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Former Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik has had a tumultuous year. Last June, he won the Automotive Executive of the Year from DNV Business Assurance. Then in December, he suddenly announced he was stepping down from his leadership role at the Korean automaker on January 1, with some suggesting it was because the company's sales growth was too far below forecasts. Now, it looks like the exec has landed a new role on the board of directors of online car shopping website TrueCar.

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Hyundai owns five percent of the U.S. retail market share, but it's trying to maintain that number with razor-thin inventory levels. According to The Detroit Free Press, the situation has forced the automaker to cut back on fleet sales and pump out every vehicle it can from its Alabama assembly plant, which is prepping a third shift in the fall.

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A sale is a sale, right? Well, at least in the automotive world, that's not entirely true. A sale to a regular consumer is, generally speaking and for a number of reasons, much more attractive to an automaker than a sale to a fleet company (sales to companies or the government, for instance).

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Hyundai has been hitting on all cylinders of late, adding the Elantra Coupe and Hatchback, the Veloster Turbo and the upcoming Azera. That's a lot of new metal for one calendar year, and it appears the Korean automaker is just getting warmed up.

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Why is this man smiling? Well, it could be because hotcakes only wish they were selling as well as Hyundais. Or perhaps that grin says he knows something we don't – like when and where his company plans to build a second North American assembly plant.

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This isn't really shocking news – we've known that Hyundai has been working on a turbocharged version of its new Veloster for quite some time – but it's nice to have official confirmation directly from CEO John Krafcik on the company's Twitter account and via a live announcement at SEMA. The highly anticipated 2013 Veloster Turbo will debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January, reportedly alongside a refreshed Genesis Coupe.

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Like nearly every other automaker these days, Hyundai is keenly focused on bringing fuel-efficient vehicles to market. That apparently means the automaker doesn't currently see a need for a halo sportscar to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette, though it recognizes it would be an exciting addition to the lineup. Hyundai's North American CEO, John Krafcik tells Ward's Auto that even though such a model would would be a fun addition to the family, a range-topping sports car would also

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It's a great time to be a fan of small cars, and Hyundai is nearly ready to add its 2012 Veloster into the marketplace. If you've been waiting for this one to appear in your local showroom, we've got some news for you. Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik just tweeted that it's going to cost you $17,300 for a Veloster. Full pricing is due later this week, but that base price undercuts the Honda CR-Z, arguably its most natural rival, by over $2,000, while offering more room and th

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Hyundai has been on a consistent sales tear for many months, and that means additional production isn't far behind. Automotive News reports the Korean automaker will invest $173 million to modify and expand its Alabama engine plant. The expansion, which will make room for a new engine for the Hyundai Elantra, could be completed by March, 2012, and it will require Hyundai to add 214 much-needed jobs.

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Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik believes that some automakers are starting a price war, which would be an unwise move that focuses solely on short-term sales.

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First the Genesis sedan, then the Equus. Clearly, Hyundai is pinning its ears back and charging upmarket like Ndamukong Suh rushing Aaron Rodgers. And, like the rookie Husker-bred defensive end, the Korean automaker is making a rather successful transition to the next level. What's next? Quite possibly a sedan designed to compete directly with the benchmark entry-level luxury sedan, the BMW 3 Series. After that, Hyundai may craft a crossover to go up against the segment-defining Lexus RX CUV.

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

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

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Hyundai Equus: Click above for photo gallery

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