Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept Truck wins Award for Design, Appeal

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif.,  – It kicked off 2015 with a buzz-generating surprise debut at the North American International Auto Show in January, and now the popular Hyundai Santa Cruz has earned the prestigious title of Concept Truck of the Year at the 14th annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year (NACVOTY) Awards at the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s.



The Santa Cruz was recognized as the Concept Truck of the Year for its design, style, materials, technology, market visibility and market responsiveness – besting the Kia Trail’Ster and Mitsubishi GC-PHEV. The award was presented by Mark Phelan, auto critic at the Detroit Free Press and NACVOTY juror.

“The compact-truck segment in the U.S. is tremendously competitive, and overall truck sales have skyrocketed to become one of the best-selling segments in today’s market,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Hyundai’s new Santa Cruz crossover truck concept is a modern take on the classic theme of one of America’s most-loved segments – the pickup truck. Unlike some of the industry’s past attempts to blend open bed utility with passenger car attributes, Santa Cruz delivers innovative functionality and flexibility in a compact, fun-to-drive package for a new breed of pickup truck buyers. We are proud that the Santa Cruz got the vote of approval as the Concept Truck of the Year from some of the auto industry’s most esteemed critics.”

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

The NACVOTY awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. More than two dozen jurors participated in a selection process that involved a total of 30 vehicles, each introduced to North America during this season’s auto shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and New York.


“The Santa Cruz is what the light-truck category needs – loads of style for people without big loads,” said Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design and Production editor-in-chief and NACVOTY juror.

The innovative Hyundai Santa Cruz crossover truck concept reflects a completely new interpretation of truck utility for a new generation of buyers. The Santa Cruz concept meets the unspoken needs of a growing millennial lifestyle that Hyundai calls “urban adventurers.” This new crossover provides urban adventurers the expandable utility they need throughout their active week – from work-life professionalism to social interests to a variety of outdoor pursuits –without the typical compromises they have come to expect from the industry’s current product offerings. The Santa Cruz concept is purposely compact, and although it features four doors and seating for five, its overall footprint is similar to that of a small CUV.

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept


Founded in 2002, the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards recognize those concept vehicles that have made the strongest impact in terms of automotive design, engineering and market responsiveness. Professional automotive journalists from throughout North America, representing dozens of outlets in virtually every media segment, serve as volunteer jurors to select the award winners. The awards are given to the best Production Preview Vehicle, Concept Car, Concept Truck and Most Significant Concept Vehicle of each auto show season. To be eligible for the awards, a concept vehicle must make its North American debut during the current model year’s auto show season.



2016 Hyundai Tucson gets new styling, efficiency and safety features

2016 Tucson

2016 Hyundai Tucson

 FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. – Hyundai’s all-new 2016 Tucson compact crossover offers an unmatched combination of a modern design, enhanced driving dynamics, increased utility and the latest in safety and entertainment technologies, all with a starting price of $22,700. Hitting dealers later this month, the Tucson is ideally suited for today’s crossover buyers who are demanding a vehicle solution that fits seamlessly into their busy lifestyles. 

Tucson is available in four distinct trim levels, each with a compelling value proposition, offering a Tucson for different buyer preferences. Those include:

  • SE: Well-equipped, price-leading model including popular options
  • Eco: Affordable turbo model that delivers more power and improved fuel economy
  • Sport: Features sporty cues and driving dynamics
  • Limited: Luxury model with leather, advanced technology and other premium features

“The all-new Tucson hits the sweet spot of what consumers are looking for in a compact crossover with competitive pricing advantages at every trim level,” said Scott Margason, director, Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “For example, the Tucson SE has a MSRP advantage and averages $700 in additional content compared to its competitors in the class. As Tucson competes in one of the fastest growing and most competitive segments in the industry, we can’t wait for the 2016 Tucson to make its way to dealers in just a few short weeks.”


Model Engine Transmission Drivetrain MSRP

2.0L 4-Cylinder

6-Speed Automatic FWD $22,700

2.0L 4-Cylinder

6-Speed Automatic

AWD $24,100

1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

 7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch FWD $24,150
Eco  1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder  7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch AWD $25,550

1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

 7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch FWD $26,150
Sport  1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch

AWD $27,550

1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch

FWD $29,900
Limited  1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch

AWD $31,300

Freight charges for the 2016 Tucson are $895 and not included in the prices above.

Rogue’s hot sales prepare for 2016 with new features, technology

  • Rogue sales increase 54.3 percent in June, 36.3 percent for the year
  • Rogue enhancements for the 2016 model year include available Forward Emergency

    Braking (FEB), Motion-Activated Power Liftgate, NissanConnectSM Services powered by SiriusXM and Siri Eyes Free

  • 2016 Rogue available at Nissan dealers nationwide in fall 2015

    NASHVILLE, Tenn.  – As Nissan readies to launch the 2016 Nissan Rogue this fall, demand for the boldly designed crossover has never been higher – a trend that is expected to continue with a number of significant enhancements for the new model year.

    Totally redesigned just two years ago, Rogue adds to its already impressive suite of available safety, security and convenience features with the addition of available Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), a Motion-Activated Power Liftgate, SiriTM Eyes Free and new telematics services. Additional changes to the Rogue lineup will be announced later in the 2016 model year.

    “The crossover segment, particularly small crossovers, is the hottest part of the automotive market right now,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, U.S.A., Nissan North America, Inc. “The Nissan Rogue is leading the sales growth pace and has not yet shown us the upper limits of the potential in the market.”

    The Rogue nameplate has experienced seven consecutive year-over-year sales gains since its launch in 2007. From first full-year sales of 73,000 units in 2008 to nearly 200,000 unit sales last year, Rogue has been one of the hottest-selling small crossovers in the U.S. market.

    Sales of Rogue and the all-new Murano are leading Nissan’s recent sales surge, with Murano sales up 73.8 percent in June and Rogue up 54.3 percent (versus June 2014 sales). The 2016 Maxima, which went on sale in early June, is already showing strong consumer interest.

    As in the previous two years, the 2016 Rogue combines emotive styling, a premium interior created with comfort and multi-tasking in mind, and an array of available affordable technologies. Rogue again offers optional 3-row/7-passenger seating, along with exceptional passenger and cargo flexibility with its innovative EZ Flex Seating SystemTM and innovative Divide-N-Hide® Cargo System.

    The engine is matched with an advanced Xtronic transmission. Rogue comes in three well- equipped models: S, SV and SL, each in a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

    Nissan’s advanced Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), which is usually found on more expensive luxury vehicles, uses radar technology to monitor speed and proximity to the vehicle ahead. It is available now on Murano and Maxima.

    Specific Rogue enhancements for 2016 include:
    • Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) added to Rogue SL Premium Package
    • Motion-Activated Power Liftgate added to Rogue SL
    • NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM added to Rogue SL
    • Blind Spot Warning (BSW) functionality changed from camera-based to radar-based
    • SiriTM Eyes Free added to Rogue SV Premium Package and Rogue SL
    • Body-colored outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and chrome door handles added to Rogue S Appearance Package

• Addition of one new exterior color: Magnetic Black

VW’s ‘Golden Sisters’ return to year-end sales event



Not since Clara Peller asked “Where’s the Beef?” in a 1984 Wendy’s spot and the “Golden Girls” made senior sisters a symbol of resilience and silly fun on weekly sitcom TV has a commercial  for Volkswagen of America, Inc. brilliantly filled the same space with irreverant humor, hard of hearing senior citizens, malaprops, double-entendres and well-written ads back to TV.

VW is bringing  “The Golden Sisters,” back again to star in the brand’s Model Year End Sales Event. With their unmistakable wit and charm, the sisters add a humorous yet creative twist to the usual sales campaign work typically seen in the industry. Kicking off online and broadcast, the sisters will be featured in two 30-second television ads, “What About a Deal” and “Hot Deals,” followed by six 15-second online videos which will appear on Volkswagen social media channels.

“We are happy to have the Golden Sisters back for another round of fun as we kick off our Model Year End Sales Event on TV and online,” said Vinay Shahani, vice president, Marketing, Volkswagen of America. “The sisters prove that sales event campaigns can be anything but typical, just like our dynamic range of products.”

The “Golden Sisters” made their Volkswagen debut in March of this year as stars of the VW TDI® Clean Diesel social media campaign, “Old Wives Tales.” The response to the campaign was overwhelmingly positive, making the decision to bring the trio back for more an easy one.

The campaign was created by Volkswagen’s advertising agency of record, Deutsch LA.

N.H. aka hands-free drivers everywhere: Zuna Drive mounts case for keeping your eyes on the road


Zuna-0937asCell Phone Case Provides Solid Protection & Serves As A Quality Car Mount For Safe Driving


If you live in my state – the “live free or die state” of New Hampshire – where hands-free driving became the law on July 1 from texting, driving and dying, the makers of a case that mounts your cellphone securely into the air vents of your car may well solve your worries and keep out of jail and the morgue.

According to the folks at Zuna it is the only cell phone case on the market designed to help prevent distracted driving. It’s also a high-quality, protective cell case and a hands-free vehicle mounting solution.

The Zuna Drive secures the phone to any vehicle vent with no additional attachments. The clever design combines a sturdy, impact-absorbing phone case with a uniquely designed built-in mounting clip on the back that attaches the phone seamlessly to any horizontal A/C or heating vent of a vehicle. The Zuna Drive secures the phone in place for navigation without blocking the driver’s view.

Zuna Press Photo 2The patented design of the product helps make sure the phone stays in line of sight allowing drivers to navigate via GPS, or easily and quickly accept a hands-free call, all the while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. And unlike dashboard mounting devices, the product travels with the user easily from vehicle to vehicle.

The Zuna Drive is available for iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, iPhone 5/5s and later this year the Samsung Galaxy. The product weighs just a few ounces and comes in three colors: Gray, Blue, Orange.

The Zuna Drive sells for $34.95-$39.99 and is available online at: and at, which is a small price to stay safe, out of jail, and alive behind the wheel.


Auto buying myths get debunked

Lisa Copeland, a pioneer in the field of automotive marketing and management for more than 25 years and Managing Partner of Fiat of Austin, the top Fiat retailer in North America since the brand’s return, debunks those myths regarding car buying and consumers’ rights:

Myth: You always have a three-day return period after you purchase a car.

Truth: There is no three-day period during which you can return your newly-purchased automobile to receive a refund. Some dealers have an internal offer for a three-day test drive or a seven-day return policy, but that is their internal program that is not mandated by the state. Be sure to get a copy of your dealer’s “return” policy. You might be surprised by all the loopholes involved.


Myth: You are always covered under the lemon law for any car you purchase.

Truth: The lemon law only applies to new cars, light trucks and recreational vehicles. It does not apply to used cars or motorcycles – a fact most people do not realize. The lemon law provides protection to purchasers of vehicles that spend an inordinate amount of time in the service department. It covers a car that has a defect that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of the vehicle and that can’t be repaired in at least four attempts, or a car that is out of service for a total of more than 30 business days.


Myth: You can make a lemon law claim on your car at any time.

Truth: The law only protects cars that are less than 12 months old or that have fewer than 12,000 miles. Also, the process must be started within 12 months from the date of purchase.

 Myth: You can make a claim under the lemon law with the dealer where you purchased the car.

Truth: It is important to remember that the dealer did not build the car — the dealer simply is a distributor for the manufacturer. So, the law actually requires that the claim be made through the manufacturer. Some buyers, having started the process through the dealer, find out that they needed to be working through the manufacturer only after their window of time has expired. The best place to find information on how to start the process is in your owner’s manual.

Myth: A lemon law claim is handled like a regular lawsuit.

Truth: Claims under the lemon law are handled through what is known as a Third Party Dispute Resolution Program. The benefit to the car buyer is that the manufacturer can’t challenge the findings of the Resolution Program. Remedies available to the successful consumer generally include receipt of a replacement vehicle or the manufacturer buying back the car less the decreased value due to the miles actually driven.

TomTom: 75 percent of Americans have car-guments


It may not be a surprise to any couple who’s debated the direction that’s best for travel that 75% of Americans have arguments — mostly concerning directions — in the car. Back-seat driving was cited as the cause in 68% of the car-guments. The survey did not indicate whether men or women were more likely to be cited for the alleged infraction.

While the old saw portends that guys will never stop for the directions and women surely will, TomTom found a survey of 2,000 U.S. drivers have verbal disagreements over directions and 28% result from being stuck in traffic.

TomTom’s Top 5 reasons for sparring include:

  1. Someone telling you how/where to drive and how to handle traffic (48%)
  2. Frustrations from being stuck in traffic (28%)
  3. How to handle other drivers (27%)
  4. Running late because someone took too long to get ready (27%)
  5. Speeding or driving too slowly (15%)

“There’s something about being in a car and on the road with others that seems to raise the stress level for Americans,” said Jocelyn Vigreux, President of TomTom, Inc.

“With a focus on helping people get to their destinations faster, TomTom is all about helping Americans shorten the amount of time they need to be in the car so they can get to their destinations faster and spend more time doing things they enjoy.”

To help people have more fun and suffer less jawing in the jalopy for the Fourth of July holiday, TomTom revealed data from last year’s traffic to help Americans plan travel for this year. General rule of thumb: hit the road either in the morning (7AM – 10AM) or night (7PM – Midnight) and likely save over an hour of travel time.

  • Heading North towards Maine from I-95 and Rt. 1 junction (first 78 miles):
    • Leaving between 7– 10AM or 7PM – Midnight takes about the same amount of time, at a little over an hour
    • Leaving any time between 10 AM – 6 PM means travelers will likely sit in traffic for up to an hour and half
  • Heading South towards NYC/Hamptons from I-95 and I-93 junction at Dedham (first 86 miles):
    • The worst time to travel (between 3PM and 6PM) only adds about 10 minutes to your ride, so Bostonians can pretty much leave at any time during the day and expect a maximum of about an hour and a half
  • Heading Northwest towards Concord from I-93 and 128 junction (first 53 miles):
    • Leaving between 3PM and 6PM adds at least 40 minutes so be sure to avoid this time frame
    • The shortest ride is in the morning from 7AM – 10AM and will take some 45 minutes
  • Heading Southeast to the Cape from I-93 and Pilgrims Highway junction (first 69 miles):
    • By far the worst traffic of all options, heading to the Cape will take anywhere from an hour up to 2 hours of travel time
    • Highest traffic is between 3PM and 6PM, taking some a whooping hour and 50 minutes (and that’s only for 69 miles!) so definitely avoid leaving then
    • Best bet is the morning hours (7AM – 10AM) when Americans can expect an hour and 10 minutes for that stretch

 Other key findings include:

Ø  68 percent of Americans say they got in a car-gument because of “back seat driving” either from a spouse/partner, friend or family member

Ø  27 percent said they didn’t speak to the person they argued with for a period of time

Ø  25 percent think being in tight quarters together for a period of time is what leads to many unnecessary car-guments

Ø  10 percent think they argue over music choice

Ø  Surprisingly, only 9 percent of car-guments come from sibling bickering (dispelling the idea that most arguments in the car happen among siblings)

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by OnePoll on behalf of TomTom, Inc. on June 22, 2015.  The sample size was 2,000 with a demographic of US adults over the age of 18. Respondents were selected and invited to participate at random from a double-opted in and fully managed online research panel.  OnePoll is a corporate member of ESOMAR and employs members of the MRS, employing standards that adhere to the MRS code of conduct.