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by Tim Beissmann

It comes as little surprise that BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are the most popular car brands among some of the wealthiest people in the US… but Hyundai?

Holders of the American Express Centurion Card – a near-unlimited credit card with a number of other added benefits – are unashamed fans of German luxury cars.

Twenty-two per cent own a BMW, 21 per cent have a Mercedes-Benz and 15 per cent have a Porsche – and plenty probably have all three. Next on the list are Lexus (11 per cent), Ferrari (eight per cent) and Acura (seven per cent).

Then it gets interesting. Tied on six per cent with Audi and Bentley is Hyundai, a brand that many would consider to be the odd one out in the esteemed company above.

That means the Korean manufacturer ranks ahead of luxury brands like Rolls Royce, sports cars like Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Maserati, and popular everyday runabouts from General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota.

Hyundai US CEO John Krafcik revealed the brand’s surprisingly high ranking in a presentation last week, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Mr Krafcik proudly trumpeted the stats while revealing the new specifications of the 2012 Hyundai Genesis, which now scores a 320kW 5.0-litre R-spec V8 engine linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The luxury Genesis sedan is priced from $US34,200 ($32,200) for the entry-level 3.8-litre model, considerably less than premium offerings from Europe and Japan. Hyundai is on track to deliver 30,000 Genesis vehicles in the US in 2011.

The Hyundai Equus is the brand’s flagship model designed to take on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and its competitors. Priced from $US58,000 ($54,600), the Equus is considerably cheaper than the $US91,000 ($85,600) S-Class.

Are you surprised by the tastes of the rich and famous? Could you overcome badge snobbery to buy a luxury Hyundai, or would you stick with the traditional prestige brands? Let us know in the comments section below.




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