Cue Appropriate Gangnam Style Joke: Hyundai Equus Hermes Edition Moves Brand Upscale
At the Seoul Motor Show going on concurrently with the New York Auto Show, Hyundai is introducing its refreshed 2014 Hyundai Equus full-size flagship luxury sedan to its home market. While we saw it last week, there's a version we're not likely to see on our shores for some time, if ever. A concept only at this point, the automaker has unveiled the 2014 Hyundai Equus Hermes Edition. For those of you who don't want to Wiki what Hermes is--other than the Greek god of transitions between life and the afterlife--it's a women's fashion designer known for its expensive leather purses. That's a good place to start when it comes to the Equus, upgrading its interior to the level of a bespoke Bentley or Rolls-Royce. Laugh if you want, but the Hyundai Equus is among the best-selling flagship luxury cars in the U.S., and it's having a record sales year in its Korean home market thus far. A partnership with a luxury brand like Hermes can cost an automaker a boat load, and it's not always apparent why a brand that makes industrial trucks and buses for the Korean market wants to be associated with a company that makes purses that are priced from $9,000 to $150,000. When Hyundai made a Prada special edition concept of the Genesis sedan several years back in Korea, it apparently lost the brand plenty of money. After all, Hyundai never sold one officially. But placing it in a tower in the middle of Seoul drew thousands of visitors, and it helped bolster Hyundai's image as a premium make. As we've learned through YouTube, Gangnam is a pretty high-end area in Seoul, and there are worse places to place your luxury goods. Hyundai is insistent on bringing its image upmarket. While it can still sell $15,000 Accents in the same showroom as $66,000 Equuses (Equine?), the automaker makes a clear differentiation between its "Genesis" rear-wheel-drive premium cars, of which the Equus is a part, and the rest of its lineup. If ever it does go into production, do you think a bespoke interior in the Equus, raising its price point from its under $70,000 level to one closer to the $100,000 S-Class would be a smooth move? Or would it be too much too soon? Source: WardsAuto
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