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.


The bold new look of the 2010 Jaguar XJ


As you can see from this photo, the 2010 Jaguar XJ is a gorgeous car. The company seems committed to bold, new designs, and even the official Jaguar web site is beautifully designed.

Reactions are coming in from the auto press. Car and Driver proclaims, “At last, a Jaguar XJ that doesn’t resemble the one that came before. And before. And before.”

Back in April, Jalopnik had this to say:

The current XJ, on sale since 42 AD, is a bloated attempt to pack modern luxury into an outdated design. If this shot is anything to go by, the 2010 Jaguar XJ isn’t. Hallelujah.

Jaguar released this image to coincide with the Shanghai Auto Show, but the car itself will actually be unveiled on the Queen’s soil on July 9th. Available with the pictured panoramic glass roof, a long or short wheelbase, A Europe-only V6 diesel or Jag’s usual selection of 5.0-liter V8s; the supercharged 2010 Jaguar XJR will produce 510 HP. Sales should start at the end of 2009.

The New York Times reported today on the unveiling of the new Jaguar today.

Jaguar has two emblems, and each is a version of its totemic animal. Their informal names, the Leaper and the Growler, suggest two aspects of the British company’s tradition. The Leaper is a long, lithe cat, usually seen as a hood ornament; it signifies feline grace. The Growler is a full-frontal cat face, its teeth bared aggressively; it represents raw power.

The Growler may be supplanting the Leaper at Jaguar, to judge from the company’s redesigned and radically different flagship sedan, the XJ, which was unveiled in London on Thursday.

The new XJ replaces a sedan — or saloon, as the British charmingly call it — whose basic shape had not changed since 1968. The old car’s proportions were like nothing else still on the road; it appeared as long and stately as its bloodline.

“The XJ completes the family,” Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director, said in a telephone interview before the unveiling. The big sedan carries out design themes that Mr. Callum introduced on the 2007 XK sports car and on the 2009 XF midrange sedan.

Jaguar also has a new owner, Tata Motors of India, which bought the marque, along with Land Rover, from Ford last year. Jaguar’s ill-fated venture into cheaper cars, with the X-Type line based on the Ford Mondeo, is history. And in recent years Jaguar has vastly improved its ratings in consumer quality and satisfaction surveys by J. D. Power & Associates and others.

The new sedan has a Growler, not a Leaper, on the front. “Aggressive” is the word Mr. Callum kept using to describe the design. “We want Jaguars to be noticed again,” he said.

Kudos to Tata Motors and Mr. Callum on an elegant but powerful design worthy of this great brand.