By on August 13, 2009

Hyundai has announced that its Equus luxury flagship is headed stateside in “late 2010.”  The New York Times seems to believe that the Equus “is not likely to be called the Equus,” when it arrives. Google the name without “Hyundai” to find out why. So does the rush to market mean Hyundai has abandoned plans for a Genesis-based brand spin-off adventure? Let’s hope so. This is no stretched Azera (it’s a stretched Genesis), but it’s said to be priced starting “under $60K.” Which means Cadillac’s 2012 XTS “flagship” won’t even be a “Hyundai fighter.” How the world changes.

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34 Comments on “Speaking of Luxury Flagships . . ....”

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Japanese Genesis

    Car dealer vernacular for the Lexus or Infiniti brand plate (in a few years)

  • avatar

    So…. even though the economy is having an effect on the sales of the just-launched Genesis Sedan… they’re still going to leapfrog it with a more expensive one?


  • avatar
    John R

    Yeah, the timing is a bit…interesting. However, from what I heard from people who’ve seen one in person at auto shows, this thing is impressive.

    Nevertheless, I would rather see a shortened Genesis four door (3-series sized). I like the Genesis Coupe, but I would have to have my mailed forwarded to the dog house if I got one.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    So what they’re saying is you can get what used to be “Cadillac style” at a Hyundai price?

    Does Korea have an equivalent for Godzilla?

  • avatar

    60 GRAND!
    The champaign drinking from recent success has ended in drunked board decisions.

  • avatar

    This may or may not sell, but there is no reason not to bring it over.

    Unlike the Japanese, the Koreans drive on the correct side of the road (like Americans, continental Europeans and mainland Chinese), and this car’s drivetrains have already been engineered for US emissions for the Genesis, so bringing this over is much more simple than bringing over something like the Toyota Century.

    Hyundai is very smart to not create a separate luxury brand. If the brand would fail state dealer laws take away manufacturers’ freedom to contract and make it incredibly expensive to shut down a brand. Not to mention the marketing expenses wasted in creating a brand.

    It is better to try selling luxury cars before creating a luxury brand, instead of trying to sell a luxury brand without any luxury cars, like Honda does.

    The only issue is dealership experience, but if these cars suceeed Hyundai will probably become the upmarket brand, giving Kia a reason to exist.

    I would also like to see Hyundai bring a smaller RWD sedan to the US instead of a larger one, but for its small volume RWD lineup Hyundai is brining over what plays in Korea, not specifically tailoring things to the US market. Korean wives apparently still let their husbands drive coupes.

  • avatar

    Just Googled Equus, and I can’t stop laughing…
    Perhaps the Equus should go head-to-head with the LaCrosse…

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @autobahner44: there ought to be a commercial with Daniel Radcliffe driving one of these

  • avatar

    I doubt that anyone from Hyundai HQ is reading….nevertheless, Genesis desperately has to be a seperate physical channel from the vanilla Hyundais. Otherwise Genesis is going to Phaeton hell.

    As a luxury brand Genesis wouldn’t need lots locations per metro area….and there are plenty of vacant new/used car dealerships in almost every market.

    Hyundai, don’t let a perfectly good car die because it doesn’t have the right badge!

    Hell if someone was willing to loan me $7-$9 million, I’d open the first one, lol.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The last thing Hyundai needs is another brand with another set of showrooms. Using the high end models to up the image of the parent brand will work out just fine. The cost and risk of another dealer network would be silly.

  • avatar

    as long as it doesn’t cost that much to bring it over and they are selective about which dealerships they hand it out too…why not?

    I can’t see anyone buying it outside of fleet sales.

    They need to address their “dealership experience” issues.

  • avatar

    I guess I have to see this in person.
    I have only seen a couple of Genesis in person.
    Had to check the grill to make sure what I was looking at. To me the shape is nothing special. It does not generate any excitement, just something different.
    Hyundai is getting a lot of love from the press and blogs. Their main stream cars may deserve it, but I don’t see the Genesis as being that great, at least not on the street. Plus they are not selling.
    Will this thing be any different?
    I doubt it, from the pictures. Lots of surfaces and lines that do not compliment each other.
    I guess we shall see.

  • avatar

    Hyundai Death Watch #1?

  • avatar

    I had read in BusinessWeek a year or so back that there is/was a big divide between the American management of Hyundai and the Korean management.

    The Americans viewed Hyundai as staying where it was (an economy car line) while the Korea-based management view Hyundai as a broad-spectrum maker.

    At one point the Americans were pushing KIA as the upmarket lineup… and were going to do the Chevy/Buick bit that way. They got fired for it

    BusinessWeek Mar 2008 My way or the highway at Hyundai

    The article suggests that the Korean management is basically convinced that “If you sell it, they will buy”….and that moving into the luxury market is as easy as offering the cars for sale.

    As someone has already pointed out, VW didn’t find it that easy. I have a friend who tried leasing a Tiguan (Have you seen one lately?). He’s back to Lexus. It wasn’t the vehicle, it was the treatment at the dealership. That wasn’t really bad; it just wasn’t good. For example, he always had to remind them first – that he was entitled to a loaner car, and then – he didn’t want to drive a Jetta while his car was being serviced.

    So, does anybody have any feedback on how Hyundai is doing in that arena? It’s going to matter a lot more at $60K than it does at $35….

  • avatar

    Hmm, a car company is trying to reinvent itself and move upmarket to stay competitive.

    Wow, what a horrible idea.


  • avatar

    Hyundai is continuing to build Mercedes while Mercedes is continuing to build Hyundais.

  • avatar

    Americans were pushing KIA as the upmarket lineup… and were going to do the Chevy/Buick bit that way. They got fired for it

    >> I’m not sure Americans were really pushing KIA as the upmarket lineup. if they did it, it was the ridicuolus decision. According to common sense, Hyundai is more suitable brand for upmarket lineup than Kia. Everybody know Hyundai Elantra/Sonata, But many people still don’t know spectra/optima.
    and Is it possible that Pontiac become a upmarket brand than GM?

    And build a new luxury brand is fvcking expensive. It would require several billions $$…

  • avatar

    buy a luxury brand is more cheaper way than build a new luxury brand. but nobody sell luxury brand to hyundai in now.
    If i am a Hyundai, I buy a volvo brand from ford. and sell genesis sedan, equus under volvo brand to europe.

    now, ford sell volvo brand to chinese company. but i think chinese company once get technology they wanted, they will kill america big3 ‘first’. Chinese state owned auto company spread volvo technologies to other Chinese auto companies. 10 years after, Europe and North America Auto industry will ruined by China.

  • avatar

    Good luck to them. Hyundai has discovered that making large powerful luxury sedans is not rocket science and want a piece of the action.

    While they will struggle to find acceptance with this first generation they will most likely eventually get there. Given the high manufacturing costs of European manufacturers it will be interesting to see what they will do to differentiate themselves sufficiently in order to charge 50% more for their product.

  • avatar

    It’s the Hyundai Phaeton.

  • avatar

    luxury sallon ‘Maybach’ selling under MB dealers.

    I think Hyundai choose that way.

    That is the most cheapest way to sell luxury car in current dealer system.

    At least, That is much better choice than Hyundai badge.

  • avatar

    Next up, sports car… Gotta have an NSX to go with that Lexus.

  • avatar

    I think what we’re seeing here is Hyundai becoming the upmarket brand (Lexus/Infiniti) and Kia eventually becoming the mass market brand (Toyota/Nissan). Kia has been busy launching the Forte, Rondo and Soul and re-launching the Rio, and oddly enough Hyundai has no corresponding twins of those. Hyundai has the Genesis and the Equus, yet no word of Kia twins for those cars. It makes sense to me, as Hyundai has worked very hard to earn the “quality” marker, as in “This car is almost as good as a Hyundai!” (believe me, we’ll hear that soon enough). Once Hyundai has got the cachet of an upmarket brand they will then focus on making Kia as well known as Hyundai, and concentrating on the mass-market selling of Kias.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    US$60,00 is a lot of money. The Koreans are very determined. After the original debacle they made few mistakes. People who earlier underestimated them have been proven wrong.

  • avatar

    US$60,00 is a lot of money. The Koreans are very determined. After the original debacle they made few mistakes. People who earlier underestimated them have been proven wrong.

    People who assume the Koreans are just Japanese late to the industrialized dominance game haven’t been too right either. Hyundai’s getting a lot better, but in general, Korean stuff isn’t up to par to Japan’s. They might get there, but the more industrial stuff I’ve seen from them says they’re a long way off, still..

    That said, Hyundai’s closing the gap darn quickly in the car realm. GM/Chrysler should be worried about THEM, not the Japanese (who they can’t compete with)

  • avatar

    This is true for their lower/older model cars…

    But get into the higher priced and newer models, and you’re getting a lot for the same price compared to the Japanese.

    I personally think the Genesis rocks… given its price. And even discounting it, there are cars that cost more that offer less in terms of performance and quality.

  • avatar

    Hyundai doesn’t fully appreciate branding/marketing just like another Korean company…Kumho Tires (good tires for the price, but horrendous name, lol).

    hehehe, I said something naughty.

  • avatar

    This piece of junk isn’t impressive at all. ITS A COPY OF AN LS460…The Goddamned thing even says “460” on it.

    How can this be allowed to even go on?

  • avatar

    i hate the rear door handles on the Equus. the mis-matching handles on the current C-Class are also a pet peeve

  • avatar

    Flashpoint :
    August 13th, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    This piece of junk isn’t impressive at all. ITS A COPY OF AN LS460…The Goddamned thing even says “460″ on it.

    How can this be allowed to even go on?

    Uh… plate number 4624 = 460? Your math needs work. :)

    Interestingly… yes… the Genesis/Equus sub-brand does plagarize widely from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes in their styling… but the Lexus LS isn’t the gold standard of originality, either…

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    I could see one positive outcome without falling into the trap of brand re-engineering. Instead of people seeing Hyundai and Killed-in-Action spitting out the same cars with different bodies (the Chevy-Pontiac thing), start pushing Hyundai upmarket. It doesn’t have to get to that Lexus/BMW/M-B cache level, but just an overall perception that KIA is youthful entry-level cars and Hyundai is more luxurious. This car and Genesis sedan could help nudge that perception along.

    Ultimately if they ever decided to produce a separate luxury brand, they might have the credibility to pull it off by then. For now though, I think the Lexus/BMW/M-B quality at Hyundai prices is working well enough for them.

  • avatar

    i think the sole reason this car exists is that so Korean diplomatic staff can drive around in their country’s own car

    if you’re a little banana republic of course you use a mercedes S class but it would be embarrassing for a car building nation like korea to do the same

    does it matter they don’t make a cent in exports? who cares

    it’s just gravy for the real use of this car

  • avatar

    Sounds like the French and there luxury models. I always wonder who outside the president drives them

  • avatar


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