Hyundai Luxury Brand Still Under Study, But Showroom-Within-Showroom to Expand

With the upcoming second-generation Genesis on its way, Hyundai’s new CEO expects a number of dealers that don’t also sell the Equus to opt for the automaker’s showroom-within-a-showroom kit.

January 13, 2014

2 Min Read
rsquo15 Hyundai Genesis ups luxury content
’15 Hyundai Genesis ups luxury content.

DETROIT – Hyundai’s new U.S. CEO says the brand is standing pat for now and not pursuing a separate premium channel, although it continues to study the idea, despite a higher level of luxury on the upcoming second-generation Genesis sedan.

The new Genesis “is a game-changer for sure, (although it) doesn’t change our conversation, but we continue to have the conversation,” Dave Zuchowski, newly installed CEO and president of Hyundai Motor America, tells WardsAuto in an interview at the 2014 North American International Auto Show here.

The large investment Hyundai would have to make to create a separate sales channel for its low-volume luxury models remains a sticking point. “Even when we do a great job selling Genesis and Equus, it’s still 10% of our business. And 90% of our business is core models,” Zuchowski says.

Hyundai is staging the North American debut of the ’15 Genesis sedan at the show today. The new model increases the luxury content of the previous Genesis, with among other updates, a BlueLink infotainment system able to interact with users wearing Google Glass technology.

All Hyundai dealers sell the Genesis, but those also offering the larger Equus sedan have been selling both cars as part of the brand’s showroom-within-a-showroom scheme in the U.S.

Dealers can purchase small, medium or large kits that contain signage and, in some cases, an elevated platform to place in their showrooms.

As the new Genesis arrives, Zuchowski expects some of the dealers not selling the Equus to opt for the showroom-within-a-showroom kit.

“What we didn’t really do was go after non-Equus dealers,” he says. “But now because Genesis is sold by all (our) dealers,” the automaker plans to approach stores without the Equus and say, ‘Hey, why don’t you take a look at the small version of our showroom-within-a-showroom kit?’

“At the 50% of the dealers that don’t have Equus, I think you’ll be seeing a lot more of that interior branding.”

Hyundai sold a record 720,783 units in the U.S. in 2013, WardsAuto data shows. Genesis deliveries, which included the coupe variant, fell 4.8% to 32,330 and the Equus dropped 9.9% to 3,578.

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