Hyundai America CEO John Krafcik is rarely one to hold back his opinions, and today's topic of discussion is marque's upcoming Equus luxury flagship. Hyundai has moved up in the automotive ranks so quickly over the past 15 years that many people have wondered if the brand is overreaching with the Equus.
Krafcik addresses the obvious comparison to the U.S. market failure of the Volkswagen Phaeton. The way Krafcik sees it, VW skipped a few pricing steps going straight from the Passat to its ill-fated Phaeton range-topper, noting that there was a much larger gap between the Passat and the Phaeton than there will be with Hyundai because they've taken the trouble of bringing the Genesis sedan and coupe to market – the former of which verified that consumers are willing to pay $40,000+ for a Hyundai.
Of course, that's no guarantee that consumers will pay $55,000-60,000 for an Equus but it seems more plausible than $80,000+ for a Phaeton. Krafcik also addresses the fact that each Equus buyer will get an Apple iPad with the owner's manual. As he explains it, the tablet PC is meant to provide a more useful resource for people to figure out how to use all the technology in this flagship, hopefully avoiding the pitfalls of some other luxury machines.
The iPad will also have an application that allows owners to schedule service appointments. When the appointed time arrives, Hyundai will send a driver to the Equus owner's home or office with a loaner, and then return the Equus when the work is done. As Krafcik sees it, other luxury automakers have spent millions of dollars to gussy up their dealerships – building things like coffee bars, fancy seating areas and water features. Problem is, nobody really wants to visit their dealer even with those added niceties, so Hyundai plans to remove it from the equation with its pick-up and delivery service. In other words, the ultimate luxury is never having to take your car to the dealer at all. Fair enough.
The Equus goes on sale this Fall.