By on February 24, 2012

If you want a $3,500 discount off of a Hyundai Genesis, or $4,500 off a Hyundai Equus, you can get one – but only if you operate a livery car service. Hyundai is putting a lot of cash on the hood for their two luxury sedans, as they hope to capture some market share left by the cancellation of the Lincoln Town Car, America’s favorite “black car”.

Hyundai has been promoting the Genesis (base MSRP, $35,075) and the Equus  ($59,690) at trade shows and in trade publications. While no body-on-frame sedan such as the Town Car is offered any longer, the Genesis and Equus have rear-drive layouts and can be ordered with V8 engines. Their domestic competitors, the Lincoln MKT crossover and Cadillac XTS, are based on front-drive platforms and come only with V6 engines. The Equus Ultimate that was reviewed by TTAC would make a great limousine, mostly because it’s much better to be driven in an Equus rather than actually drive it. Hyundai offers a factory stretched Equus in South Korea (above) as well as an armored version.

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35 Comments on “Hyundai Offering Big Incentives On Genesis And Equus Sedans – But Only To Livery Car Operators...”


  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Good luck to Hyundai, the Town Car is a hard vehicle to follow in terms of longevity and dependability. I hope the Genesis and Equus are up to the job. If they are, they’ll have some loyal long term customers.
    I know the reasons Ford ditched the panther platform because it didn’t ‘fit’ the new Ford/Lincoln brand (or CAFE), but I still don’t agree with the fact that they abandoned a solid bunch of customers who were not looking elsewhere for their next car.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Killing off the Panther had a lot more to do with collision standards than CAFE or image. My understanding is that retrofitting it to meet new passenger car crash standards largely designed for unibody vehicles would have made the car unprofitable — particularly at its low production volume.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    The Town Car was beloved as a livery because of it’s ultra plush ride. The Genesis on the other hand is known for a horrible ride in the back seats.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Not any more; the 2012 Genesis (non-R-Spec) has a pretty compliant ride due to adjustments to the suspension and finally getting rid of the awful Dunlops which just killed the ride (owners just switching out the Dunlops for say, Continentals, noticed a much improved ride even on the pre-2012 models).

      Not sure about this move; would be alright as a means to get more people to experience an Equus, but Hyundai should limit their livery business along the lines of what Mercedes, BMW, etc. do and make sure that the streets of NYC, etc. aren’t filled with black Equus sedans like the Town Car.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        I don’t think Hyundai should limit their livery business. Many people don’t hold Hyundai in such high esteem as they do the likes of BMW and Mercedes. In many cases I get the feeling that some people would never even go near a Hyundai dealership whilst looking for a luxury car, let alone climb into a Genesis or Equus (some of my richer colleagues have said exactly this). If on the other hand someone routinely rides in the back of one of these cars, it may just generate a wider appreciation for Hyundai’s ‘luxury’ cars and dispel some of the notions richer people associate with the Hyundai brand.

      • 0 avatar

        If only Hyundai would strip off all those Genesis and Hyundai logos. Their badges are gawdy and that ridiculous hood ornament has to go. Black out the car and it actually looks attractive.

        If they would do that, the average business man that gets in might be able to overlook it’s Hyundainess long enough to enjoy the ride.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        @Sinistermisterman

        Limit in the sense that they don’t become eponymous like the Town Car – which no one even bats en eye at, being seen marginally better than the yellow (or green or orange) painted Crown Vics.

        Toyota also has a program for the LS and the Avalon, but one thing for sure, they are more careful about the number of LS sedans that go into livery service than they do the Avalon.

        GM is now trying to promote the XTS as “go-to” livery model, but they will be more discerning about the RWD full-size Cadillac flagship if and when it appears.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I never understood this feeling. I’ve taken a livery cab home probably half of the weeknights (and plenty of weekends) of the last five years, and the “ultra plush ride” of the Town Car leaves me feeling carsick more often than any other car I’ve ridden in. The days I score a Camry (or, dare to dream, an Avalon) are the lucky ones. I’d be thrilled out of my mind to see a Genesis waiting for me at the curb.

      • 0 avatar
        cfclark

        Agree on this–the rear seat of at least recent Town Cars is more like my mother-in-law’s uncomfortable sofa than a car seat. I never felt as if I could actually sit up in it or on it and maintain any dignity.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    The Town Car/Crown Vic was definitely past it’s sell-by date, but I can’t help but feel that Ford made a big mistake by not having a big-car replacement waiting in the wings. The MKT is a poor substitute for livery operations, and Ford still doesn’t have a credible police car option (is anybody actually buying those new Police Interceptors? Because I have yet to see one in the wild.) I think overall it was a pretty dumb move for them to cede 2 big markets like that at a drop of a hat, even if the margins were thin.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      As far as I’m aware (correct me if I’m wrong) but the margins weren’t thin. The plants and tooling for everything panther orientated were paid off a loooooong time ago, and every car built and sold made a nice profit. They were ditched because Ford had not spent a penny on upgrading the platform in practically a decade and they would have been very costly to bring up to snuff. They also didn’t fit the new Ford/Lincoln ‘image’ of trendy, Sync, AWD, latest gadgets etc.
      But, yes, abandoning three solid markets – Livery/Police/Taxi – and giving the operators practically no worthwhile replacement for any of the segments is bordering on criminal.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadFlorist

      “is anybody actually buying those new Police Interceptors?”

      The Chicago police just ordered a few hundred.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Production just recently began on the Police Interceptor Taurus, so you should likely start seeing them on the roads in the coming months.

      The MKT has some benefits as a livery vehicle – it’s very comfortable in the back seats, has a ton of leg and head room, and has a easy step-in height. I’ve had a number of older customers look to it and the Flex because they aren’t comfortable stepping down into sedans, nor up into SUVs or taller CUVs, the MKT and Flex allow you to step in without going up or down.

  • avatar

    I don’t quite understand what RWD and/or v8 brings to the table in this market. Ride quality is paramount, but the whole purpose of RWD is to make the car to exit corners better. Sure it could make some sense on a polica cruiser, but not on a livery vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Jurgen

      I think the desire for RWD in patrol cars isn’t the classic handling thing car buffs desire, but more about how the vehicles get used. Hard. As one police officer friend said, hitting median curbs to pull a you turn- pursing across rough terrain, regularly going through medians etc. If the drive wheels are connected it is more problematic when the front end needs to get repaired.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    When I first saw the photo of the KDM stretch, I thought they should have used a longer rear door, like the Lincoln Town Car “L” does. But then I realized they could use the SWB rear doors, and that wide “B” panel is an instant giveaway that the car is the long one.
    Time will tell if it is durable enough for livery duty.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I haven’t sat in the back of an Equus, but I sat in the back of a Genesis 5.0R a few weeks ago. It did not have enough rear headroom to be considered for livery use. A stretch wouldn’t fix that. I’ve been in the livery business before. Experienced customers usually requested Exectuive-L model Town Cars, and even a regular Town Car has far more rear seat room than a Genesis does. There was resistance to the LWB Chrysler 300s too, because they’re too narrow. Provided the Equus has at least 2 inches more headroom in the back than the Genesis, I could see them working the curbs in midtown waiting for IB types with car vouchers, but the Town Cars I took home when I worked late at Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley tended to be pretty tired compared to the cars dispatched by a decent limo service. I suspect they’d led previous lives further up the food chain before their current owners had bought them for far less than $40K. I don’t think those guys can spend new Equus money, and I’m not sure who would take on the depreciation for them.

  • avatar
    hachee

    This seems like a short-sighted way to sell more cars or to get noticed. It may well cause more people to see that Hyundai makes luxury cars, but it could also do what happened with the Town Car – true luxury car buyers began to see them as nice taxis and stopped buying them for personal use. Sure, these Hyundais are not old and out-dated like the TC, which didn’t help, but I don’t think this would enhance the image as a maker of luxury cars.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    I don’t know what is the big deal regarding Town Car ride and comfort in the back. I had the misfortune in riding in one of these for an agonizing winter trip from DC to Silver Spring recently. Halfway through the pitching and rolling I asked the driver to let me out so I could move to the front and not vomit all over his car.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    In many of these city environments “ride quality” means absorbing the potholes and riding well on freeways not being able to corner flat. The Genesis/Equis will likely handle that well.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Other than sterling reliability, it strikes me that the Town Car has virtually every lousy quality that TTAC readers loathe in various other cars: floaty ride, seats with no support, insipid interior, somewhat difficult ingress and egress, dated looks, etc. These cars are truly the Barcaloungers (sp?) of cars. What, pray tell then, is the allure? Is this simply a nostalgia trip for current or former livery drivers, cops and cabbies?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “What, pray tell then, is the allure?”

      When you find it, let me know. Until I read TTAC, I had no idea that a Grand Marquis was supposed to be something more than just a floaty, gas guzzling penalty box.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      One more comment like that and I will ban you, delete your user ID, and strike your entire netblock from access.

      The only way to come back from a Town-Car-related ban is to meet me at an SCCA autocross and beat my stock Town Car with your daily driver.

      In the words of Sinistar, “BEWARE.”

      Seriously, though, the Panthers are great cars. They can be driven very hard because they are completely predictable. Furthermore it’s one of the few vehicles in recent production which can be safely run to the limit of the tires and suspension in nearly every off and onramp. Do that for a few years, you will be a better driver in your 458 Italia weekender as a result.

      • 0 avatar
        dima

        Jack, I used to have 1997 Impala SS. And yes, it would run circles around Panther at any time, anywhere. I still biting my elbows for selling it.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Any chance that you’ll participate in any autocrosses in So Cal? That sounds like a fun challenge.

      • 0 avatar

        Excuse me, Jack, but what would that prove about Panter? You probably can beat him in a jeep.

        I had a simple, everyman’s opportunity to see what difference a driver makes just recently. In December I transferred to a new department, head of which campaigns a BMW in some kind of club series, SCCA or NASA, I don’t recall. So, after one meeting, another manager took us to a cart track for a social function (kylemore-karting.com). I do not remember exact times, but, rougly, I lapped 53 seconds, the guy lapped 46. I thought I applied everything I learned from Ross Bentley’s book, but it was just hopeless.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Don’t think there is any allure outside of what it does best – serve as livery cabs b/c they are can take the beating while keeping the passenger in the rear from feeling the worst of uneven pavement.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Sounds good, Jack. Maybe you could start an on and off ramp Town Car school for neophyte racers. Sure you all wouldn’t be sliding around a bit on the sofa, though?

  • avatar
    msquare

    Room and ride quality? Why doesn’t Citroen come back and grab a slice of this? I have to go on other people’s accounts for this, but supposedly nothing rides like a hydropneumatic-suspension Citroen and the DS/CX/XM/C6 big boys are plenty roomy.

    What do you think, folks?

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    The factory stretch Equus is the kind of thing that Hyundai would have to bring here to give the car a niche. Otherwise there is nothing that special about these cars, and they are not priced low enough to compete on price alone.

    These cars are going to have a hard time competing against the Cadillac XTS, which was designed, at least as I see it, specifically for the livery market.

    The V8s are not an advantage with current gas prices, and RWD with an independent rear suspension is not going to offer the same kind of durability advantages as the Town Car’s live rear axle.


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