QOTD: Better Off Mainstream?
Speaking at a preview event for the next-generation Hyundai Genesis, Hyundai CEO John Krafcik defended his company’s decision to forgo establishing a seperate luxury channel for cars like the Genesis and Equus. While the rationale put forth usually revolves around the exorbitantly expensive pricetag for launching a new brand and an all-new sales network, Krafcik put it from another angle.
Speaking to Automotive News, Krafcik remarked
“I do believe that when the three premium Japanese brands were launched, it was during a certain time in the industry when there was a certain optimism about where the industry was headed,” he said.
“I really believe that if those three companies had a chance to really think about their path, they might have taken the path that we chose.”
The epoch that saw the launch of Infiniti, Acura and Lexus was the peak of Japan’s “bubble”, when Japanese automakers seemed to have limitless budgets for new vehicle R&D, marketing (think of those wacky home-market ads with Hollywood star endorsements) and sales channels (whether it was new luxury brands in America or multiple sales channels in Japan).
At the time, the rationale was that a Nissan President or Toyota Aristo was suitable for sale with a more plebian badge in Japan, but American consumers would not be willing to shell out premium car money for a luxury sedan sold alongside a Corolla or a Civic, no matter how good it was.
Nearly three decades on and Acura is largely confined to America and China, while Infiniti seems to be stuck in the mud as far as becoming a global luxury brand. Even Lexus, which has become a household name on par with BMW or Mercedes-Benz, hasn’t made any kind of dent in Europe. Do you agree with Krafcik’s assessment? Let us know in the comments.
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- Chuck Norton And guys are having wide spread issues with the 10 speed transmission with the HP numbers out of the factory......
- Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
- Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
- Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!
- Ribbedroof Have one in the shop for minor front collision repairs right now,I've seen more of these in the comments than in the 30 years I've been in collision repair.
How about just dropping the "y" from the name so it's a bit less redolent of mama-sans*, fish heads and fried pooch? *Used by US military community for any East Asian woman regardless of nationality.
What it he supposed to say? That the Hyundai brand isn't strong enought to sell a $65k car? I assume that this kind of honesty would go over about as well in Korea as Axel Mees's famous comment about the Phaeton that got him fired from his job as head of audi of america. Newsflash - sometimes OEM spokesmen aren't being 100% honest when speaking to the media.