April 3, 2007
New Luxury Brand Name from Hyundai?
It seems that Hyundai is serious about building a new premium brand to sell alongside its own marquee, reports Noah Joseph at Autoblog. The recent introduction of the Genesis concept car seems to be a sign of things to come.
This, of course, is similar to Toyota creating the premium Lexus brand name expanding its brand architecture, just as Nissan accomplished with Infiniti and Honda with Acura.
I think what we're really seeing here is the beginning of a shift in consumers' perceived quality of the Hyundai brand. For some time, the Hyundai name has lived on the fringe and was associated with economy. Taking cues from the formula Toyota and Honda made successful, I think this is the right direction for Hyundai. The difference? They're doing it much faster.
Hyundai is well aware that there are incredible challenges in its way. First of all, it seems as if Hyundai has to give its dealers lessons in how to sell luxury cars as opposed to “value” cars. And an article in the Washington Post points out that Hyundai has a long way to go in the U.S., where its cars are still considered “cheap."
It also does not help that Chung Mong Koo, the company’s chairman, was caught embezzling the equivalent of $73.8 million from the company.
Nevertheless, Hyundai has pitted its Veracruz vs. the Lexus RX350 and their overall product line keeps getting kudus for its quality, not least from JD power and Associates, who ranked the brand third in the U.S. for overall quality. On the other hand, the same company put Hyundai among the 7 car brand names (Jaguar, Jeep, Hyundai, Kia, Land Rover, Saab and Suzuki) with the worst reputations in the business among consumers last year.
Hyundai is the official vehicle of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa and I can say with confidence that the advertisers there have been told to expect a new high-end premium brand name from Hyundai. This will be a huge platform on which to launch a super-premium brand for Hyundai.
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