Hyundai has been steadily pushing itself up-market with premium offerings at much lower prices than the competition. Cars like the Genesis Sedan and Equus have really helped the brand’s image, despite slow sales. Not until recently could one actually utter the brand’s name in the same breath as Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Audi without some chuckling. What’s more is that this has all trickled down to Hyundai’s sister company, Kia, as well.
In a recent conversation with Edmunds.com, Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski let the world know that Hyundai is not finished with the luxury realm. It is actually looking into tackling the luxury crossover SUV realm with a competitor for the Lexus RX350 based on the existing Santa Fe.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t an official announcement of the luxury family hauler, but rather just letting America know that the brand is looking into diving into this hot-selling realm. There are, however, some issues that Hyundai needs to address before it can move forward with this idea.
The main issue is a sales avenue. Though the RX is directly related to and shares many of its bits with the Toyota Highlander, Lexus can charge a premium because the RX is not in Toyota dealers and easily compared to its Highlander platform mate. Hyundai does not have a separate dealer network for its premium brands, so the premium SUV would sit within a stone’s throw of its platform mate, making it an even tougher sale for even the best sales person.
If this premium SUV actually makes it to production — I suspect it will — this will really help buyers take the brand much more seriously than ever before. Plus, hopping into a hot market like this can really help fill the coffers with the cash needed to expand its line of premium vehicles even further.