motors cars look bad.”
Fetz agreed with Homecrick’s assertion of a conspiracy. “The goddamned tree-hugging liberals are trying to sully the goddamned name of a perfectly good goddamned company,” said Harold Fetz. “This never would have happened if we had elected Mitt goddamned Romney.”
Hyundai declined to comment, but did ask Autoblopnik if we thought Messers Fetz or Homecrick had any public relations experience and might be looking for a job.
Hyundai, which touts itself as “America’s most fuel-efficient car company,” announced that all of its vehicles will achieve 60,000 miles per gallon by 2025, exceeding the upcoming CAFE standards by 59,945.5 MPG.
“Of course people are saying it can’t be done,” said Hyundai spokesachiever Miles Trailer. “They said the same thing about the hundred-thousand mile warranty, and about our Hyundai Assurance buy-back program, and about building a credible rear-wheel-drive luxury car for under $40,000. We achieved all of those goals, and we’ll achieve this one, too. Fuckin’-A.”
“The only way to achieve such an astronomical number would be to violate the second law of thermodynamics,” industry analyst George “Big” Peter of AutoPathetic told Autoblopnik.com. “But Hyundai has always enjoyed a close relationship with the South Korean government, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re able to get the law changed.”
“Of course, 60,000 MPG isn’t really 60,000 MPG,” explained duelling industry analyst Paul Einsteinstienstadt of The Detritus Bureau. “With EPA credits and other loopholes, it’s likely that none of the cars will get much higher than 45,000 MPG.”
“Eisensteinstienstadt is a two-bit press-trip junkie who couldn’t analyze his way out of a paper bag,” Peter rebutted. “Hyundai has a proven track record here, and if they say their cars will get 60,000 MPG, they’ll get 60,000 MPG. Perhaps if Paul spent more time actually analyzing the industry and less time boffing my wife, he’d get something right for a change.”
In Detroit, the Big Three were quick to respond. General Motors plans to lobby the EPA for a modified fuel economy test that would involve letting the cars roll downhill with the engine off. Ford says it believes it can achieve 60,000 MPG with no government assistance, thanks to a new four-cubic-inch one-and-a-half-cylinder engine with ten turbochargers that is currently in development. Chrysler responded by sitting back, lighting a cigarette, and saying “Let’s not worry about tomorrow. Hai gli occhi così belli. What are you doing for dinner?”
© Autoblopnik – Hat tip to Jacob Bourne
Former General Motors marketing chief Joel Ewanick granted an exclusive interview to Autoblopnik in which he said he is going to take some time to decide on his next career step, but is eager to return to the automotive industry.
“When you’ve worked as many jobs as I have in such a short time, sometimes it’s good to take a break and get some perspective,” the Wharton graduate told Autoblopnik from his office at the Boeing Aircraft company, where he was just one hour into his new job as Vice President of Marketing for the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer. In that time, Ewanick had already doubled the number of aircraft orders he generated at European rival Airbus, which had employed him as Director of Sales the previous afternoon.
“General Motors is one of the world’s great companies,” Ewanick said, breezing out of his office to accept a job as chief of marketing for Pepsi-Cola, where he increased overall market share by seven percent before being hired away for the rest of the afternoon by Johnson Wax. “Yes, it was harder to get things done than it was at Hyundai, or Nissan, or Porsche, or Home Depot, or Black & Decker, or Wal-Mart, or Pep Boys, or the State of Idaho, or even Dell, though maybe not as tough as General Dynamics or Burger King or Weyerhauser. Still, it’s cool to say you worked at General Motors, even when you’ve headed up marketing for companies like US Shoe and Dunder-Mifflin and Kroger Markets and been head of research for Corning Labs and DKNY.”
During a break for dinner, which he spent turning down positions at RJR Nabisco (“I hate smoking,” Ewanick explained) and Target (“Homophobes”) and briefly taking over as the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ewanick said he would love to work in the automotive industry again, and that he has had “productive talks” with Mazda, Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, Kia, Fisker, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, Suzuki and Audi, some or all of which he planned to work for in the next week.
“The goal is to find a company where I can settle down for a good long time,” he told us as he contemplated a job offer from NBC-Universal and designed a sneaker that lets you jump to the moon. “Like maybe a month.”
As the sun set behind the picture window of his new office at 3M, which hired him just as our interview was drawing to a close, Mr. Ewanick leaned back in his chair, invented a kind of toothpaste that doesn’t make orange juice taste terrible, and picked up a picture of wife and children.
“These guys are all that really matters,” he said, pausing to wipe away a tear and cure cancer. “The people who love you. That’s what is really important.”
Hyundai has announced details of the facelifted 2013 Sonata, including a radically lower price and a long list of industry-first ameneties.
“We tried leading the mid-size segment in styling, but then the goddamned Kia Optima came along and hammered the shit out of us,” explained Hyundai’s foul-mouth spokesman Miles Trailer. “We tried the 35 MPG thing, but my grandmother can’t even get that kind of mileage out of the goddamned car, and she’s dead. And don’t even get me started on the hybrid. What a clusterfuck that was. So we said, ‘Fuck it, let’s go back and do the value thing.’”
The 2013 Sonata will include several new technologies as standard equipment, including active noise-cancelling leather seats, nineteen-zone climate control, and a magical horse named Phillip who can grant wishes. The optional Preferred Plus Package includes a personal valet, a solid gold lawn furniture set, and a pink helicopter that can fly to the sun, while the top-of-the-line Limited model adds a six-bedroom condo in Tahiti and a direct phone line to the White House.
In addition, Hyundai is expanding it’s warranty to cover the car for ten thousand years or one hundred billion miles, whichever comes first.
“Value has always been a core pillar of,” said Hyundai of America CEO John Hotchick, who then abruptly wandered off because he was distracted by something shiny.
“I think he was going to say that value has always been a core pillar of Hyundai, or some shit like that,” said Trailor. “Point is, our cars used to be dirt fucking cheap, now they aren’t, and people still don’t want to be seen in a piss-Christing Hyundai. So we’re going back to that whole shitloads-of-equipment thing, and… John! John! Put that lady down!”
Hyundai has not announced pricing, but Trailer says a nicely-equipped Sonata will retail for “about a dollar twenty five,” adding, “Let’s see you beat that, you Kiassholes!”
Concerned about media reaction to the performance of the upcoming Veloster Turbo, Hyundai has decided to fit a less-powerful engine to the base-model Veloster in order to widen the performance gap between the two cars.
The Veloster Turbo reportedly accelerates to 60 MPH in about 8 seconds, while the normally-aspirated Veloster has been tested in the low-to-mid 9-second range.
“In order to convince the media that we are competitive in this segment,” says Hyundai spokesman Miles Trailer, “we need a gap of at least three seconds.”
Asked if an 8 second 0-60 time was sufficient for a turbocharged performance car, Trailer said, “Of course it isn’t, but who does instrumented testing these days? Just the major magazines, and no one reads those anymore. We know the Veloster Turbo is slower to 60 than a Honda Odyssey minivan, but as long as it feels faster than a regular Veloster, that’s all they care about. More importantly, that’s all they’ll write about.”
Hyundai says they plan to have several competing performance cars available to journalists at the Veolster Turbo’s press preview, including a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, a Fiat 850 Sport Coupe, and a Honda CRX HF with one of the spark plug wires disconnected.
Asked why Hyundai did not simply improve the performance of the Veloster Turbo, Trailer told Autoblopnik, “Because that would cost more money, and you know how the big wigs in Korea get when we spend money. Hell, they wouldn’t even let us spend the cash to put the same number of doors on both sides of the car.”
Last month, Hyundai’s Ulsan plant began producing Velosters with a de-stroked version of the 1.6 liter Gamma engine. A modified crankshaft reduces displacement to 1.3 liters, dropping horsepower from 138 to 96 and torque from 123 lb-ft to 89 lb-ft. In an exclusive interview with chief engineer Kyu Bong Kim, Autoblopnik asked about the effect on fuel economy, but Kim was unable to tell us because he does not speak English and Hyundai did not provide a translator.
Early tests show a 0-60 time for the modified Veloster of about 12.5 seconds, but if the car proves too quick in real-world driving, says Trailer, “We still have some carbureted 1.5s from the Excel back in the warehouse.”
Hyundai says that retroactively fitting the modified engines to Velosters already on the road would be cost prohibitive, but they have issued a manditory Technical Service Bulletin that consists of retarding the ignition timing and dropping a couple of balled-up gym socks into the air cleaner box.
© 2012 Autoblopnik