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Hyundai plans new 'modern premium' image


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Hyundai plans new 'modern premium' image

Upscale global brand strategy to be unveiled at Detroit show

Hans Greimel

Automotive News Europe -- December 8, 2010 06:01 CET

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. plans to unveil a global branding strategy under the concept "modern premium" in a bid to nudge its image upmarket and command higher prices more in line with the carmaker's recent strides in quality and technology.

The concept, already used internally, is expected to be announced at the Detroit auto show in January and rolled out next year. A new slogan will also be revealed to replace Hyundai's current message of "Drive Your Way," spokeswoman Song Meeyoung said.

The overhaul will focus on improved customer service, more innovative marketing and a better look and feel for the vehicles themselves.

"In the past 10 years, we have been very successful in building an image for quality," Executive Vice President Cho Won Hong, Hyundai's new global marketing chief, said in an interview last month. "From now on, our direction will be defined as new premium or modern premium."

Hyundai, whose name means "modern" in Korean, was long known as an economy brand that undercut rivals on sticker prices. Now the company wants to foster an image that matches its burgeoning reputation for top-notch quality.

Cho targets an "attainable" premium niche above Japanese competitors that packs technology, style and service into reliable rides.

"We have been doing quite well in building good functional quality," Cho said. "But we still have some room to improve our emotional quality, and that is related to our brand strategy. That's why we set modern premium as the brand direction for the next five to 10 years."

Starting next year, Hyundai will reinforce the new message through:

-- A "substantial increase" in marketing funding

-- A new dealer and salesperson education program

-- An improved global dealer showroom identity.

Modern premium may also mean higher sticker prices.

"Obviously, there will be some price increases," Cho said. "If we deliver premium value to the customers and they recognize the value, then that's the time we can increase our prices."

Cho returned to Hyundai in August after a decade at the management consultancy Monitor Group in Boston. His early years at Hyundai were spent in overseas and strategic planning. As an outside consultant, he helped develop Hyundai's current concept of "refined and confident."

New global teams

A focus on creativity will be key to unifying the shopping experience across dealerships, Cho said. For example, Hyundai is developing a racing video game to be deployed in showrooms. The idea is to have something different, eye-catching and engaging for customers.

At the same time, Hyundai is launching two new global marketing teams.

The first, formed in April, focuses on youth marketing. It looks at youngsters, who aren't even customers yet. The goal is to pinpoint future trends.

The other unit, to start work next year, will drum up innovative marketing ideas. It will rely on shop-alongs, customer shadowing and ethnographic research to find out what customers want.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101208/COPY/312089989/1018#ixzz17WhWpzha

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Hyundai Considers Launching ‘Genesis’ Luxury Brand, Two New Models

By Viknesh Vijayenthiran


December 7th, 2010


There’s no doubt Hyundai has what it takes to build cars that can compete with top brands in the luxury segment, with current high-end models like the Genesis and Equus sedans proving that the South Korean automaker can build truly world class luxury cars.

Unfortunately, Hyundai has one major shortcoming, its name is synonymous with budget cars (though that reputation is starting to change a little). That means if Hyundai really wants to compete with the likes of Lexus and Infiniti, it’s going to need to separate its luxury models from its regular fleet, something the automaker is considering doing by launching a new brand.

Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Hyundai’s U.S. chief, John Krafcik, revealed there could be a new brand launched along with several new models.

2010 Hyundai GenesisEnlarge PhotoThere are currently three branding scenarios under consideration. The most likely is to create a separate brand called "Genesis" that will include several high-end models, all of which will be sold through Hyundai’s existing dealer network but in a separate section of the showroom.

In addition to the current Genesis and Equus sedans Krafcik revealed that a new sports sedan similar to the Lexus IS and BMW 3-Series could be launched, as well as a luxurious crossover built along the lines of the Lexus RX.

The other scenarios involve simply badging the new models as Hyundais or establishing a completely separate dealer and sales network exclusively for the new brand, a strategy that could easily end up costing millions.

However, before you start thinking we’re about to get yet another new brand in this already crowded automotive market, Krafcik cautioned that there’s no rush on any decision.

"One of the keys to this plan is how well the Equus does," he explained. "We don't need to make a decision for some time" on the branding question.



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Report: Hyundai considering more luxury models, separate luxury brand [w/poll]

by Jeremy Korzeniewski (RSS feed) on Dec 8th 2010 at 12:58PM


First the Genesis sedan, then the Equus. Clearly, Hyundai is pinning its ears back and charging upmarket like Ndamukong Suh rushing Aaron Rodgers. And, like the rookie Husker-bred defensive end, the Korean automaker is making a rather successful transition to the next level. What's next? Quite possibly a sedan designed to compete directly with the benchmark entry-level luxury sedan, the BMW 3 Series. After that, Hyundai may craft a crossover to go up against the segment-defining Lexus RX CUV.

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Hyundai isn't nearly done refining the image of its top-level nameplates. Hyundai USA head John Krafcik told the WSJ in an interview that the automaker is actively considering whether it should break its premium models apart from the rest of its lineup, much in the same way Honda does with Acura, Toyota does with Lexus and Nissan does with Infiniti.

While this isn't exactly news, Krafcik's level of candor is. Three options are apparently on the table. First, an entire separate dealer network could be created to sell these Genesis-branded machines, but this would be very costly. Second (and reportedly most likely), a subset of the automaker's current set of dealers could add a section to their dealerships designed to cater specifically to upmarket clients – a showroom-within-a-showroom, if you like. They could even have their own dedicated employees. Lastly, Hyundai could stick with its current scheme of training at least one salesperson on the Genesis line, leaving the dealerships alone.

Whichever way Hyundai chooses to move, don't expect any hasty decisions. Krafcik says the company will keep a close eye on the success of its Equus sedan in the States before making any judgments on its dealer network. In the meantime, expect Hyundai to unveil a new global branding strategy at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show along with a slogan to replace the current "Drive Your Way" message.

One thing is clear: this decision will shape the way forward for Hyundai's continued performance in the United States. We're keenly interested in your take on the matter, and we know the automaker's execs are listening, too. What strategy should Hyundai adopt in its bid to move further upmarket? Make yourself heard in our informal poll below, as well as in Comments.



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Hyundai Evaluating the Creation of a Separate Genesis Brand to Compete with Lexus, May Build a BMW 3-Series Rival



If you were wondering what's next on the Hyundai and Kia Group's agenda of world domination, the answer is the addition of a third brand to the firm's portfolio to compete head on with Japan's Lexus and Infiniti, and possibly even Germany's finest, including BMW and Audi.

The luxury arm would most likely be called Genesis and include the South Korean firm's current rear-wheel drive offerings such as the Genesis Sedan and Coupe, plus the soon-to-be-launched onto the American market, Lexus LS-rivaling Equus.

The automaker, which saw its U.S. market share increase by an overly impressive 50 per cent in the past two years, would further enhance the range of the Genesis brand with a compact sports saloon in the likes of BMW's best-selling model, the 3-Series, and a crossover utility vehicle to compete with the Lexus RX 350.

The creation of the luxury arm is more than just a thought as John Krafcik, president of Hyundai Motor America, told The Wall Street Journal that the company has two branding scenarios under consideration.

The first and most likely to happen would be for Hyundai to launch the Genesis as a sub-brand and sell the cars in separate parts of its own showrooms. The other is to follow in the footsteps of Lexus and launch the brand into separate dealerships. One third option would be for the company to develop the aforementioned sedan and SUV models but keep the Hyundai branding for the time being.

"One of the keys to this plan is how well the Equus does. We don't need to make a decision for some time", Mr. Krafcik said on the branding question during an interview with journalists.

While Hyundai remains open to all options, Mr. Krafcik said that he is most concerned about launching a spin-off brand due to the costs related to the creation of a new network of dealers and that the company would need to make an additional $6,000 in revenue per each car sold by the outlets.

There appears to be a lot of enthusiasm among Hyundai dealers who are almost certain about the creation of the Genesis brand.

"The dealers are excited about the Equus, and it being the lynch pin for this Genesis brand," said Scott Fink, an owner of two Hyundai dealerships in Florida. "We feel like we can do what others have been unable to do. We think we can sell a luxury brand within the house of the mainstream brand."



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