Hyundai Splitting Up the Family?
A history of luxury offshoots
The most notable (and successful) luxury offshoot started with Honda in the mid '80s. In 1986, the Japanese company started an experiment that would become the norm for several other manufacturers when it founded Acura, which served as the company’s American luxury division. Honda wanted to illustrate just how different its luxury cars were from the economical commuters sold under the parent company’s nameplate, and the plan worked. Acura became the poster child for affordable luxury in the U.S., and Nissan and Toyota copied the business model with Infiniti and Lexus, respectively.
Most recently, Toyota took a step in the opposite direction with the Scion brand. Instead of moving upmarket, the company decided to target a younger crowd and emphasize factory customization at the same time. Scion vehicles all follow a similar pattern of excellent standard equipment and a low price, and that combination has helped launch the brand to wide success.
The real difference between Hyundai’s plans and the standard industry tactic of divide and conquer is that the Korean carmaker won’t be unveiling a new brand under which to sell the Genesis sedan and Equus. Instead, buyers will simply see those models segregated from the rest of the pack in the showroom. Will that be enough to separate the two sedans in the mind of the public? If the rumors are true, we'll soon find out.
(Photo courtesy of Hyundai.)
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