LOS ANGELES--Hyundai will use its new $50,000-plus Equus sedan to help persuade dealers to upgrade their stores and to encourage more of them to become exclusive to the brand.
Only exclusive dealerships will be eligible to sell the rear-wheel-drive luxury car, says Dave Zuchowski, sales chief at Hyundai Motor America. And dealers must sell the Equus in a separate, upgraded portion of the showroom.
"We didn't think a luxury channel was the way to go," Zuchowski says. "From an investment standpoint, we like the concept of a showroom within a showroom."
The Equus will go on sale in the fall as Hyundai's new top-of-the-line model. The brand's most expensive vehicle now is the Genesis sedan, with a price ranging from $33,800 to $40,300, including shipping.
Zuchowski says the Equus will help Hyundai on several fronts. It will add another halo vehicle to the lineup and will lead dealers who want to sell the Equus to upgrade their showrooms. And, he says, the car may prompt some of the 40 percent of Hyundai's 780 dealerships that are not standalones to become exclusives. Dealers will get additional sales and service training.
"So it's broader than a premium-car strategy," Zuchowski says. "We think it's time to upgrade without a large financial burden."
The extent and cost of the improvements will depend on the showroom. The upgrades will vary in cost and must be done at the dealer's expense. Only store interiors will be affected. The special sales and service training starts in the second quarter and will include concierge and valet services.
The upgraded sections of stores eventually will include the Genesis sedan and coupe and any future rwd or specialty vehicle.
"The dealers may not care about Equus, but they do care about Genesis," says Scott Fink, chairman of Hyundai's dealer council. "So the fact that they may not get Genesis and those future products will get their attention."
About 300 dealerships are expected to get the Equus. Zuchowski projects sales of 1,000 to 2,000 units annually. Each qualifying dealership will get at least one Equus, with future allocations based on stores' Genesis sales.
(Source: Automotive News)