Loading indicator
News & Reviews
Last 7 Days

It’s Hyundai’s largest dealership in Seoul, so I guess that makes it the ‘numero uno’ dealership in Korea

Last year, Hyundai Motor Daechi branch, moved 1303 new cars or an average of 109 units per month. That’s off the floor and out the door. You can only hope the sales guys doing the selling are on some sort of commission plan, with those kinds of volumes flying around.

Apparently 2010 has been a little tougher, and the dealership has sold an average of 91 cars each month although this year’s not over yet, so maybe things might bounce back in time to emulate the success of 2009.

Never mind the artwork around the dealership, that’s part of the H-art collection and some of those pieces are worth US$1 million a-piece!

After three days of touring various parts of Korea, you are dead-set lucky if you see a handful of foreign cars in a single day. There’s a few beemers about and the odd Volvo, but for as far as the eye can see, it’s pretty much all Hyundai and Kia. You could say they’ve cornered the market.

Actually, that’s not quite correct, there’s a reasonable spattering of SM5’s, which is an attractive mid-size sedan by the Renault/Samsung joint venture. Looking at the numbers, this was the only foreign car (if you can call it that, given Samsung is a home grown industrial powerhouse itself) that made it into the top 10 sellers in 2009. They sold just over 61,000 cars.

The most popular seller over here last year was the Sonata (i45) with the Avante in second place and followed by the Kia ‘Morning’ – a small car known as the Picanto in export markets.

Daechi is a well to do area in Seoul and I’m told you need more than a few bucks to live in this part of town, and yet this Hyundai Motor dealership is thriving.

There are a few very good reasons for this – not the least of which is the Hyundai EQUUS. This is no pretender like the Ssangyong Chairman with its plastic tables and low-grade plastics, although it’s fair to say I haven’t driven the latest Chairman.

EQUUS is a bona-fide super luxury sedan that competes against the likes of 7 Series, S-Class and the Lexus LS cars, and if you were half smart, you wouldn’t bet against the success of this model, such is the overwhelming value for money proposition this car represents.

Not so sure about the bonnet emblem though, I’m told it’s a cultural thing and has always been a feature of the model, but thankfully, it won’t be so conspicuous on the US bound cars.

Then there’s Genesis sedan and Coupe, two very different cars, for two very different customers, but both potential ‘halo’ cars for Hyundai.

The Genesis Sedan is a genuine rival for Lexus GS and BMW 5 Series, and after an hour or so behind the wheel of the V6 (also comes with a 4.6-litre V8), I can concur – this is a highly accomplished performer that is bound to shake up the major players in this highly prized segment.

Genesis coupe on the other hand, is a proper rear wheel-drive sports coupe, which you can have with either a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine or the more powerful 3.8-litre V6. Either way, it turns out to be a bit of a drift king complete with performance- stoppers by Brembo.

It’s no halo car, but Hyundai’s second biggest seller is the Avante/Elantra, and the all-new model, which gets the ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ treatment, is anticipated to hit Australian shores by second quarter 20ll, as possibly the i35 or i30 sedan although, Hyundai PR’s are tight lipped at this point.

Inside Avante, the stylists have hit the sweet spot, no question. If Hyundai price this car competitively, global sales should go through the roof.

I’ve also just spotted a Kia Forte (Cerato) Hybrid, which looks to have been tuned by a local performance outfit.

Next up, is a quick steer in the Genesis BH 380 sedan, Genesis 380 GT Coupe and EQUUS VS 380.