Hyundai Motor America announced pricing today for the refreshed 2014 Hyundai Equus during a media event at its Ann Arbor, Michigan facility. The Equus comes in two model options – the Signature and the Ultimate. The Equus Signature has an MSRP with freight of $61,920, and the Equus Ultimate has an MSRP with freight of $68,920. Hyundai expects a sales breakdown of 70/30 between the Signature and the Ultimate.
Hyundai has positioned Equus as a competitor in the high end luxury segment, with vehicles like the Lexus LS460 and Mercedes S550 seen as the primary competitors, and the BMW 750i, Audi A8 and Cadillac XTS seen as secondary competitors. Hyundai’s strategy has emphasized packing the Equus with safety and technology features buyers are looking for in luxury vehicles and then making them standard in the Equus, while offering a price point that is roughly $30,000 less than comparably equipped target competitors. The emphasis on buyer experience has also helped Equus, with features like a dedicated Equus premium ownership champion at each dealership, at-home vehicle demonstrations branded under “Your Time, Your Place,” a valet service program with pickup and delivery on a flat bed truck with service loaner vehicle dropoff and a 3-year/36,000 mile no-cost maintenance.
John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, said he’s been very pleased with Equus sales since the launch of the vehicle, noting that many auto analysts were skeptical that Hyundai could even compete in this space. Krafcik pointed to the 2013 year-to-date market segment numbers for Equus of 5.5%, which is greater than Hyundai’s overall brand share. He also pointed out that Equus scored highest among the luxury brands in the 2013 J.D. Power Customer Service Index Study.
Like other Hyundai brands, Equus sales are being held back by Hyundai’s capacity issues. When asked whether Hyundai would be adding production capacity, Krafcik declined to comment, though it should be noted that in the past he was quick to squelch any notion of new production facilities. With the American car market rapidly bouncing back near pre-recession levels, Hyundai is likely reconsidering its ultra-cautious approach to production capacity in order to take advantage of increased demand. Krafcik noted that Hyundai’s overall market share in the US has contracted a bit to 4.7% in 2013 due to those production constraints. Demand is not the problem, as Hyundai has among the lowest inventory and days supply levels in the industry. Hyundai’s incentive spend remains among the lowest in the industry second only to Subaru. With these statistics, it appears that Hyundai can easily absorb more capacity, though auto executives have to look years ahead, and the volatility of the past seven years has to be taken into account.