K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News
Wednesday 2 March 2005
Last Update 2 March 2005 12:00 am
JEDDAH, 2 March 2005 — Korean car manufacturers and their local agents and distributors could consider a plan to establish an automobile training institute for young Saudis.
“I’ll consider taking the initiative in cooperation with other Korean dealers and distributors, as this will additionally serve the ongoing Saudization process,” Mohammed Yousef Naghi, president of the Mohammed Yousuf Naghi Motors (MYNM), told Arab News on the sidelines of the launch of Hyundai’s latest innovation in the medium car segment.
He was answering a question about the likely plan of Korean dealers to initiate a training institute like the one the Japanese agents and dealers have already established here and another proposed by General Motors.
“This could be our long-term plan,” said J.E. Kim, Hyundai Motor Company’s (HMC) Dubai-based senior vice president for Middle East & Africa. MYNM and HMC jointly launched the all-new Sonata 2005 at a ceremony at Jeddah Hilton, amid a spectacular lighting and laser show, and a cultural program by a Saudi troupe.
Hyundai’s senior executives from Korea and Dubai, and dealers were present in large numbers at the event, which was preceded by similar ceremonies last week by Wallan Automotive in the Central Province and Almajdouie Motors in the Eastern Province and the northern region, jointly with HMC.
“Since its introduction in the Korean market in 1985, Sonata has always reigned as one of Hyundai’s most important models. Traditionally, it has been the model that has introduced new technology to the range. The latest Sonata, which is making its debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, carries on this tradition by offering up-rated quality throughout and the innovative ‘active geometry control suspension’ system,” Kim said.
As the standard bearer for Hyundai saloons in Europe and North America, Sonata’s high engineering standards and build quality have drawn plaudits.
Most recently, it was named as best in its segment in the 2004 Initial Quality Survey conducted by JD Power & Associates.
It has been designed and engineered to extend a 19-year strong tradition of steadily elevating the levels of quality and user satisfaction.
“A target of 230,000 units sales worldwide reflects this for 2005,” he added.
The new generation Sonata, which introduces two all-new engines, comes with a comprehensively engineered program of active and passive safety and includes standard front, side and dual curtain airbags.
It is 55 mm longer than the previous models, with its wheelbase extended by 30 mm.
This slight increase of size has been a major factor in creating a generously roomy interior. The luggage capacity has also been increased.
Its other features include optional 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhausts on the V-6, tilt and telescopic steering column, power/tilt sliding sunroof, triple spray windscreen washers, in-dash mounted MP3-capable 6 CD changers, steering wheel audio control, automatic climate control system, windscreen de-icing and a manual rear sunblind.