Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hyundai Equus to be sold in US next year

I don't know how I missed this story from a month ago — unless it was because this news came down the wire while I was traveling from Korea to Northern California. Anyway, Hyundai has announced that they will sell their "premium luxury sedan" in the United States starting late next year.

As anyone who lives in South Korea knows, the car in question is the Equus, long a status symbol for high-ranking executives and the nouveau-riche in the ROK who didn't want to attract negative attention by buying a Lexus or a BMW (though that stigma has been eroding fast).

Frankly, I'm a bit skeptical about this move unless all the due diligence that went into the Hyundai Genesis is also being done with the Equus. At least they're giving themselves time to get it done right:
Hyundai or Lexus or Audi? That’s a question that Hyundai wants consumers to ask next year if they are in the market for a premium luxury sedan.

The Korean automaker announced Wednesday that it would bring its flagship premium sedan to the United States. Now available in Korea, where it is badged as the Equus, the sedan made a surprise showing at the New York Auto Show in April, where “the response was fantastic,” said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America’s president and chief executive.

“Since then, we’ve had a fleet traveling around the country, capturing input from our dealers and consumers,” he added in a news release. “Here, too, the response was extraordinarily positive, and similar to the market reaction to the award-winning Genesis, so we’ve decided to bring it to the U.S.”
Word is that they're not going to call it an Equus. Such a name might bring people to Hyundai showrooms expecting to see Harry Potter and his lady friend Joanna Christie naked and doing the nasty in a stable.


  1. Another case of Koreans not doing their homework. The Japanese came crashing into the US market in the 1960s with cheap, affordable, and easy to maintain lower end cars. They had excellent market shares. The three major companies with US presence were Toyota, Honda and Nissan (Datsun). They were very smart to create the Lexus and Accura brands. No one was going to pay big bucks for a luxury Toyota.
    VW got burnt very badly when they tried to unveil the luxury Phaeton. You can see some in Seoul. It is quite a nice car, but American consumers didnt buy it. They felt that if they were going to buy a luxury car, they wanted a luxury brand: Porsche, Benz, BMW. A luxury Hyundai? Who in their right mind would buy a luxury Hyundai in the US? Plus the Equus in one of the ugliest cars that I have seen in a long time. It will fail, 100%.

  2. 1994, Hyundai and Kia are doing quite well, thank you very much. And sales of the Hyundai Genesis are quite all right.

    I don't know if you're in Korea or somewhere else, but in the US, there has been a sea change in how the media and consumers view Hyundai products.

    Just today, in a PBS podcast, an American automaker was discussing how to turn around the image of American cars by reminding viewers that Hyundai back in the 1990s was making Elantras that weren't so hot even though now the brand is considered quite good.


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