Las Vegas, NV - My girlfriend, Sheri, told me that her ex-husband, Art, had sent her a box of books and other sundry items. I laughed and said, "but Art is coming down in two weeks. Couldn't he have brought it down with him?" Art and Sheri are friends, so it's not a surprise that he sends her things, or drops by and says hi. It's just funny to Sheri and me that he's sends things even when he knows he's coming down. Why not save the money and drop it off? "It's the main reason we got divorced, he's frivolous with his money, and I am sensible".
Las Vegas is feeling the pain of this recession. As I drive to my hotel I notice that the casinos are empty. As I walk through the casino to the bowling alley to meet some friends I notice the lack of people at the restaurants and the slot machines. They are conspicuous by their absence. So is their money.
It makes sense that wherever there was a housing boom going on, that is where the economy is roughing it. In Las Vegas there was a boom in commercial buildings and in housing- a double whammy. The city has been decimated financially.
As my buddy Warren and I sat at a table watching families bowl we talked about how many of them would buy a Hyundai. We agreed that many of them would buy a Hyundai, assuming that they had to buy a car. Anecdotal evidence says that very few people are buying cars these days that don't absolutely need them. But why would so many of the people bowling buy a Hyundai?
Hyundai has an assurance program that gives the buyer confidence to buy a car, even in the face of a possible job loss. Most people are anxious about losing their job, and for good reason. "This is a once every century dislocation in the marketplace" said John Krafcik, President and CEO, Hyundai. Even people who are pretty sure they won't lose their job are scared.
Hyundai isn't comfortable when they are told their cars were cheap. They don't mind affordable with a good warranty, but cheap means poorly built. Nowadays, people are looking for inexpensive, but Hyundai would prefer the word sensible.
John Krafcik, President and CEO, Hyundai America, is glad to have a coupe in the Hyundai line-up, because coupe sales are up. Krafcik made the point that it wasn't because a whole slew of people all of a sudden decided they wanted to buy a coupe. There are more coupes on the market to choose from, coupes that incorporate the performance of a sports car and the ability to carry a family.
The next morning Warren and I took a drive through the desert in the 2010 Hyundai Genesis coupe. We drove the 3.8-liter out to Pahrump's race track. I was wearing my pink Piloti racing shoes, but I'm not big on the track. What I thought was really cool were the guys doing the drifting. Stephan Verdier is a drifter and took me around the cones.
I told Verdier I didn't get drifting, what was the big deal? Verdier told me to think of drifting like figure skating in a car. It is an art form that requires precision. Verdier turned the car on a dime, and could slide the car up to a person within the hair on their chinny-chin-chin.
What I did like about the Hyundai Genesis was the feel of the car on the desert roads of Nevada. That knock-me back in my seat feel, the agileness of a car that is inches shorter than the sedan that has the same engine. A sports car that takes regular gasoline and will give more horsepower (375hp instead of 368) if you use premium 91 octane.
The Genesis coupe is well positioned for the young buyer, including Ipod and Iphone connectivity. Not only can you use the technology, they will be charged while hooked up to the car. An Infinity audio system is optional.
Pricing has not been announced, but expect Hyundai to price it sensibly.
2.0T Track (6-speed manual transmission only)
2.0T R-Spec (mid-model year availability, 6-speed manual transmission only)
3.8 Grand Touring
Turning circle, diameter 37.4 ft
Horsepower 306 @ 6,300 rpm
Torque 266 @ 4,700 rpm
0-60 mph time Under 6 seconds
3.8-liter automatic 18 city/ 26 highway
3.8-liter manual 17 city/ 26 highway
BMW 335i,Infiniti G37, Chevy Camaro LS,Dodge Challenger
Horsepower 210 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 223 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
2.0-liter manual 21 city/ 30 highway
2.0-liter automatic 20 city/ 29 highway
Honda Civic SI, Scion tc,Mitsubshi Eclipse
Karussell White, Bathurst Black, Silverstone, Nordschleife Gray, Acqua Minerale Blue, Tsukuba Red, Mirabeau Blue, Lime Rock Green, Interlagos Yellow