Watch Out Tesla: Hyundai and Kia is coming soon, like today


Image result for niro ev

The 2019 Kia Niro EV

The Hyundai Group (Hyundai-Kia-Genesis) is serious.    Hyundai’s popular Sonata and Elantra models as well has Kia’s Optima’s and Forte has seen huge declines in sales.  Like the most of auto industry, consumers are choosing SUV’s over passenger cars.  With one exception Tesla.  If you in any major city you have seen a Tesla.

There are more 2018 Model 3’s on the road than the Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, and Nissan Altima.

Elon Musk now has the worlds attention.  Within the next 16 months, nearly every automaker will have an electric vehicle with a range of at least 200 miles in their lineup. The problem is, most of the planned vehicles are out of the price range of the average car buyer.  Jaguar I pace starts at 69K , Audi’s E-tron with 240 mile range will hit the streets in April starting at 74K.

The Tesla Model 3 was supposed to be at 35K the affordable electric car.  However, few has seen one. The average Tesla is selling for a pinch over 50k.   Tesla says, they will begin offering the base model this spring.  If you buy the base model as advertised, it will have a range of 264 miles and if your sticking to that price you must like the color black. Any other color is a fifteen hundred dollar option.

General Motors electric offering is the Chevy Bolt.  For 35,000 you can get a nicely equipped Bolt with a range of 240 miles.   The designers at GM went the Prius direction when it came to styling.   A car that said, I’m driving  I’m driving an environmental friendly non polluting car. Unfortunately the Prius isn’t selling and the Chevy Bolt are accumulating dust at Chevy Dealerships.

Its a sound car and a good alternative to Tesla. Unlike Tesla, no one would call the Chevy Bolt sexy.

Enter Hyundai

Hyundai, developed its first all electric car in 1991.  In 2011, the Company introduced the Hybrid Sonata Hybrid to the US Market. Currently, the automaker has seven variations of Hybrid, Plug In Hybrid models including two all electric models the Kia Soul EV and the Hyundai Ioniq models.  Those two electric models have a range of less than 115 miles.

Last November, Hyundai announced they would sell an all electric version of the Hyundai Kona.  This car,while smaller than the Tesla has an all important range of  258 miles.  Only seven fewer miles than the standard Tesla model 3 and a well equipped model will begin at $37,000 excluding the $7500 Federal Tax Credit, no longer available on the Tesla***

The  Hyundai Kona, recently received the Prestigious “North American Utility Vehicle of the Year” a first for any Hyundai.   The Kona. should go on sale any moment in California. That’s the good news for California Residents.  The bad news, is there is a long waiting list.

However, the Kia is plans to release an all electric version of its Niro next month. The NiroEV is larger than the KonaEV. The two vehicles share the same  64-kWh battery  however the range on the NiroEV is 239 miles.    Unlike the KonaEV, the NiroEV will offer faster charging,  a CCS DC fast-charging setup, which can refill the battery to 80 percent in 75 minutes.  30 minute will add approximately 100 miles of range.

  Kia says the NiroEV will go on sale mid-to-late February and will be available in 12 states.  California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington.

Pricing for the Niro EV will began around 38,000 before the $7500 Federal Tax Credit.

What is the Federal Tax Credit and why is it no longer available on Tesla’s? 

The Federal EV Tax Credit is not a rebate on the price of the car that you get instantly when making the purchase. You have to apply to receive it when you file your annual tax return. You or your tax professional will fill out an IRS Form 8936, which is submitted with your return. Since it is a tax credit, you have to wait until you file your next year’s return before you will receive the tax incentive.

You cannot claim the tax credit until you take delivery of the new vehicle. Deposits and prepayments do not count. It is not available on leased vehicles.

Each vehicle manufacturer is allowed to sell up to 200,000 qualifying plug-in electric vehicles (battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids) before the EV tax credit on their products begins to phase out.  This isn’t for one model, its applies to all EV models sold by a single Auto maker.

***Last year, Tesla sold nearly 150,000 Model 3’s,  When you include Tesla’s Model S and the Model X its has sold more than 200,000 cars.   To stay competitive, Tesla has reduced prices on all of their models.  

General Motors is projected to reach its maximum by late spring early summer**

In addition to the Federal Tax Credit,  some states are offering credits and rebates. Colorado is currently the most generous of the states, offering a credit of up to $5,000 that can be used in conjunction with the federal tax credit to save you up to $12,500 off the price of the car. In some cases, the incentives come in the form of an instant vehicle rebate.

California offers rebates up to $7000*  for residents on purchased and leased Electric Vehicles, plug in’s and fuel cell vehicle.  The state offers higher rebates for lower income car buyer.  *Unlike Colorado, California’s rebates are based on specific models and the is less you earn, the greater the rebate.

Sometime, Somewhere in 2019  “The 2020 Kia Soul EV “

The Kia Soul is Kia’s best selling model by a wide margin.  It is known for its generous interior space and urban dimensions.   It will also be powered by the same battery as the Kona EV, and the Niro EV.   The Kona and Niro storage is larger the the Soul’s but the Soul upright interior is larger.   The 2020 Soul’s are all new, and with an estimated range of 239 miles the 2020 SoulEV has more than double the driving range of the 2018 SoulEV . The release date of the SoulEv is unknown.  Some sources say next month, others say mid summer.

Currently on sale in California, is the first SUV fuel cell vehicle the Hyundai Nexo

with a base price of 59,000 and a range of 380 miles. Last month Hyundai sold 35 models.   The challenge for fuel cells vehicles, is refueling  stations.

If your keeping count, the Hyundai group has four electric vehicles, four plug in vehicles and one fuel cell SUV.

The demand is high for electric vehicles, with prices under 40K Hyundai will be Tesla’s largest competitor this year in the US.

While Tesla has an apple like following, Hyundai will put a sizable dent into Tesla’s sales by the third quarter of this year.    Tesla’s Model 3 was to be the peoples car, and its technology is superior to anything on Hyundai’s drawing board.   However, what separates these companies is price and service.

 Tesla, has a much smaller dealer network than the Hyundai Group and a shorter warranty.  However, many of Tesla’s fixes can be done electronically without the customer stepping into a service department.  Hyundai has more experience building cars.

If I wanted to buy an electric car today, are there any deals?  

With the exception of the European makes and the Chrysler Pacific plug in hybrid models, deep discounts are available.  There are also deep discounts for the lower range (less than 150 miles) all electric vehicles.

However, the best buy is on the all electric Chevy Bolt.  The Bolt has a range of nearly 240 miles.  When it was released, they sold quickly at full price.  Today, they are sitting on dealers lots.  Deep discounts and are available (check Chevy’s website for rebates) and as of this writing The Chevy Bolt still qualify for the full ($7500 Tax Credit-today**)  

How does the Niro Drive?

CityFella

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The Hyundai Kona EV is Coming to California


Image result for kona ev

Actually Hyundai’s Kona is already here and is being sold all over the United States and Canada. However, the Kona EV (Electric Vehicle) initially will only be sold in the Golden State.   The New Hyundai’s funky looking subcompact SUV was introduced last spring. 

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Hyundai Kona (W combustion engine)

Subcompact SUV’s are on fire and the Kona is what the struggling car maker needed.  Hyundai, Kia, Genesis group is car rich and SUV poor at a time when more people are buying SUV’s 

 Hyundai’s Kona is the first vehicle sold with a combustion engine and an all electric engine.    Hyundai says the Kona will have an electric range of  258 miles, which is higher than Nissan, the new Jaguar, the future Audi E tron and Chevy’s Bolt.  The only electric vehicle has a longer range, is Tesla. 

Timing

Pricing for the Kona EV starts at $37,000 before the $7500 Federal Tax Credit (for purchasers of an electric car ).   The Electric Kona should be on sales early next year, however only in California and eventually to the rest of the country.      

Tesla’s Model 3 is a bonafide hit. Out selling established players like, the Ford Fusion and the Nissan Altima.  As a result, by the time the Kona hits the market  Tesla buyers tax credit will be cut in half.   Tesla says they plan to sell a basic Model 3, at $35,000 base price, however this model with have a range of 220 miles. 

Yes Matilda, an Electic Car is in your future

Like the Model 3,   Kona EV is a hit before it hits showrooms.    Hyundai says, there is currently a 10 month wait for the electric vehicle.  While there isn’t much of a demand for cars these days there is a huge demand for electric vehicles.

Tesla’s Model 3, sold more cars than the entire brand of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi.  The Model 3, is the fifth bestselling car in the US,  only the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, and the Toyota Corolla is out selling the Model 3 and the average price of the Model 3 is more than double of those makes. 

Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have committed billions to the Electric market.  Mercedes Benz may jointly build electric cars with Tesla.  Volkswagen and Ford are talking about jointly building electric cars. 

Big Man Rides

While I haven’t completed a full test of the combustion Kona, I like the funkyness of the car  But it is a subcompact. Leg room for this 6.4 giant was just ok, and its a narrow vehicle .  It was tolerable but only for small jonts. It put together well and rides well for a subcompact .   For big people the nice driving yet homely Chevy Bolt has more room and the price for the two are nearly the same , however the driving range on the Hyundai is a little longer. Average sized people  wont have issue with the Kona.   

As for SUV’s the  Hyundai Kona is exceptional.  Its the only Subcompact SUV that offers two engine choices, and the only Subcompact that offers 4 wheel drive*     *The Kona EV will is only offered as a two wheel drive car. 

So if you live in the other 49 states and want a Hyundai Kona EV you’ll have to wait.  and if you live in the Golden State and want a Hyundai Kona EV, you’ll need to zip on down to your nearest Hyundai dealer and leave your deposit. What we learned from the Tesla, the line will only grow longer. 

CityFella

Don’t be surprised when these 3 types of cars flood the market


By: Mark Phelan/Detroit Free Press
Get ready for a flood of new vehicles unlike what you’ve seen before as automakers explore three market niches that are primed for growth.
As car companies de-emphasize production of low-profit sedans, at least two new classes of SUV-type vehicles are coming — prestigious midsize and basic transportation.

We may also see the return of compact pickups like the old Chevrolet S-10 and the modest Japanese pickups that helped Toyota and Nissan build their reputation for durable, inexpensive vehicles.

Smokin’ hot SUVs

First up: Five-passenger midsize SUVs that are loaded with style, not extra seats.

Ford and Nissan cottoned on to demand for these models years before other automakers.

The Ford Edge and Nissan Murano set the pace for the class with striking looks, roomy interiors and advanced features. They look good, command top dollar and compete with luxury SUVs like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 for thousands of dollars less.

The 2019 Chevy Blazer that was recently revealed is the first of the new midsize SUVs to break cover. It goes on sale early in 2019.

At least one more will debut from a Japanese competitor later this year, and Hyundai is reworking its Santa Fe family for a ritzier appeal.

The expected boom in these vehicles comes as buyers desert midsize and full-size sedans like the Ford Taurus and Hyundai Sonata.

Those customers want all the latest infotainment and driver assistance features, plus room to carry two couples to dinner comfortably.

Most automakers ignored five-passenger midsize SUVs until recently. They thought the big bucks were in selling six- and seven-passenger family hauling SUVs like Ford Explorer Toyota Highlander.

Those models are beginning to get some of the mom-mobile image that plagues minivans. The up-and-coming status symbol is spending as much or more on a slightly smaller, but really good looking SUV that says you’ve got plans beyond taking the soccer team for ice cream.

Just don’t call it a wagon

Automakers may quit building small, entry-level cars, but the people who bought those inexpensive models will still need transportation.

One answer, small SUV “ish” vehicles that look vaguely like an SUV but scrimp on features like all-wheel-drive, navigation systems and touch screens.

They’re the spiritual successors to the old Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix. Those cars  were basically Corolla station wagons with optional AWD, but their main appeal lay in a smidgeon more ground clearance and styling looked almost indefinably tougher than other small cars.

The new Nissan Kicks is a great example. Plastic cladding around the wheel wells and extra ground clearance belie its base price of $17,990, making it look just classy enough to be a first new car a young buyer isn’t embarrassed to arrive in.

As sales of subcompact cars like the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic trickle down to nothing, other brands will try to match the Kicks’ ability to look costlier than it is.

Return of compact pickup

Compact pickups’ first surge of popularity came when a generation of college grads discovered they cost less than a small sedan, had all the room a young single person needed, and came with a veneer of capability, even if they couldn’t tow or haul much.

Rising prices of midsize pickups and compact SUVs have convinced some automakers to study a revival of the truly small pickup, models that are three-fourths the size of a Chevy Colorado, or maybe even as small as the rather comical car-based 1980s Subaru Brat.

Today’s midsize pickups are as big as a full-size pickup 35 years ago. That could open the door for a return to some really small pickups with low prices to attract first-time buyers.

Contact Mark Phelan: mmphelan@freepress.com or 313-222-6731. Follow him on Twitter @mark_phelan.

Are the American auto manufacturers giving up on cars?


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A few years ago, familiar American nameplates started to disappear, Plymouth, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Pontiac victims of overcapacity.    These models share most components with other corporate models.   Plymouth shared engines, suspensions with Chrysler and Dodge. Mercury with Ford and Lincoln.   Chevrolet, Buick shared parts with Oldsmobile and Pontiac.

American manufactures have long struggled building fuel efficient cars. This was evident in the 70’s when fuel charges increased and in low supply.   Toyota, Nissan and other Japanese automakers flourished and established a sizable foothold on the American market.  While then the big four ,General Motors, Chrysler, Ford and American Motors struggled.

Where American dominate, is trucks. The Ford F-150, has been the best selling vehicle in the United States for more the 30 years.  At GM and Chrysler its the same, trucks.  While they sold more cars,  profit was in the truck business.

Today, trucks and SUV’s are the best selling vehicles. In 2016, Chrysler announced they were discontinuing the Dodge Dart and the Chrysler 200 to focus on Suv’s and trucks.   Chrysler currently sells three car models, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger all three model share the same platform that dates back to 2005.   Chrysler sells 8 Suv models.

Last month the Ford Motor Company announced in the next few years they plan to discontinue every car except the Focus Hatchback which will be assembled in China and the Mustang.   They cite profitability.

General Motors, said they may discontinue the Chevy Sonic and the slow selling Impala.

Every Automaker is experiencing slower auto sales .  However, none of the Japanese and  Korean auto makers plan to discontinue car.   For 2018, GM released an all new Buick Regal sportback and wagon.  Toyota introduced an all new Camry and Avalon.  Honda, an all new Accord.   Nissan a new Altima.  Volkswagen and Subaru have introduced all new models.

Could History Repeat Itself ?

A lot of capitol is needed to build  fuel efficient vehicles.   The industry has spent hundreds of millions to develop and build new fuel efficient, engines and transmissions in addition to being fuel efficient the vehicles are laden with mandated safety equipment.

Ford was one of first american automaker to equip most of their car and truck fleet with turbo charged engines and aluminum it its truck and Suv’s.  While GM and Chrysler truck fleet have the old school V8 engines, Ford uses smaller displacement 4 and 6 cylinder turbo engines.  The investment has paid huge dividends for Ford.  Demand is up for the F-150 pickup.  The full size Ford  Expedition and one hundred thousand dollar Black Label Lincoln Navigators are flying off dealer lots.

American automakers have historically resisted building fuel efficient cars.  The fuel crises in the seventies took a toll an American automakers as car buyers bought smaller more fuel efficient cars.    Toyota, Datsun (Nissan) flourished and gained a major foothold in the North American Market. Chrysler went bankrupt.  (A loan from the Government saved Chrysler)

American automakers hasn’t successfully found the secret sauce in building a small car.  But they were coming close.  Instead of starting with a fresh piece a paper, they imported existing models from their foreign subsidiaries.   The Ford Focus and the Chevy Cruze are built on a global platform.  What they aren’t, is profitable.

Low gas prices has driven the market. The hot segment is the compact SUV and the large SUV’s,  Toyota’s Rav’s 4 and Nissan’s Rogue are on fire.  With gasoline prices on the rise, will history repeat itself?     Ford unlike Toyota ,has not expanded their hybrid technology.  Toyota has three hybrid passenger cars, and two Suv’s .   Ford currently has two hybrid passengers cars .  Ford says future  F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape and returning Bronco with have hybrid options.  However there is no specific date to when these vehicles will come to market.   Gasoline prices nations wide as of this date is $2.92 a gallon (a three year high) by late summer, based on current projections we may see $3.60.  (California $4.20) .  History:  Should fuel prices remain high, it will have an impact on sales.

Who will Survive? 

Of the domestic automakers. Chrysler is by far, the most vulnerable to high fuel prices, the only fuel efficient car option is the slow selling Fiat 500.    Ford can weather the storm for 2018 and they have the option of extending the execution date of its Fusions and Fiesta’s currently piled high on dealers lots.   General Motors has the best mix of cars and trucks.   It currently offers a diesel option on a few of its Suv’s, it has the successful electric Chevy Bolt and can quickly adapt that technology to future models.

The Competition?

If fuel prices continue to increase, the Japanese and Korean automakers are in the best position. Toyota and Nissan has the largest selections.  Nissan is the only foreign automakers to offer compact to full size trucks and full size cargo/passenger vans.

Volkswagen wants to be a serious player in the North American Market, its has a well rounded fleet with vehicles achieving 40mpg.    In the last few years VW has  introduced an astounding, 6 new models with a new luxury midsize due this fall. For 2018, the company now has a new 6 year 72,000 mile, bumper to bumper warranty in the US.  Unlike Hyundai/Kia the warranty is completely transferable.

The Hyundai Group, which saw a dramatic drop in sales of its mid size Sonata and Optima mid size sedans.  Is committed to sedan . Despite slow sales, Hyundai  has introduced 3 new hybrids and four subcompact and compact cars.  Hyundai is planning to bring an all electric Suv, the Hyundai Kona to market this fall with a range of 250 miles.

Ford was the only American automaker that survived the last economic downturn.  Will their plans for the North American market hurt them in the long run?   FCA has had several lives in North America, will their reliance on an Suv’s and trucks finally seal their fate?   Will General Motors follow suit?

News at 11

Cityfella

 

 

 

 

Genesis: The Beginning


 

Image result for genesis g90

Twenty Seven years ago a Japanese Company Toyota, entered the Luxury Car market to compete with the likes of BMW, Mercedes Benz and Cadillac .   Their first model the Lexus LS400 was an instant hit and immediately established Lexus as a player.  Within months Nissan and Honda entered the market.   Today, Lexus and Acura are solid premium players. Image result for 1989 lexus ls400

1989 Lexus LS400

 Hyundai entered the US market in 1985 offering ultra low priced cars the Excel. Americans quickly snapped them up. The quality of these cars was sup par, but that was so 1985.

Today, the worlds fifth largest automaker quality ranks in the top 10.

In 2009, Hyundai introduced the Genesis, it was Hyundai’s Flagship vehicle. It was the 2009 North American Car of the Year as well as the 2009 Canadian Car of the Year.  Like the Lexus, many automotive journalist called the Genesis a solid effort and few thought it competed with the Mercedes and BMW, few.

For some time there has been talk about Hyundai starting a Luxury Division. Last November Hyundai officially introduced Genesis Motors to the world. The Hyundai Genesis was renamed the G80 and is currently sold at Hyundai dealerships. The flagship g90 is sold at select Hyundai dealerships.  As of this writing the nearest g90 is in Antioch California.

Plans for Genesis is very ambitious. Hyundai plans to have six Genesis models by 2020.  A smaller (think BMW 3 series) sedan ,a sports coupe, and two SUVs . In the next few years there will be Genesis Stores nationwide.   Currently the Genesis is being marketed in Korea, China, the Middle East and the United States.

G90 was one of the few Hits at the Sacramento Auto Show

Image result for genesis g90

Everything !

G90 buyers have a choice of a turbo charged six cylinder or an eight cylinder with either real wheel drive or all wheel drive.   Everything else is standard.

SILENCE IS GOLDEN

The rear seats recline heat,cool and massage you.

For the first three years of ownership, all maintenance is included.  Genesis will simply pick up your car and leave you with a loaner.  Roadside Assistance is included as well as monthly health reports of your vehicle.   Owners can make appointments via a smartphone and the warranty is 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Playing for Keeps

Manfred Fitzgerald, former director of brand and design at Lamborghini, is senior vice president.  Luc Donckerwolke, former design director of Volkswagen Groups (Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi divisions)  led the design brand since early 2016, and works alongside Hyundai-Kia’s chief designer Peter Schreyer (who is also from Audi) . Albert Biermann, former head of BMW’s M performance division, oversees tuning and performance.  (source Wiki)

I have driven the G80 and look forward to an extensive test the G90 with its massive interior room.

 (Call me Hyundai call me!)

The G90 starts at 69K and tops off at 73K.  It competes with Lexus LS 460, BMW 7 series and Mercedes S class at thousands less and a much stronger warranty.

Looks and Value. Hyundai looks like they’re planning to shake up the Luxury Segment. Smart shoppers for a luxuty car should look beyond the pedigree and take the Genesis for a test drive.

 

CityFella

 

 

 

BIG MAN RIDES: 2014 Kia Optima SX


When the 2011 Kia Optima debuted at the New York Auto show in 2010, the world gasped KIA?

No one remembers Kia, their cars were more than boring, they were meh, nothing.   There appeal  price, they where cheap.

Then someone at Kia hired Peter Schreyer from Audi.    He is currently the Chief Design officer for Kia and Hyundai and his designs have help elevate Hyundai (Kia’s parent company) to a major player.

This is my second review of the Optima and first for Big Man Rides.    Two years ago, I loved the styling, placement of the controls, fit and finish, the handling was a little better than the competition.  However what the car lacked was refinement, the turbo engine was rough, the Optima had more noise than I liked.

While the styling has peaked for its sister car, the Hyundai Sonata. Two years later the Optima still has a fresh look about it.  The car looks much more expensive than it is.   You can see elements of the current Jaguar XF and of course the Audi in the Optima which isn’t bad company when you consider those cars cost 20 to 30K more.

2014 Kia Optima SX

The Optima has been refreshed for 2014.  Visually Kia has replaced the front fascia. The fog lights on SX trim are in a pod like setting(they look like mini stadium lights  In the rear, stylist have reshaped the trunk and the rear diffuser.  They haven’t wrecked the car, but they should stop here.  Perhaps they should take a page from Chrysler’s 300 and leave a good thing alone.

Inside

Kia mas made minor changes in the interior.    There now an 4.3 inch TFL(Thin FilmTransistor)located between the tachometer and speedometer. The (optional) infotainment screen size has increased to 8 inches.  The  UVO navigation and telematics system, including a UVO eServices suite (driven off the driver’s paired smartphone) plus very good sounding Infinity sound system with 8 speakers. The system includes HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, and SiriusXM Traffic.

Kia seats are a bit softer this year.  I remember the 2012 being a bit firm . As for room, getting my widescreen 6.4 frame required a bit of a twist, but once inside the world was fine.  Controls are directed towards the driver.   The big panoramic sunroof is still a hit.

Rear seat room is pretty good, but the seats could use more thigh support. and if your bud is over six feet you might wanna keep him up front as the stylish roof line compromises rear headroom

The 15.4 trunk is average for the segment and is well finished.

Performance

The standard  2. 4 liter direct injection 4 , is rated at 192 horsepower with 181 pound feet of torque.   The engine is smooth strong and according to the EPA get 24 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway  The ride was composed and seemed quieter than the 2012. . The suspension and steering seems improved as well, however while its much better than Toyota Camry, its not the Fusion, Mazda 6 or Honda Accord.   At low speeds the steering was soft and a bit vague however at higher speeds the steering  seem to improve.

Conclusion

The Kia Optima sits mid pack in the very crowded midsize category.   If your a big and tall man, you will find more comfort here than a Camry, Fusion and Mazda 6.  Note” If your a short person,  you may have difficulty seeing over the dash.   In a rapidly changing auto landscape, the interior is showing is age,its materials aren’t to the levels of some of the newer cars.  If your looking for a good car you can’t go wrong with the Optima.  If there is one area the Optima owns , its styling the Kia can hold its own against cars costing thousands more.

Younger consumers forcing changes in car design


2009 Dodge Ram, Ralph Gilles, Joe Veltri

Ralph Gilles says many of the millennial generation haven’t yet found a need for cars, but they will. / Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

More than ever, designing cars people want is a tricky business.

Rapidly developing technology, changing demographics, emerging global markets and stricter fuel efficiency standards have forced automakers to rethink how they design cars and conduct consumer research, top automotive executives said today at the SAE 2013 World Congress in Detroit.

“You can’t use traditional research methods to ask a customer ‘do you like this or do you like that,’” said Mike O’Brien, Hyundai vice president of corporate planning and product strategy.

Instead, O’Brien said automakers must ask consumers about the forces changing their lives.

For instance, O’Brien said Hyundai had to do research a few years ago to decide if it really was going to drop traditional V6 engines for its midsize sedans in favor of only four-cylinder engines. The question was hard to research since it had never been tried before.

“It was a big risk, but the sales speak for themselves,” O’Brien said.

Ralph Gilles, senior vice president of design for Chrysler, also said the changing demographics are changing how automakers design cars.

Millennials, generally those born between 1980 and 2000, have been hard for automakers to reach, partially because they have vastly different expectations for cars and transportation than their parents.

But Gilles said he thinks millennials are often misunderstood.

“Everyone says they don’t like cars,” Gilles said. “Maybe. But I don’t buy that. They just don’t need cars right now.”

Another assumption that Gilles challenged is that Americans prefer large cars.

In 2012, sales of small and compact carsincreased 27% in the U.S. compared with 13% for the overall industry.

“I think small is the next big thing. I think small cars are finally here,” Gilles said.