Smaller crossover utilities are the fastest growing segment of the American auto market in the last few years and Hyundai America CEO Dave Zuckowski hopes that the all-new 2016 Tucson will take advantage of that and rekindle the brand’s growth. The first batch of some 9,000 Tucsons has arrived in port from South Korea and are currently going through final quality checks before being shipped out to dealers across America for sale starting August 15. While those are being inspected, I got the chance to spend a couple of hours in a pre-production model on rural roads west of Ann Arbor.
The redesigned 2016 Hyundai Tucson will be hitting dealerships in the next two to three weeks but it won’t remain the smallest crossover in the Hyundai lineup forever. During a regional media preview for the Tucson, Hyundai America President and CEO Dave Zuchowski acknowledged that sales of B-Segment crossovers are growing fast and Hyundai wants to be in the segment. However, the new Creta that just launched in India is not suitable for the American market in its current form. Zuchowski didn’t say if the new U.S.-market CUV would be based on an updated version of the Creta or would be something different. He did say that the small crossover would probably arrive here in two to three years.
In the wake of last week’s Wired.com report where security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek remotely took control of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee via its telematics system, the auto industry is now on cyber-security high alert. During a regional press preview for the new 2016 Tucson, Hyundai America President and CEO Dave Zuchowski was asked about it. As expected Zuchowski said that the safety and security of customers is always a top priority for the company but then went on to give a surprising response to my follow-up question.
When I asked Zuchowski if Hyundai would follow the lead of technology companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google and establish a bounty program for responsible disclosure of security vulnerabilities, he acknowledged that it was under consideration. In addition, he said that while Hyundai doesn’t have a formal program at this time, the company has previously paid researchers on an ad hoc basis for disclosing vulnerabilities. Zuchowski didn’t offer any additional details, but the acknowledgement that the company has gone down this path is a good thing.
I first proposed the idea of a bounty program to OEM contacts back in 2011 and have done it repeatedly since then to no avail and also wrote about it here nearly a year ago.