224,000 Google Results Later, Hyundai CEO Closes The Door On Luxury Brand
If it weren’t for auto bloggers, the question of a separate Hyundai luxury brand would have been dead and buried long ago. But auto bloggers, with a desperate need to generate news out of thin air, won’t let the story die. 224,000 Google results later, and we finally have a definitive answer.
An interview with Automobile Magazine quotes Hyundai CEO John Krafcik as stating
“We actually thought about launching the Genesis that way, and putting them in their own showrooms, but we’re not going to do standalone premium franchises because costs are so high. If you multiply 200 dealerships by a cost of $10-20 million per dealer to make a new space, it comes out to something like $5000 or $6000 that would have to be added to the price of the car.”
A look at the Google results shows a series of back-and-forth headlines to the effect of “Hyundai mulls establishing premium luxury brand” and then a refutation shortly after with a headline stating something like “Hyundai denies luxury brand, separate Genesis showrooms”.
The sad thing is, there’s no confusion. All along, the idea has been an unequivocal non-starter. But the gods of pageviews dictate that even the flimsiest rumor has the potential for a story, and thus the rumor, like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, refuses to die. Hopefully now we can put it all to rest.
Mr. Hoenikker, A low FICO score does not automatically make one a "deadbeat". Many of the young adults I had working for my in the Navy had low FICO scores because they came from the families that drove that beat up Sonata. Daddy wasn't there to co-sign that loan. I counseled a fair number of them into Accents because they could payoff the car before the warranty was up and because maintenance was part of the deal. Plus the store would match the credit rates of the credit union. Not everyone can afford to drive an FJ60 from the start.
What many are missing from this interview is that Krafcik's dismissal of separate branding is highly conditional, and based on current market conditions. His quote even closes with the words "probably" not. In other words, never say never. Right now it doesn't make sense to make the investment, with a tough economy, insufficient brand image, etc. But in 3, 5 or 10 years, who knows? Smart business people might close the door, but they never lock it.
I always figured the eventual goal was to get the "legacy" Hyundai buyer (99 down, 99 a month for the next decade) to head down to the Kia dealer and have Hyundai move more upmarket. I don't think it is unrealistic...look at the brand's image compared to 10 years ago. Did anyone see these cars comparing favorable to Toyota's then? I wish they'd build a Kia-ized Genesis though...Could help fill the hole left by the Panther's departure. Besides everyone knows the really wealthy don't drive BMW's or Lexuses...They are driven in stretched Town Cars and Caddys or if they have really made it, a LWB Bentley or Rolls.
Talk down to entry level car buyers all you want. Whether they are just looking for basic transportation, have poor credit scores, can't afford a $40k ride or are simply buying their first car... To paraphrase Tyler Durden: "Look, the people you are bashing are the people you depend on. They cook your meals, haul your trash, connect your calls and drive your ambulances. They guard you while you sleep. Do not... mess with them."