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Hyundai Looks to Lead the Way in Efficiency

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On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 11:43AM | By: Chris Weiss

Hyundai Looks to Lead the Way in Efficiency

Hyundai announced intentions of averaging 50 mpg across its entire line by 2025, pushing to continue its leading role in fuel efficiency. Hyundai's plan, which was announced earlier this week, pushes ahead of U.S. government requirements that dictate an average of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Prior to the NHTSA requirements of 35.5 mpg by 2016, Hyundai had announced intentions of reaching 35 mpg by 2015. Hyundai is clearly embracing the future of efficient technology and looking to maintain an industry lead that it's enjoyed since 2008.

Hyundai earned the distinction of most fuel efficient automaker in 2008, offering the highest average across its vehicle lineup. That year, Hyundai first earned the top spot with a combined average of 30.9 mpg, beating Honda by 0.8 mpg.

Interestingly, none of the top 15 most efficient cars, as reported by Consumer Reports at the beginning of 2010, were Hyundais. In fact, Toyota and Honda dominated the list with five and three models, respectively. Compared to those other two automakers, Hyundai's U.S. line is smaller and more focused, with crossovers and large sedans representing its largest vehicle offerings.

Hyundai points to the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, which will only offer a four-cylinder engine option, as an example of the types of moves it will make to pave the efficiency path. Hyundai eliminated larger engine options in favor of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine not only to cut gasoline requirements directly, but also to cut weight by 40 pounds. Hyundai took another 90 pounds off the Sonata with additional weight-saving measures.

According to EPA figures, the 2010 Hyundai Sonata with four-cylinder engine is the most fuel efficient large car, earning a 22 city/32 highway rating. The 2011 Sonata boasts a highway rating of 35 mpg.

Hyundai will also offer a smaller 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine option and Sonata Hybrid this fall, making the Sonata even more efficient.

While Hyundai has clearly begun to tinker its line toward increased efficiency, the road ahead remains unclear. John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO said: "We don’t know specifically how to get there, but we do have a roadmap."

Still, Krafcik was full of confidence in the automaker's ability to reach its new goal, adding: "We're committed to setting the pace in this industry on fuel economy, and we're inspired by the possibilities that our advanced Blue Drive technologies afford. Getting to 50 mpg and beyond seems like a huge leap, but by making this commitment and aligning our R&D initiatives now, we know we can get there."

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