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.


Ford, Toyota & Honda score well in J.D. Power rankings

It’s that time of year for the J.D. Power ranking and it looks like Ford, Toyota and Honda scored pretty well. It takes years to change perceptions but when a potential buyer reads the J.D. Power reports it doesn’t take long to register points.


DETROIT — Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and American Honda Motor Co. claimed the biggest victories among mainstream automakers in the latest reliability scorecard from J.D. Power and Associates.

All three of Ford’s domestic brands finished among the top eight in Power’s annual study of how well vehicles hold up after three years of ownership. Toyota-Lexus and Honda-Acura also placed in the top 10 of the Vehicle Dependability Study, released today.Porsche, which sells fewer cars in a year than industry leaders sell in a week, topped 2009 co-winners Buick and Jaguar to rank No. 1.

Read the full article here.

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J.D. Power study releases a few surprises

Find out which brands have the most customer-friendly dealerships and which brands bombed in this J.D. Power study. Each year they churn out what is known as the Customer Service Index. We were somewhat surprised with a few of the findings.


In extolling the wonders of new cars, we sometimes forget about the importance of the role the dealership can play after the sale. Getting a quick service appointment, having the work done right and on time, with as little stress and as few surprises as possible — all are the hallmarks of a dealer worth keeping.

Every year, J.D. Power and Associates surveys owners about how happy they are with their dealership, and the results become the Customer Service Index. And in the 2010 survey, which polled 114,000 owners between October and December of last year, some bad news for dealers was sandwiched into the usual reports for owners: The big drop in new-car sales almost surely means fewer service visits to dealers, and service operations are even more the lifeblood of such operations when sales go bad. J.D. Power projects that parts-and-service revenues at dealers will fall 20 percent, bottoming out in 2013.

Read the full article here.

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