Hyundai is gradually climbing the street cred ladder with its 2006 Azera, which went for a whopping (at least by Hyundai standards) $27,500 average transaction price in March; the highest of any Hyundai ever and higher than the XG350 the Azera replaces. While Hyundai still fights the perception that real car buyers don't buy its wares, the company is already selling twice as many Azeras as it did XG350s.

One thing the company says is working is its Hyundai Challenge, which encourages drivers to try out the Hyundai Sonata and compare it to other imports in its class, including the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Inside Line quotes a Hyundai spokesperson as saying the company won't pit the vehicle against its domestic rivals because "we want consumers to know we are competitive against the imports [rather than] brands losing market share." Ouch, that kind of rhetoric must sting in Detroit.

[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]

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