Hyundai Is Considering a Luxury Lineup Expansion
Regardless of what your personal opinion of the Hyundai Equus is, it’s hard to deny that the car turned some heads and garnered a fair degree of attention to the brand. Though Hyundai made some small efforts to distance the Equus from its namesake brand, many found it difficult to reconcile the Hyundai name with a sedan wearing a $60,000 price tag.
For those who are unfamiliar, the Equus is an attempt by Hyundai to grab some marketshare from the upper echelons of luxury, like the Audi A8 or Mercedes S Class. At $61,250, it’s a steal compared to its competition (a base-level S Class starts at $92,000, the A8 at $75,100). However, it packs a V8 up front, the manual comes loaded on an iPad, it’s got an eight-speed transmission and rear-seat console controls, so it’s checking all the right boxes. But again, that starting price is a steep climb for a brand built on economy cars.
Hyundai has, as a means of addressing its luxury image, done a rather decent job turning its Genesis sedan into a light-luxe player in the field, and with a $35,200 starting point, it’s a bit more palatable. However, the combined success of the two cars has led Hyundai to consider a third luxury-oriented model, according to Dave Zuchowski, the CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
“That’s one of the conversations,” he told Automotive News. “I think it’s fair to say that within a couple of years there may be another premium” nameplate. “That’s a space where we think there’s some opportunity.”
Though Zuchowski and company are remaining mute on the topic, a new luxury car — reportedly on the same level as BMW’s 3 Series and known internally as RK — may join Hyundai’s stable, Automotive News reports. That would essentially make for a luxurious equivalent of Hyundai’s Elantra or Sonata, or somewhere in between.
In addition to its luxury ambitions, Hyundai is also looking at the swelling compact crossover segment, where there is a rather conspicuous hole in its lineup. Hyundai’s sister brand, Kia, has the Soul, but there isn’t really a Hyundai version.
“We’re always looking at segments that we’re not in right now that maybe we should be based on where the market’s going,” Zuchowski said to Automotive News. “We’re very intrigued by this B-segment CUV.” A contender would face off against Subaru’s Crosstrek, the Nissan Juke, and the Buick Encore, among others.
“You’ve got to grow your volume by growing in segments where you aren’t right now,” he said to the publication, warning that building up too many niche segments will result in cannibalization of existing models. “That’s what our focus is down the road.”