Kona, Powertrains and Autonomous Vehicles

Hyundai Motor America is launching a B-segment crossover in the U.S., and John Juriga, Director of Powertrain, Hyundai-Kia Technical Center, talks about it on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.” Juriga points out that the Kona is based on an all-new platform and slots in the company’s CUV lineup below the Tucson, Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport.

Hyundai Motor America is launching a B-segment crossover in the U.S., and John Juriga, Director of Powertrain, Hyundai-Kia Technical Center, talks about it on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”

Kona

Juriga points out that the Kona is based on an all-new platform and slots in the company’s CUV lineup below the Tucson, Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport.

As he is a powertrain guy, he tells Autoline’s John McElroy, Tom Murphy of WardsAuto.com and me about the two powertrains that are available in the Kona, a 2.0-liter four that produces 147 hp mated to a six-speed automatic that provides a manual shifting mode and a 1.6-liter direct-injected turbocharged four that’s combined with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).

The choice of a dual-clutch leads to a discussion of the differences, characteristics and benefits of DCTs, traditional step-gear transmissions and continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).

KonaEngine

And, of course, there is the topic of the internal combustion engine and its future vis-à-vis competitive approaches, such as battery electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles (of which Hyundai has both). Juriga is confident—“I’m 110 percent confident”—that were he to come back to the show in 10 years that we would still be talking about internal combustion engines, and that there is a lot of work that can be done to improve the efficiencies of the engines. (And it is worth noting that hybrids—including plug-ins—have internal combustion engines, so as they’re projected to increase in market share, so improvements in engines is essential for them, as well.)

McElroy, Murphy and I then discuss some of the industry sales results for January, which includes some significant declines (Ford brand was down 5.6 percent and Lincoln brand down 27 percent) and notable increases (Toyota brand was up 17 percent and Lexus brand up 15 percent).

And we talk about the implications of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on sales going forward. That is, if AVs are shared vehicles, this means that there will be fewer sold because more people will use each than is presently the case. In addition, if many of these vehicles are accessed via ride-hailing services, such as Uber or Lyft, then what color it is or even what its configuration is don’t matter as much as they do when you are actually buying a vehicle, then OEMs will have to have less variety of vehicles, which means that there will undoubtedly be an effect on the number of assembly plants required.

What’s more, we talk about what the number 504,599 signifies.

And you can see it all right here.