Hyundai announces pricing for 2014 Equus

2014 Hyundai Equus

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.

Get ready for holiday commercials for luxury cars

The political ads are over, so now we can be bombarded with ads for luxury cars during the holiday season.

Car shoppers will see so-called “loyalty” and “conquest” discounts in this year’s holiday sales campaigns. These deals essentially reward consumers for shopping the competition, even if they intend to stay with the brand they already drive. For example, a customer who owns a Mercedes could get an additional $750 discount for agreeing to buy or lease another. If the same owner went to a BMW showroom, he or she would likely be offered a similar amount to switch teams.

About 20% of shoppers on Edmunds.com who looked at a Mercedes C-Class during the last week of October also looked at a BMW 3 Series, according to data from the site. Among those considering the 3-series, 10% looked at a C-Class, and 10% looked at the Audi A4.

Dealers say discounts specifically tied to retaining existing customers have an impact. “It gives us something else to discuss, to look at a customer and let them know they are special to us,” says Robert Camastro, owner of Mercedes of Danbury, Ct.

The loyalty and conquest discounts vary by model and brand. Some Audi dealers are advertising discounts of up to $2,500 if you are trading in a rival luxury brand.

Lincoln, a brand of Ford Motor Co., is offering no-money-down lease deals on its MKX sport utility. Cadillac’s deals vary, but the brand is offering no-money-down, $399-a-month leases on its just-launched ATS model, which is designed to compete with the 3 series and Mercedes C Class.

It’s interesting to see Lincoln get in on the action, as their ad looks very similar to ads for the other luxury brands, but they need to do something.

Vorsteiner GTRS3 Widebody M3 Unveiled

Bold, Fresh, Cocky or BadAss, they all fit this one here! The Vorsteiner wide body GTRS3 M3 is all that and a bag of chips!

The carbon fiber experts at Vorsteiner have out-done themselves, with their latest creation the widebody GTRS3 M3. Designed for the E92 M3, the kit includes a new carbon fiber bumper with a removable splitter, as well as carbon fiber front and rear fenders, side skirts and a new carbon rear bumper with a racing-style diffuser. A carbon fiber hood is also available, as is a carbon trunk and a stainless steel exhaust system.

Read the full article here.

2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG declares checkmate

Luxury, Power and Style the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E63 has it all. When your working to reach the top this is how you reward yourself. Enjoy the ride!

From Autoblog.com:

Look up the word “superlative” in the dictionary and you won’t see a picture of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG next to it. This is for one of two possible reasons. The first being that dictionaries are obsolete the moment the glue on the binding dries – maybe even before. The second possible explanation is that the E63 is just not that good. Here’s a hint: The second explanation is very, very wrong. Find out why after the jump.

Read the full article here.

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