Hyundai replaced General Motors as the official automotive sponsor of the NFL with a four-season deal that was announced this week.

Hyundai gets exclusive sponsorship rights for mainstream and luxury cars, though not for pickups – as it doesn't have one in its current portfolio. "There may be another automotive truck sponsor, but not one that competes with our vehicle lineup," a Hyundai spokesman said in an email. That leaves the door open for another truckmaker to enter the fray. GM used the NFL to promote its GMC division, which makes pickups and sport-utility vehicles. The Detroit automaker decided to quit the sponsorship, which it had held since 2001, a GM spokesman said.

Financials were not released, but ESPN said the sponsorship will cost Hyundai $50 million a year, double what GM paid. It gives Hyundai access to NFL trademarks for use in its marketing and advertising, and Hyundai will provide promotional vehicles to the league for the Super Bowl and other events. Hyundai celebrated the agreement by lighting up its Fountain Valley, CA, headquarters this week with a football field and the NFL logo. Hyundai's sister company, Kia, is the official automotive sponsor of the NBA.

"We are huge football fans at Hyundai and feel there is no better venue to reach consumers, increase consideration, and tell the Hyundai brand story," Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski said in a statement.

Hyundai will officially kick off its sponsorship when the NFL season begins on Sept. 10 with a primetime game featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

OTHER NEWS & NOTES

toyota miraiToyota Mirai rated at 67 mpge, 312-mile range

The Environmental Protection Agency gave the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric car a 67-miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating. The figure is for city, highway, and combined driving. The EPA also said the Mirai will have a 312-mile range. The sedan will arrive in dealerships in California this fall and will cost $57,500, though incentives can drop the price significantly. The Mirai will also be offered as a $499-per-month lease. Both come with three years or $15,000 worth of free fuel. Toyota plans to expand sales to the Northeast United States later.

Julie HampToyota's top female exec resigns in wake of arrest

Meanwhile, in other Toyota news, the automaker's communications chief and top female executive, Julie Hamp, resigned. She was arrested in June after police said she illegally imported the painkiller oxycodone to Japan. Hamp's promotion in March was hailed as a landmark moment for the automaker, which has had few ranking female executives. Though company CEO Akio Toyoda supported Hamp, negative publicity surrounding the arrest hung over the automaker and police raided its headquarters. In a statement, Toyota said it "accepted her resignation after considering the concerns and inconvenience that recent events have caused our stakeholders."

Magna SteyrJaguar Land Rover signs manufacturing deal with Magna Steyr

Jaguar Land Rover has signed on Magna Steyr as a contract manufacturing partner to build unspecified vehicles. Magna Steyr will assemble products for JLR at its facility in Graz, Austria. The British automaker already is nearing capacity at its three factories in the United Kingdom as it moves forward with aggressive growth plans. JLR has doubled its sales to more than 462,000 vehicles in the last five years, and its employment has also doubled to more than 35,000 people. Magna Steyr, a division of automotive supplier Magna International, builds the Mercedes G-Class and has a lengthy track record of contract assembly for automakers.


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