You know it was only about 5 years ago that I used to still laugh at anyone driving a Lexus, just another Toyota I used to say, just another Toyota, and surely then, it was just another Toyota, made in the same factory with the same parts just in a different shell and some more equipment, the Lexus brand (which if you are interested, stands for Luxury EXport to the United States) was largely ridiculed for trying to compete with the likes of BMW, Mercedes Benz and other European rivals. It tried so hard to hide its Japanese heritage, stayed away from looking or feeling Japanese, it was ashamed of who it was.
Skip forward to 2006 and things have changed a lot. Lexus has become one of the leading Luxury brands in Australia with an ever increasing market share of the luxury segment. So now in true Korean fashion, Hyundai has decided to copy Toyota’s business model and start its own Luxury brand. What is it going to be called? No one knows, there is no name for it yet, but one would suspect something that sounds luxurious and not Korean. Will it work? Well if we look at some other Korean companies that have tried to shed themselves of their Korean-ness, for example, Samsung, we can say it might! Samsung changed its image from a cheap Korean manufacturer to the largest manufacturer of computer memory and one of the leading manufacturers of Mobile Phone and white good appliances.
Will it work for cars? A Korean Luxury brand? I don’t like to be wrong very often, but I am going to stick my head out on this one and say maybe! Since there are people in Australia that have paid good money for a Hyundai Tiburon, then there is hope for Hyundai to sell its Luxury brand here. If you’re one of the people that got sucked into buying a Hyundai Tiburon, you’d probably be running to the stores when they release Diet water. What a waste!
“Yes, there will be a luxury brand coming, but the product will initially be developed for the US. There is no confirmed time but it will happen.” Steve Yeo, Hyundai Motor Company Australia chief executive.
“I’ve seen the car and it’s very BMW-ish in its styling, I would say it’s being developed for the American market initially. Why wouldn’t you do what successful people do?” Theo van Doore, Hyundai’s director of sales and marketing.
Very BMW-ish? Nice one Theo van Doore. If by BMW-ish they mean they are going to copy a BMW, much like they copied the Porsche Cayenne for the Hyundai Tucson then heck, I wanna see it!