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2011 Hyundai Sonata – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2010 Hyundai Equus - Click above for high-res image gallery

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As Hyundai continues to pull itself up by its bootstraps, the company is moving decisively and picking up share around the globe. However, one key market continues to be so problematic for the brand that they've decided to abandon it altogether: Japan. Rather than dodder around and wait for its disappointing performance to improve, Hyundai is tying off the bleeder that is the company's Japanese market presence. The cars themselves, either under Hyundai badging or as Kias, have become contenders

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If you haven't noticed, Hyundai's been on a multifaceted tear lately. Earlier this year, Hyundai came out with its Hyundai Assurance Program, letting customers return their cars if they suffered a loss of employment. CEO John Krafcik confirms that Hyundai Assurance is staying until the end of 2009, and its future beyond that is under serious scrutiny. Aside from its new models, the innovative car-return initiative was probably the biggest news to come out of Hyundai all year, and other automaker

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So far, Hyundai has been the only automaker in the U.S. to accept early trade-ins under the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), or Cash-for-Clunkers (CFC), program. Most are waiting for the U.S. Department of Transportation to finalize the program's rules and regulations by July 24th, but Hyundai decided to start early since the program covers all transactions dating back to July 1st. Since the government hasn't set up a reimbursement process for the rebates that range from $3,500 to $4,500 just

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While most automakers are reporting double-digit drops in sales each month, Hyundai and Kia continue to swim against the current and maintain (or even increase) units sold. According to Automotive News, a significant part of their success is attributable to fleet sales – large numbers of cars going directly into rental and corporate fleets. During the first quarter of 2009 alone, more than 33 percent of Hyundai's first quarter sales of 95,854 units were fleet related. Rental car sales repr

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In 2007 Hyundai had a US sales target of 555,000. That number was set by HQ in Korea, and when it was clear they weren't going to make it, they revised it downward to just over 500,000. By the time the bell rung, even that number proved a little beyond Hyundai's reach: they sold 467,009 cars last year. That still represented a 2.5-percent gain over 2006 sales.

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Hyundai announced today that it has passed the five million sales milestone in the U.S. since entering the market a little over two decades ago. During that time, Hyundai has transformed itself from a cheap and shoddy import brand into one that can rival industry leader Toyota for reliability, and is now on track to reach its goal of being the fifth largest automaker in the world by the end of the decade.

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