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The New Guy; An Interview with Hyosung Motors

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Written By: 
John Arens

2010.hyosung.te450s.red_.left_.riding.on-sand.jpgEvery year at the Indianapolis Dealer Expo, there are dozens of new companies that preview their products. Sometimes the products are innovative and well made, and the company prospers. Other times we look at each other silently but in disbelief, kind of like when your buddy claims he’s going to stop smoking. On one occasion we even made the company rep cry as we explained why his product was not legal for the U.S. market. Thankfully for the off-road loving public, we’ve never seen either of them since.

One company we continue to see more and more is HYOSUNG MOTORS. After partnering with some of the big name OEMs for many years, Hyosung has been quietly building their product line, and most recently they’ve introduced a 250cc sport bike that has been giving the Green guys a moment of pause. Their lineup also includes a very interesting ATV, the TE 450S, and we wanted to know more about it, and the factory. A call to their American headquarters led us to Brian Rose, Western Regional Sales Manager, and here is what we learned.

ATV Illustrated: Thank you so much for speaking with us Brian! Can you tell us the history of HYOSUNG and the companies focus today? What is their primary market or product?2010.hyosung.te450s.red_.front_.riding.on-sand.jpg

Hyosung Motors America is a division of S&T Motors, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Korea. Started in 1978, we manufacture motorcycles, scooters and ATVs ranging from 50cc to 650cc. They are sold in Asia, Australia, North and South America and Europe. Hyosung Motorcycles are already quite popular in other markets, and the company is gaining recognition as the newest major player in the extremely competitive US market by offering a high quality product with a strong warranty at a great price.

ATV Illustrated: Where are the plants located?

Hyosungs are built in Changwon, South Korea. It is important to note that Korea is emerging as a leader in high tech manufacturing. Just like LG, Samsung and Hyundai, Hyosung vehicles are proving to the world that the highest quality products are not necessarily made in Japan.

ATV Illustrated: Does HYOSUNG manufacture vehicles or parts for other ATV or motorcycle manufacturers?

In 1979, we began a technical alliance with Suzuki, sharing some development and manufacturing. Our parent company manufacturers everything from industrial equipment to auto parts, defense tools, machine tools, wind power components and electronics. There is a good possibility that you have used one of our products without even realizing it.2010.hyosung.te450s.close-up.engine.jpg

ATV Illustrated: Where was the ATV development done, and did the factory consult with experts in the target market to build an ATV that met market needs?

The development was done in Korea, but with a lot of input from all of the markets we sell into. It’s amazing now to see how much feedback is solicited from all of the distributors. I think it’s clear when you look at the ATV that a great deal of thought went into who will use it and how they will do so. It becomes more clear when you ride it – BIG power, but very stable in the trails or on the track.

ATV Illustrated: The styling of the TE 450S ATV looks great, and the components look very similar to other top of the line sport ATVs. Can you tell us more about the TE 450S?

At first glance, you will find a lot of what’s standard on other high-end sport ATVs: Disc brakes all around, fully adjustable independent double A-arm suspension, fully adjustable rear suspension with an aluminum swingarm, even reverse. It is a 449cc single cylinder 4-valve DOHC. The amazing thing about this quad is that it retails for $4999 and produces 52hp! It makes similar power to that of an $8000+ 450cc ATV with a price tag over $1000 less than most 400cc machines.2010.hyosung.te450s.red_.front-right.studio.jpg

ATV Illustrated: Did HYOSUNG manufacture the engine themselves, or was it sourced from another company? If so, who was the source? Was the chassis built in house as well?

A lot of people don’t realize how big we are and the resources we have. We designed and built our own engine and chassis. We have our own in-house design team with every imaginable resource available to them, and on the manufacturing side, we have a total production capacity of over 220,000 units per year.

ATV Illustrated: We know that HYOSUNG uses electronic fuel injection on some of their other powersports products. Are there plans to include fuel injection on the ATV as well?

Our 2010 TE450S will not be fuel injected, though it is not something to rule out for the future. We are aware of the value of fuel injection, in fact we are the first major manufacturer to offer fuel injection on a 250cc sport bike, our 2010 GT250R.

ATV Illustrated: We like the sturdy looking nerf bars and stylish front bumper. It’s unusual for a sport ATV to come equipped with a rear cargo rack though! What was the reason for the rear rack?2010.hyosung.gt250r.white_.front-right.studio.jpg

You will find Hyosung motorcycles, scooters, and ATVs in every corner of the world. Everybody has different needs. There are even TE450Ss out there with turn signals! That said, don’t worry. If you buy a TE450S in the US it will NOT have a cargo rack.

ATV Illustrated: Are there plans to expand the Hyosung ATV lineup and is the factory looking at other related market segments such as UTVs?

We are aware of the UTV market and their popularity in the US. We will not offer a side-by-side for 2010, but continue to consider options including a UTV entry and utility-type ATVs.

ATV Illustrated: Thank you so much for taking time to answer our questions! We can’t wait for a test ride on the TE 450S and any other HYOSUNG vehicles.

Thanks! We think you’re going to love it!

ATV Illustrated: We can’t wait for a ride! 

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