Hyundai Equus Coming to the U.S., But Will It Sell?

August 13th, 2009

Hyundai_equus

You know the how the old saying goes…

“When the economy’s in the tank, offer the big-ticket items.”

What? That’s not a saying? Oh. Someone might want to tell the Koreans that.

Hyundai will announce the U.S. arrival of its premium luxury sedan, the Equus, at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The sedan will be sold in the U.S. beginning in late 2010.

While the Pebble Beach crowd might consider a pricetag just south of $60K a bargain, most of the rest of us still consider that a pretty hefty chunk o’ change. Conventional wisdom says unveiling an expensive new luxury car in a falling market is unwise, but then again Hyundai has no intentions of being conventional.

And maybe Hyundai can afford to take some risks, considering its sales have seen a boost, partially thanks to the infamous Cash for Clunkers plan. AutoObserver.com says:

The Hyundai group’s July sales – which includes the performance of Kia Motors America – actually were better compared with last year (a 16-percent jump) than with last month, over which sales improved 9 percent.

Hyundai_equus_frontSo why not take a chance and aim the Equus directly at the Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and even the BMW 7 Series?

In typical Hyundai fashion, the intent is to undercut the price of those competitors while offering features that would be expected in all of them.

Expect rear-wheel drive, potent V8 power, and possible options like reclining rear seats with massagers and TV screens. Of course we’ll know more after the weekend, but I expect the Equus to be the final element in Hyundai’s transformation from being the butt of jokes in the early 1990s to a king of the auto world now.

That is, if people buy it. I can’t help but be reminded of Volkswagen’s experiment with the Phaeton… a terrific car that is still sold around the world, but tanked in the U.S. I still think a major reason for that failure was the giant VW logo on the trunk; very few people wanted to spend $70K on a Volkswagen.

Hyundai is smart not to plaster its name all over the Genesis or, presumably, the Equus. Who knows? Maybe this is all part of a plan to turn the Equus into an entire line of luxury cars. Toyota would have Lexus, Nissan would have Infiniti, and Hyundai could have Equus.

Of course that’s all just conjecture, but I sure wouldn’t want to spend $60K on a Hyundai Equus. Call it something like an Equus Genesis, though, give it a fancy new logo and hood ornament, and we’ve got a whole new ballgame.

Can Hyundai’s new luxury sedan succeed in the U.S.?

-tgriffith

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  1. Michael Collins
    April 21st, 2010 at 12:51 | #1

    I hear people really putting down Hyundai. Have you driven one? I mean to tell you they feel solid and responsive. I do not know about you but when something is sold of quality from Japan or Korea. I take notice. Every product in my home(that has lasted for years) is Sanyo, Samung, Sony. What other car is offering you 10 years 100,000 miles? That is an incredible warranty. Go drive one….Genesis is terrific. It will be years before Toyota comes back…cutting corners on safety to make even more profit….come on they got busted….Korea will strive even harder to take this away from them…Hyundai, Equus will be a forerunner for Hyundai. I paid 50,000 for my Cadillac. It’s in the shop every three months with something new gone wrong… Lay your money down and you will have a great car…..

  2. Michael Collins
    March 9th, 2010 at 16:34 | #2

    The reason Volkswagen failed was the price was way too high for that Phaeton. If they had asked 40-45 to start they might have had a chance, but I saw this car and was amazed by the legroom and nice interior but when I saw the price I said bye bye. I have only seen one in San Diego. Introduce it at a different price and it would sell.

  3. Michael Collins
    March 9th, 2010 at 16:29 | #3

    This car is soooo nice. Saw it at the car show, so sweet. I love the body lines, the rear end is beautiful, grill work is classy the interior is so refined. Love this car. Will we pay 75,000 no way, will we pay 50,000 yes, but will America buy Hyundai at that cost? I would Toyota is in the pits. Hyundai strike while it’s hot…..

  4. August 18th, 2009 at 13:25 | #4

    Regardless this vehicle will really start to help in changing this growing vehicle brands image. Hyundai has really stepped it up with these recent vehicles and I think we will continue to see impressive vehicles rolling off of the assembly lines.

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