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SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 21, 2017 -- Hyundai Motor Company took a major step towards equipping future connected vehicles with the voice recognition technology necessary to keep pace with growing, real-time data needs of drivers. Hyundai's "Intelligent Personal Agent," a voice-enabled virtual assistant system, will be deployed in new models set to roll out as early as 2019.

Co-developed by Hyundai and Silicon Valley-based SoundHound Inc., the leading innovator in voice-enabled AI and conversational intelligence technologies, Intelligent Personal Agent allows drivers to use voice commands for many different operations and real-time data, which connected cars of the future demand.

The Intelligent Personal Agent is unique in that it acts as a proactive assistant system, predicting the driver's needs and providing useful information. For instance, the system may give an early reminder of an upcoming meeting and suggest departure times that account for current traffic conditions.

These personal features combine with an array of driver conveniences, such as the ability to make phone calls, send text messages, search destinations, search music, check weather and manage schedules. It also allows drivers to voice-control frequently used in-vehicle functions such as air-conditioning, sunroofs and door locks, while gathering various information about the vehicle. What's more, the Intelligent Personal Agent supports a "Car-to-Home" service, enabling the driver to control electronic devices at home with simple voice commands.

Eighth consecutive year of growth as Porsche dealers sell 3,913 vehicles in December 2017

ATLANTA, Jan. 3, 2018 -- Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), importer and distributor of the Porsche 911, 718 Boxster and Cayman, Panamera, Cayenne, and Macan model lines, today announced 3,913 retail sales in December. This brings 2017 to a close with 55,420 vehicles sold, a 2.1 percent increase over the previous year.

"Demand for four-door and two-door Porsche sports cars allowed PCNA to achieve another annual record in 2017, making it the eighth consecutive year of increased sales," said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA. "The Macan and Panamera model lines posted double-digit growth, and we can expect an additional boost with the arrival of our all-new Cayenne in the second half of the year." Porsche 911 sales also grew, with just under 9,000 retail deliveries of the iconic sports car.

Porsche Approved Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle sales in the U.S. were at 2,153 units, a 24.6 percent increase over December 2016. For 2017, CPO sales were up 12.5 percent with 19,104 deliveries.

CHICAGO, Jan. 3, 2018 -- Cars.com has announced nominees for its 2018 Best of Awards, the site's annual awards given to the best cars of the year during the North American International Auto Show. This year's categories include Best of 2018, Best Pickup Truck of 2018, Eco-Friendly Car of the Year, Family Car of the Year, Luxury Car of the Year and Most Fun-to-Drive Car of the Year. Each car represented on the list must be a 2018 model and excel in three key criteria: quality, innovation and value. Pickup trucks are judged on power, capability and value. To qualify for the top award – Best of 2018 – models must be all-new or fully redesigned.

"Our team of car experts tests hundreds of new vehicles each year with one main goal: to help shoppers make the right decision about what to buy to fit their specific needs," said Jennifer Newman, Cars.com's editor-in-chief. "At the end of each year, we determine which cars stood out ahead of the pack to narrow down our list to the very best. With six award categories, we aim to help car shoppers across a wide array of segments, budgets and lifestyles."

In addition to naming the best overall car and truck of the year, awards are also given for family cars, fuel-conscious drivers, luxury shoppers and, an all-new award in 2018, the most fun-to-drive.

Nominees are:

Automakers continue to eliminate spares to meet fuel economy standards

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 18, 2017) – In an effort to reduce weight and improve fuel economy, automakers continue to eliminate spare tires from new vehicles. According to new research from AAA, nearly one‐third (28 percent) of 2017 model year vehicles do not come with a spare tire as standard equipment, creating an unnecessary hassle and expense for drivers. Last year alone, AAA came to the rescue to more than 450,000 members faced with a flat tire whose cars did not have a spare tire. To avoid a roadside surprise, AAA urges drivers to check their trunk for a spare tire before trouble strikes. 

“Having a flat tire can be a nuisance for drivers, but not having a spare could put them in an even more aggravating situation,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This can turn the relatively routine process of changing a tire at the roadside into an inconvenient and costly situation that requires a tow to a repair facility.”

ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2017) – According to new research from AAA, premium gasoline offers some benefit to select vehicles, but is becoming increasingly expensive for drivers. In recent years, the price gap between premium and regular-grade gasoline has risen from a historically steady 10 percent to 25 percent or more per gallon. While past AAA research has shown no benefit in using premium gasoline in a vehicle designed to operate on regular fuel, new testing indicates that some vehicles – those that recommend, but do not require premium gasoline – may see increased fuel economy and performance under certain driving conditions when using the higher-octane gasoline. Unfortunately, the high cost of premium gasoline may outweigh that advantage for many drivers. As a result, AAA recommends drivers weigh the potential benefits against the cost of using premium gasoline, if their vehicle does not require it.

“AAA’s testing reveals that drivers could see modest gains in fuel economy and performance when opting for premium gasoline in vehicles that recommend, but do not require, the higher-octane fuel,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “Those seeking the maximum capabilities of their performance-focused or utility vehicle may see some benefit from using premium gasoline, particularly over the long haul.”

At $2.49, the national gas price average is the most expensive seen at the start of a new year since 2014, when gas prices were more than $3/gallon. High travel volumes over the holidays drove gas prices up five cents on the week. At the start of 2018, motorists in the Northeast, South and the upper Midwest are seeing pump prices as much as 13 cents more expensive than last one week ago.

“Although prices at the pump shot up over the holidays, now that the holiday season in the rearview mirror, motorists can expect gas prices to trend cheaper this month as we are likely to see a significant drop in gasoline demand,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report measures gasoline demand at a strong 9.5 million b/d, which is typical of the holiday season. However, historical data shows that in early January demand typical drops and stays below the 9 million mark for the first few months of the year.

Uniquely built for the coming era of truly shared, smart mobility and autonomous driving.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 2, 2018 -- BYTON's all-new smart intuitive vehicle will make its global debut at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, U.S.A. on January 7, 2018. A next generation smart device, the car is uniquely built for the coming era of truly shared, smart mobility and autonomous driving.

BYTON's press conference will be held at 3:00 PM (PST) on January 7, and will be broadcasted globally on BYTON's official website: http://www.byton.com. Registered CES media can RSVP for the press event via this link: http://bit.ly/2CiSkVP. Test drive experiences will be available outside the Las Vegas Convention Center starting on January 8. BYTON's booth in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center will be open to the public on January 9.

Up Nearly 2 Percent In December 2017, According To Kelley Blue Book

IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 3, 2018 -- The analysts at Kelley Blue Book today reported the estimated average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles in the United States was $36,113 in December 2017. New-car prices have increased by $583 (up 1.6 percent) from December 2016, while climbing 66 (up 0.2 percent) from last month.  

"Average transaction prices closed the year on a strong note, rising nearly 2 percent in December 2017 to set a record high," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "Incentive spending was a concern in 2017, averaging 10.4 percent of MSRP, but encouragingly, this figure held relatively flat over the final quarter of the year. In 2018, interest rate hikes could be another concern, as they threaten to increase monthly payments for consumers; however, Kelley Blue Book anticipates they will help contribute to another down year of new-vehicle sales more than impact prices, which have steadily risen along with the economy since the recession."

Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, SUV of the Year, and Person of the Year recipients awarded

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 28, 2017 -- MOTOR TREND today announced the Motor Trend award winners of the "Golden Calipers" for Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, SUV of the Year, and Person of the Year. One of the most prestigious and sought-after honors by automotive manufacturers worldwide, the award winners were announced during a red carpet ceremony at a gala event featuring an audience of industry insiders and celebrity guests at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

"We are thrilled to announce the best of the best in the industry," says Edward Loh, editor-in-chief of MOTOR TREND. "This year's coveted Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, SUV of the Year, and Person of the Year are being presented to some of the most well-deserving and innovative recipients we have had since the founding of the award in 1949."

Finalists this year were evaluated against six key criteria: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of intended function. Judges for each program came from the MOTOR TREND staff and also included two special guest judges for Car of the Year (legendary car designer Tom Gale and product development guru Chris Theodore) and one special guest judge for SUV of the Year (auto engineering expert Gordon Dickie). The Person of the Year was chosen from MOTOR TREND's annual Power List of the automotive industry's 50 most influential people.

The details of the awards are:

Most senior drivers surveyed by the AAA Foundation are not taking advantage of simple, inexpensive features that can improve safety and extend their time behind the wheel

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 29, 2017) – Nearly 90 percent of older drivers do not make inexpensive adaptations to their vehicles that can improve safety and extend their time behind the wheel, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Common vehicle adaptations like pedal extensions, seat cushions and steering wheel covers can help to improve safety by reducing a senior driver’s crash risk. Seniors aged 65 and over are more than twice as likely as younger drivers to be killed when involved in a crash. AAA urges seniors to consider making the necessary adaptations to their vehicles in order to reduce crash risk and extend the time they can continue to drive.

“While many seniors are considered to be safe drivers, they are also the most vulnerable,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our research suggests that most senior drivers are not taking advantage of simple and inexpensive features like steering wheel covers that can greatly improve their safety and the safety of others on the road.”

The research brief, In-Vehicle Technologies, Vehicle Adaptations, and Older Drivers: Use, Learning, and Perceptions is the first phase in the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s groundbreaking Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project. Researchers are currently engaged in generating the largest and most comprehensive senior driver database in existence. This critical information will support in-depth research to better understand the risks and transportation needs of our aging population.

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