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LI Hyundai dealers adding to their vehicle lineup

Hyundai's 2011 Elantra

Hyundai's 2011 Elantra

Long Island’s seven Hyundai dealers, which gained in sales and market share last year, will have four new models in coming months, beginning with the redesigned-for 2011 Elantra compact sedan that began arriving at their stores in December.

In a visit to Newsday on Thursday, the carmaker’s California-based national manager for product public relations, Jim Trainor, said a redesigned Accent, the company’s price leader, will be shown for the first time in the United States at the New York auto show in April and go on sale shortly thereafter.

The new Accent will be offered as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback, but the three- door version will be  discontinued.

Prices haven’t been announced; current models begin at about $10,700 with freight.

Due in summer is the Veloster, a small coupe with two doors on the passenger side and one on the driver’s — aimed at young buyers.

Later in the year, dealers will have a redesigned Azera — Hyundai’s answer to the Toyota Avalon — and one more vehicle the company won’t talk about yet.

With the Veloster, dealers will have four cars to offer with EPA fuel economy ratings of more than 40 mpg.

One of Hyundai’s newest models, the Equus luxury sedan introduced last year, represents its first effort to compete with brands like Acura, Lexus, Cadillac and Lincoln. Trainor said Hyundai has no plans, however, for a new dealer network such as Toyota set up for Lexus.

Starting at almost $59,000 and available with a V-8 engine, the Equus is to be sold only by about 250 to 275 of the automaker's best-performing dealers in customer satisfaction. On Long Island they include Mid-Island Hyundai in Centereach, Atlantic Hyundai in West Islip and Advantage Hyundai in Hicksville.

Nationally, Hyundai picked up three-tenths of a point of market share last year over 2009, according to the trade paper Automotive News. Based on registration figures from R.L. Polk and Co. for September — the most recent numbers available — the carmaker did better on Long Island, gaining 1.8 points of share from a year earlier — although it was still way behind the Island’s “Big Three” brands — Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

Once the butt of jokes by late-night comics, Hyundai’s vehicles have improved dramatically in quality since the first ones arrived in 1986; its vehicles are rated above average by J.D. Power and Associates based on owner experiences in the first three months and the first three years on the road.

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