Every Asian manufacturer faces one big problem. How to market a Luxury car using its own brand. For example, how hard would you laugh if Hyundai started to compare its new Luxury cars to offerings from BMW/Mercedes?
Although its definitely no laughing matter that Hyundai has lifted its game considerably over the last few years, the lingering image of the Hyundai Excel and other Hyundai "cheap & cheerful" cars have left a somewhat unforgettable taste in the minds of many consumers. This is the exact problem faced by Japanese manufacturers in the early 1990s.
For the Japanese, the problem was solved by creating a whole new brand, to start clean with a fresh image, unfortunately for the Japanese, the only success story was Toyota's Lexus. The Infinity & Eunos were a failure and so Nissan and Mazda dropped out of the Luxury game for the time being.
Now that Hyundai is in the same boat as the Japanese, how can it truly market a luxury car to the masses and hope to be taken seriously? We recently covered the Hyundai Genesis V-8 sedan (pictured above), and whilst we had previously covered the idea of a Hyundai luxury brand, no official word has ever confirmed anything but more speculation.
Nonetheless, recently two of the top guys at Hyundai had given a little more of an indiciation that Hyundai are still thinking about a Luxury brand:
“We haven’t decided that as of yet. Genesis will be sold through our Hyundai dealers as a Hyundai, but we’re still in the midst of discussions as to whether or not we should have an alternative distribution channel with a new name. It’s still a possibility.” John Krafcik, VP of product planning for Hyundai America
So the question that remains is whether or not Hyundai will have the brand power to sell Luxury cars? Whilst the quality has truly improved, you have to ask yourself an important question, would you pay $70,000 for a Hyundai as you would pay for a Lexus? Didn't think so.