Hyundai Adds Revamped Accent to Tap Fuel-Efficiency Demand

Hyundai Motor Co. (005380) unveiled a revamped version of the Accent subcompact, its fourth model for the U.S. that gets 40 miles per gallon in highway driving, as the automaker seeks to meet demand for better fuel-efficiency.

The 2012 Accent hatchback that goes on sale next month will be the most fuel-efficient in the subcompact category and deliver 30 mpg in city driving, Mike O’Brien, Hyundai’s U.S. vice president for product planning, said today at the New York International Auto Show. The car is priced from $12,445 to $16,795, depending on options, he said.

Hyundai has said it aims to overtake Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) as a brand consumers associate with fuel- efficiency. The Accent joins the Sonata Hybrid, the Elantra small car and the new Veloster coupe among Hyundai vehicles getting at least 40 mpg in highway driving.

The Seoul-based company said it expects to sell 200,000 cars in the U.S. that get 40 mpg in highway driving this year, and 285,000 in 2012.

The average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. was $3.84 a gallon on April 19, a 34 percent gain from a year earlier, according to AAA. Hyundai’s U.S. sales through March rose 28 percent to 142,620, a record for the period.

Hyundai is beginning a program to guarantee the trade-in price of its models for customers who replace them with other vehicles from the brand. The program begins May 1 and gives Hyundai owners a guaranteed value for vehicles traded in from 24 through 48 months of ownership, John Krafcik, Hyundai’s U.S. chief executive officer, said in New York today.

“Depreciation is the single highest cost of car ownership,” Krafcik said.

Hyundai’s U.S. sales unit is in Fountain Valley, California.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kae Inoue at kinoue@bloomberg.net

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