Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hyundai to Bring 100 Equus Sedans to U.S. Dealerships this Summer

Hyundai to Bring 100 Equus Sedans to U.S. Dealerships this Summer

It looks like New York Auto show goers must have been quite impressed with Hyundai's new Equus luxury sedan as the Korean firm is planning to ship 100 examples of its Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival to U.S. dealerships this summer. This could explain the recent sighting of an Equus with California distributor licenses plates that was spotted just outside Los Angeles. According to a report from USA Today, the idea behind Hyundai's decision is to gauge what American consumers think about the company's flagship model that was recently launched in Korea.

Hyundai believes that if it the Equus were to be successful in the States, it would hugely benefit the image of the company. "It would decisively shift public opinion in our favor. It would be the capstone," told the newspaper Oles Gadacz, a Hyundai spokesperson at the company's Research & Development complex outside Seoul.

The rear-wheel-drive Equus sits atop the Genesis in Hyundai's range and is offered with a 290HP 3.8-liter V6 and a 366HP 4.6-liter V8 while a long-wheel-base version with an even more powerful 5.0-liter V8 engine is also in the works.

The Genesis, which was Hyundai's first serious attempt in the luxury sedan segment, has sold just over 6,000 examples this year through April, according to figures released by Autodata. That's not a lot of cars if you consider that the Korean sedan is priced very competitively at $32k for the base V6 model to about $40k for fully packed V8 model. In comparison, the smaller BMW 3-Series Sedan starts from $33,600 for the entry-level 3.0-liter 328i while the rivaling 5-Series from $45,800 for the 528i.

Makes you wonder how many buyers in the U.S. would actually go well above $50k, maybe even up to the $75k range as the USA Today speculates, for a Hyundai-badged model.

In its home market, the Equus is priced from 63.7 million won (around US$51,200) for the entry level, V6-powered VS380 model and tops out at 105 million won (about US$85,000) for the V8-powered VS460 Prestige.

Via: USA Today

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