• Jan 2, 2010
2010 Hyundai Equus - Click above for high-res image gallery

Before the Hyundai Genesis arrived in showrooms, there was talk of the car launching under the aegis of its own brand, much like the debut of the Lexus LS400 back in 1990. That didn't happen, and premium Hyundai models like the Genesis and the forthcoming 2010 Equus share floor space with Accents and Tucsons.

Still, the thought of a roped-off premium car department has a certain pull. "Sectioning off the brand, that's the Holy Grail," said Hyundai Motors USA CEO John Krafcik to Ward's Auto. What Krafcik and his Korean masters may have up their collective sleeve is a way to get some of the desired differentiation without the massive costs a new brand launch would entail.

Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai's North American sales vice president, has drawn parallels to Toyota's co-locating efforts with its Scion sub-brand in a letter to dealers, laying out the plans for incorporating the Equus into showrooms. "This strategy will create physical and psychological separation in the Hyundai showroom," says Zuchowski, while dealers remain less convinced that this means anything more for them than increased costs. On the retail end, stores will be required to purchase several kits for showroom, service, and parts support of the Equus. While not as expensive as a full-blown new store would be, dealers still might have trouble mustering enthusiasm for hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate-ordered directives that franchisees may have to comply with.

Dealer unhappiness aside, Zuchowski lays out Hyundai's strategy clearly. "We intend to use the launch of the new Equus to develop and further establish Hyundai as a legitimate force in the premium-luxury segments;" intimating there might be more to it than just the Genesis models and the luxo-liner Equus – a "Genesised-up" Santa Fe might do battle against the Lexus RX, for instance. While it will cost dealers money, Zuchowski notes that ultimately, it's the cheapest way to go while "still providing an enhanced dealership environment...that will devliver a substantial incremental profit opportunity with very reasonable dealer investment." In other words, pay the man now, and cash in later, if all goes well.



[Source: Ward's Auto]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 67 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I appreciate that they're not resting on their current cars, ala GM. I'm glad to see SOME manufacturers are willing to push and innovate. I don't trust their build quality, still.

      I say that, because my wife's '04 Elantra was falling apart, inside and out, when we met in '06. Her steering wheel had already started molting. The metal divider between the rolling and non-rolling window was rusting late '08.

      So a powertrain warranty up to 10 years makes little sense to me. I see beyond the marketing bs. The car won't last as long as you'll warrant the engine, Hyundai.

      I hope they see fit to change that, too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry, I can't believe your claim.
        I owned Sonata for 5 years. no major problem.
        never falling apart, never started molting, like your claim.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "but I'm not going to act like the Neon was a great car overall."

        On the contrary, He/She going to depict as Hyundai was a Junk car overall.
        His claim "falling apart, started molting".
        • 5 Years Ago
        Seriously?

        Dude, she got a bad car. My Jetta, which is 13 years old, still isn't crumbling around the steering wheel. It is the el cheapo with the 2.slow engine.

        I expected more from Hyundai. I didn't, but should mention that both O2 sensors and the alternator needed replacing before 80k miles, too. She got a bad car.

        I'm no saying all of Hyundai's cars are garbage. I'm saying my wife got a bad one. I'm saying QA goes a long way. I don't feel this car was treated with the same white gloves that Hyundai would with a Sonata V6, Genesis coupe, etc..

        Don't disbelieve me JUST because you had a good Hyundai. I've known people to have completely unreliable Hondas, too. Not my fault they got the ugly duckling. Neither you or I consider Honda a junk car company, just because someone got a bad one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah Weaksauce,

        You're claim is weaksauce... I own a 2005 Elantra(bought in 2004) and it still runs very well. No rusting and no mechanical/electrical failures thus far! Can't be happier!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I've owned a hyundai, and drove it 118,000 miles with no troubles except replacing the turbo hose at 100k. The interior held up well too and this was a 1993 Turbo Scope--their first in-house engine (alpha).

        I think every car manufacture has a percentage of customers who get cars with poor craftmenship whether it's interior or mechanical issues. Look at Toyotas recent woes with the Tundra. Overall Hyundai has a high percentage of satisfied customers so the quality must be pretty good because they have loads of repeat buyers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are anecdotal horror stories about every make and model and such anecdotes are hardly reliable as to overall quality/long term reliability.

        The Elantra has been one of the most reliable models in its segment for a no. of years now (according to JD Power and CR).
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Sorry, I can't believe your claim.
        I owned Sonata for 5 years. no major problem."

        er, I have a six year old Neon with 125k, no major problems, but I'm not going to act like the Neon was a great car overall.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A separate brand ads a lot of cost and not a lot of return. It might make more sense for Kia to be the value brand and Hyundai be the premium brand. Where they products overlap, such as the Accents and Tucsons the Hyundai versions would have higher content and higher list prices. Think Buick and Chevy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am an ASE certified mechanic with 15 years of exp. and worked for a
      Hyundai dealer for almost 5 years. I left on good terms so there is
      no axe to grind. Over 50 employees and not one except the owner and
      his son own a Hyundai. Far to many problems big and small and far
      too many legitamate warranty claims denied. Our biggest customers
      were the salesmen with the demos. Sometimes I would put the earplugs
      in so I could not hear the customers screaming at the service manager.
      I would never recomend this car company to anyone. I now work for
      Toyota and own two, but the changes I have seen with their quality I
      would not recomend them either. I am replacing my Tundra with a Ford
      or Dodge truck and as soon as I can afford to replace my Camry with
      almost anything.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Much more RELIABLE than anecdotal hearsay are the long term reliability ratings compiled by JD Power, Consumer Reports and AutoBild (of Germany which probably does the most comprehensive analysis of long term reliability in the industry).

        For all 3, Hyundai is well above average.

        Afterall, there are plenty of anecdotes on the web about the poor reliability of Ford and Dodge (which are of no more value than what nomoretoy has stated).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Interesting to hear you say that. My father has owned his own garage and body shop for over 20 years. Before that he spent 20 years working his way up from turning a wrench to being service manager for GM and Chrysler dealerships. 20 years ago when a customer asked him what new car to buy, he told them Honda. 10 years ago, he said Toyota. Today he says Hyundai. I'd love to know some specifics of your reasoning. You claim not to have an axe to grind, but without specifics, its hard to believe otherwise.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        What examples do you have for us, specifically, mechanically, technically about Toyota, to make us stay away? We've got two 02's and two 09's.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good to hear this from a person who used to work for Hyundai dealership. Also, with the previous poster's comment about his wife's Elantra falling apart(never heard sort of thing with ANY brand before), maybe I should leave out the Genesis as a candidate for the next car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You have to give Hyundai credit. They are going after the baby boomers with upscale offerings. Though I'm a baby boomer and I'm not convinced that I would buy a 30K+ Hyundai/Kia, it does pique my interest.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So one half of the dealership will have a coke machine and the other half will have a cappuccino machine?
      • 5 Years Ago
      If they want a luxury brand,I hear Saab is for sale.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If they do anything like that, I'd wager "Genesis" would become their upscale brand.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Saab is a money-losing proposition.

        The Genesis sedan (not counting the coupe) outsold the entire Saab lineup.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is nothing but increased costs for the dealer. Hyunda plans to sell only about 1500 Equus a year or 2-3 per dealer. How does a dealer justify the added expense for such a minimal # of units. It's not like the Genesis is a high profit car for the dealers. Even though it is cheaper by $10-20k than the competition, the cheapskates that come in to buy it still haggle to the last dollar, so why bother?

      As a Hyundai salesman, I would take an Accent customer any day before a Genesis customer. The only thing the Genesis is good for is to convince the loyal Toyota owner that if Hyundai can build a car as nice as the Genesis, imagine how nice the Sonata is.

      I am much more excited about the 2010 Tucson and 2011 Sonata than I will ever be about the Equus.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're probably right. More power to them. At my dealership, we all run when we see a Genesis customer come. Let them all go to the Equus dealer and get their ass kissing there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No offense to Hyundai but there is a reason brands like Acura have yet to crack the ultra premium market with the RL in the USA. People with money don't want to spend 60k on an Accord. No matter how Hyundai splits it off people with money won't even consider it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pushing forward with more a luxury "sub-brand", Hyundai has a few issues. One is the dealership network. As others are saying, more than a rope and decor situtation within a dealership is necessary. There should be a separate brand and network, or some have suggested a We-Come-To-You approach with the dealership picking up your car and taking it in for service. That would be unique.

      They also need their own styling language and a calling card OTHER than value luxury. Saab is dead, so maybe some of their styling touches from the new 9-5 and 9-4X could be borrowed (just throwing out options). For a brand reputation they need to be known for reliability, drive quality, SOMETHING. Value luxury just is not enough.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It makes sense in terms of perceived differentiation. I would imagine the Equus, facelifted Genesis, Veracruz, maybe next Azera, and maybe next Santa Fe would be in this new luxury group, with the new Sonata close by.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Lexus LS debuted in January of 1989 and went on sale in September of the same year, not 1990.... just sayin.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The writer was implying the 1990 model year, not the actual year. So in essence both of you are correct. Just sayin'.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They need to do more than just section off a bit of their dealerships for premium vehicles. We've bought 4 Lexus over the past decade and pay the extra $$ for the great customer service and incredible dealership environment. We'll never shop at a Hyundai dealership and hand over $40-$50k+ no matter how excellent the Genesis was. Most likely the reason why the Veracruz bombed and why Toyota is losing sales as well. If you want the $$, you cannot expect the customer to wait 2-3 weeks for an available service opening AND to sit in a crappy lounge for hours with kids running around screaming. The Lexus experience beats all.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dave,

        Clearly by your buick badge, you have no taste in cars. You like that FAKE wood trim in your car? There's more to a Lexus than the L symbol. Don't talk out of your butt like that, as it only makes you look ignorant to someone like me who's got 2 Lexus, and knows just how good they actually are. Our family has had 5 and currently has 4, and we switched from MB, because that brand had become as hollow as your GM. It was nothing but a 3 pointed star in the 90s and early 2000s.

        Airchompers,

        That's sad that someone would get a car based on other peoples' opinion of them for driving it. It says even more than people would hate someone for driving a nice car. What a sick world we live in, and behavior like capitulating to that mentality, only serves to further the gross stupidity rampant in society.

        The Genesis is an impressive car for the price, but they need to stop comparing it to things that are clearly in a different category with adaptive suspensions and hand crafted wood trim etc. They also really should get rid of that "woodgrain trim" and replace it with leather or real wood if they want to be take seriously by luxury car buyers. No one who's buying a car for genuine quality and features wants an immitation of it. If they're trying for the Lexus buying demographic, they can't use Wal-Mart marketing tactics like offering an illusion of having something more expensive with compromises involved.

        Hyundai has the potential to take some market share from the Germans and the Japanese, but not by saying "we do it cheaper but almost as good". That's why the LS400 was such a big hit. It did everything BETTER than the competition, and did manage to be less expensive at the same time. They also did it their own way, with a very different approach than MB, Audi or BMW.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Some people just don't care to spend their $$ on being pampered.

        Some people don't mind spending the $$ at Saks for the ambiance, etc. - others would just rather go to Saks Off (the outlet for Saks), not deal w/ hovering salepersons and save themselves 30%.

        Keep in mind, Hyundai is likely to launch a premium brand in 5-6 yrs, w/ that will come better service/amenities as well as higher prices.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I guess it depends on the dealership. I can get an appointment in 24 hours with no problems
        and this dealership has a great waiting area with complimentary coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
        The best part is how helpfull and courteous the staff you deal with. I have purchased over 25 new cars during my lifetime and this dealership has been tops. Zimbrick West Hyundai in Madison, WI
        • 5 Years Ago
        Strange, here I have to wait for Lexus dealers to have an opening (the dealerships operate by appointment). Whereas my dad just takes in his Sonata to get serviced same day not that long of a wait.

        The plus is that Lexus does offer loaner services so you have no downtime (unless someones picking you up). Overall, the experiences I've had at Hyundai are not that bad.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I bet you have no problem paying an extra $10,000 for that Lexus "L" badge on your Camry--I mean, ES.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am sure its more than a simple $20 rope sectioning off the dealership. At larger dealerships where space is available, i envision a private lounge, private entrance to the service bay and hopefully dedicated staff. Even if this experiment fails, it is still millions cheaper than starting an entire new luxury brand that may fail too.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        Rusty

        Hyundai needs to really emphasize things like precision, craftsmanship and high quality materials, with manufacturing processes that set it apart, as selling points for any kind of luxury brand.

        They're basically trying to do a Lexus here, but Lexus is already a player. Infiniti has never caught on and neither has Acura, for many reasons. If they try to sell these cars using the same cheap tactics that Honda and Nissan did, they won't catch on as a luxury brand.

        A few years back when the new LS came out, and Hyundai released the Azera or whatever, they compared the feature on the Lexus that parks itself to the fact that the Azera costs half what the LS does. That's not going to sell luxury cars.

        What Lexus did 20 years ago wasn't easy. The LS400 had a very expensive 6 year development process between 1983 and the 1989 release, and they put tons of money into developing their technology to outpace the competition.Their marketing strategy has never really compared Lexus to other cars, but rather focused on some exceptional aspect of the car itself.

        Like this one http://www.youtube.com/user/lexusvehicles?blend=4&ob=4#p/u/11/B0foKpZ1Yt0

        rather than Hyundai's approach http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luvJfDnBMiY&feature=related

        They need to do better than comparing similar but inferior features like their leather, stereo(can you really compare the Hyundai system to Mark Levinson? Come on.) and fake wood.

        It's also funny how Buick is attacking the standard for FWD luxury cars now too, by comparing their new fake wood trimmed car to the ES350. I guess that should indicate that Lexus is the standard bearer for luxury cars now. Hyundai should really go their own road, if they want to prove that they can do it and do it better than Lexus, or they'll end up another "also ran" like Acura and Infiniti.

        FIX THE F'ING COMMENT SYSTEM FFS!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hyundai is the biggest Toyota wannabe in history
        Toyota has had an un-Toyota-like 2 years for one reason
        Jock Itch!

        Hyundai isn't Toyota for one reason
        The reason is Hyundai

        They could VERY EASILY be the Lexus of the 21st Century
        But they won't
        And this seals it!

        Good Job!
        Rusty
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