Hyundai Going (Way) Up-Market
Washington DC September 20, 2010; The AIADA newsletter reports that Hyundai wants to move its brand upmarket, but first it needs to contend with a few challenges.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the automaker has advanced from one that once sold trouble-prone vehicles to a leader in quality surveys. Its market share has soared, hitting 4.7 percent in the first eight months of this year, up from just 1.4 percent in 2000. To keep gaining share Hyundai says it must draw from a wider and richer audience.
The Genesis, launched in 2008, was the company's first move to change how Americans see the brand. Genesis – which doesn't sport a Hyundai badge on the front – has been modestly successful, selling about 1,200 a month. Now, Hyundai plans an even costlier sequel.
John Krafcik, chief executive of the U.S. unit, said the accolades given the Genesis by car reviewers and some buyers grant Hyundai "permission" to make a $55,000-plus sedan called the Equus. "The Equus is like a beacon for the brand," Mr. Krafcik said.
The new model, set to go on sale in November, comes with all the bells and whistles of a $91,600 Mercedes. But the Equus's price is meant to attract the pragmatic wealthy.