Rather than spin off the new premium Hyundai products into their own brand, necessitating the creation of new dealerships and huge marketing budgets, the Korean automaker is opting for the “showroom-within-a-showroom” approach. According to documents obtained by Ward’s, Hyundai Motor America (HMA) is looking to make the move soon, creating a luxury area within current dealerships where staff will display and sell new models like the Genesis Sedan and Genesis Coupe as well as the upcoming Equus flagship luxury sedan (pictured above).
Instead of costing dealerships millions of dollars, the new displays are only likely to run in the hundreds of thousands. This setup is quite different from what Japanese automakers like Toyota did when it launched the Lexus brand, opting instead to set up entirely separate dealerships.
“Similar to the attributes of Toyota-Scion buildings, this strategy will create physical and psychological separation in the Hyundai showroom environment,” writes HMA VP of national sales Dave Zuchowski in his memo.
Cars like the Genesis Coupe, in its higher end trim, compete with models like the Infiniti G37 and BMW 335i Coupe, while the Genesis Sedan stacks up against vehicles like the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Lexus GS. The new Equus, however, is aimed at top-tier models like the BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS. It is expected to cost slightly less than an LS and will go on sale this Fall.
Hyundai sees the Equus as another, but important, step on the road to becoming a legitimate luxury retailer. “We intend to use the launch of the new Equus to develop and further establish Hyundai as a legitimate force in the premium-luxury segments,” says Zuchowski.
See after the jump for AutGuide’s first look at the new 2011 Hyundai Equus: