By Tunde Osho
Hyundai Motor has unveiled a re-designed Santa Fe, hoping the first makeover of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) in six years will help rectify a sales slowdown at the South Korean automaker, especially in the key U.S. market.
The revamped version of its top-selling SUV in the United States and South Korea features a longer, more voluminous body than its predecessor while boasting advanced safety features such as warnings on approaching objects from the rear when a car stops.
The two-row, five-seater SUV was unveiled to South Korean media at a “preview” event, before its official launch in February in the home market.
While Hyundai did not disclose other details, a source said the model comes with a 2.0-liter and a 2.2-liter diesel engine, a more fuel-efficient eight-speed transmission and semi-autonomous driving features used in its Genesis premium sedans.
“The new Santa Fe will be a bread and butter model for us this year,” the Hyundai insider told Reuters on condition of anonymity since he is not authorized to speak to the media.
“We have high hopes for the model,” he said. Hyundai Motor declined to comment.
Hyundai Motor reported last week its worst annual earnings in seven years, battered by its delayed response to the burgeoning SUV market and a diplomatic row with China.
A firmer local currency also adds to the woes of the automaker, as it is eating into its profits repatriated from overseas and hurts the price competitiveness of its exports in the United States and other markets.
“The mission of the Santa Fe is to recover Hyundai’s U.S. market share. It carries a big burden on its shoulder,” said Ko Tae-bong, a senior auto analyst at Hi Investment & Securities. The U.S. sales of the aging Santa Fe slumped 25 percent last year even as U.S. industry SUV and truck sales rose 4 percent.
The model, expected in the U.S. market in the third quarter of this year, will be also “key to recovering the utilization rate of Hyundai’s factory in Alabama”, Ko said.
Hyundai’s U.S. sales fell 12 percent last year, making it the worst performer among automakers in that market, hit by the conservative design of the Sonata and the Elantra sedans and an absence of a broadbased SUV line-up.
According to Reuters, Hyundai, which has three SUV models – Kona, Tucson and Santa Fe –, has said it would diversify its SUV line-up by launching a mini-SUV and a large SUV.
Nigerian photographer, Emezi, wins Getty Images award
Nigerian documentary photographer Yagazie Emezi has been awarded the Inaugural Creative Bursary Award by Getty Images.
The 26 year-old is among the six recipients selected by an industry leading panel of the international photo curating platform to get amounts between two thousand dollars and five thousand dollars.
Other recipients include Neema Githere from Kenya; Oriana Koren, Jeremy Dennis, Donavon Smallwood and Tara Sellios from the United States of America.
Emezi, who hails from Abia State, came in joint second place with Neema Githere for a prize sum of three thousand dollars.
The news was shared on the official website of Getty Images and confirmed by Emezi on her Instagram page @yagazieemezi on Tuesday, where she wrote:
“Excited to announce that I am among the 6 recipients selected for the @gettyimages Creative Bursary (@gettyimagescreative) for emerging photographers!
“Thanks to the funds, I’ll finally have some small piece of mind to set time aside to put form to the things in my head lol.
“Congratulations to the rest of the recipients (it was great to see a familiar name on the list representing Kenya @findingneema)!
“Ready for the challenge and looking forward to seeing how we make use of this opportunity to tell more of our necessary stories,” Emezi wrote.
She began her journey as a self-taught photographer in early 2015 and has since been commissioned by Al-Jazeera, New York Times, Vogue, Refinery29, Everyday Projects, and UNFPA.
The Vlogger and graduate of Cultural Anthropology and African Studies from the University of New Mexico came into limelight for her continuous project ‘Another Tale by Moonlight.’
She returned to Lagos from the United States in 2014, to ‘document life in Nigeria as it truly is.’
Emezi has worked on several projects including ‘Felaberation’ and the Lagos Fashion Week.
In 2017, she was a participant of the World Press Photo Masterclass West Africa and is a contributor to Everyday Africa.
Getty Images Inaugural Creative Bursary Awards was established in October, 2017, to support emerging photographers, who must be under 30 or have been pursuing professional photography for less than three years.
The annual $40,000 Bursary will enable them to realise commercial photographic projects which, without funding, they might not have otherwise been able to pursue.
For the selection, participants were asked to submit a project proposal and visual brief in support of their creative idea. Awardees were selected from the pool of entries.