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Exec Says: Hyundai to Add Another Luxury Model
Date Posted 09-27-2005

SEOUL — With the Azera scheduled to hit the market in the next month, Hyundai already is planning its next luxury vehicles.

Spy photographers have been wildly snapping pictures of a highly camouflaged luxury car that Hyundai has been testing in Arizona, speculating it is a replacement for the boxy Equus, which is sold in Asia and the Middle East. However, it is actually a new model that fits between the Azera and the Equus.

"In the second half of next year or early 2007, we hope to launch the new luxury model, codenamed BH, in the U.S. and European markets to be a competitor of BMW and Mercedes luxury sedans," Jake Jang, a Hyundai Motor spokesman in Seoul, told Inside Line.

The new model would be rear-wheel drive and equipped with Hyundai's upgraded Lambda engine, currently used in 3.3-liter displacement in the Sonata built at Hyundai's new Alabama plant, Jang said. Displacement for that engine would be bumped to 3.5 liters and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The design of the BH would bear the automaker's "family look," shared with the Sonata and the Azera, Jang said.

The BH sedan likely would be shipped from South Korea rather than produced at the Alabama plant, which will add Santa Fe SUV production next year.

What this means to you: Hyundai is becoming a full-line manufacturer with luxury cars. Watch out, BMW and Mercedes.

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