When Hyundai first introduced the Genesis, people chuckled at a Korean automaker offering a rear-drive luxury car. Now established as a modestly successful model, Hyundai has ventured further into the luxury market with the full-sized Equus, designed to rival cars like the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS.
With the possibility that it could be a total flop and with even Hyundai execs and PR reps cautioning that it is in no way designed to be anywhere near a volume model, the new Hyundai flagship is off to a strong start. In its first month on sale, competing in a market packed with incentive-filled vehicles so dealers can meet year-end quotas, a total of 196 Equus models were purchased.
That might not sound like a lot, but the Equus actually out-sold 13 other cars in the market, including the much-hyped Nissan Leaf, of which just 19 were delivered in December. Equus sales also topped those of four exclusive, low volume brands: Rolls-Royce (39), Lamborghini (26), Ferrari (151) and Maserati (180).
The Equus topped the Acura RL (141 units), numerous sports cars including the Porsche Boxster and Audi TT, as well as a few other vehicles you’d expect it wouldn’t, like the Mercedes SL, SLK and CL.
The Equus is hardly a sound business case on its own, but it is helping to change Hyundai’s brand image. The Equus “shot right out of the gate” said Hyundai Motor America PR Rep Dan Bedore commenting that among niche market cars it’s a hit. “Dealers are clamoring for cars,” he says.
GALLERY: Hyundai Equus
See the full list after the jump:
DECEMBER 2010 SALES
Equus: 196 Leaf: 19 Acura RL: 141 Rolls Royce: 39 Audi TT: 64 M-B SLK: 114 M-B SL: 173 M-B CL: 139 M-B SLS: 48 Cayman: 112 Boxster: 137 BMW 6: 70 Jaguar XK: 133 Nissan GTR: 38 Maserati: 180 Ferrari: 151 Lamborghini: 26 Mazda RX8: 95