Hyundai considers luxury marque launch

Korean car company Hyundai Motor Company is considering launching a luxury marque as part of a move upmarket.

At the same time, the manufacturer has initiated a brand review of Hyundai and Kia, which it also owns. Hyundai is looking to differentiate the two marques, which compete in similar sectors with products marketed on value, to develop Hyundai as the more luxurious and Kia as youthful and sporty. The process has already started with the Kia brand in the UK, and last month an advertising campaign created by Mustoes was launched, targeting a youthful market.

The brand would sit above Hyundai and compete with German and Japanese luxury marques.

A Hyundai spokesman says: “It is something we are considering, but nothing is cast in stone.” Japanese manufacturers launched the first luxury marques in the late-Eighties, starting in the US, where Toyota’s Lexus is now the biggest-selling luxury car. Nissan’s premium marque Infiniti will be brought to Europe by 2008, and Honda says it has not ruled out establishing a separate sales channel in Europe for the Acura brand.

Lexus is considering launching a super luxury car to sit above its LS430 flagship, which retails for £57,000.

GM Daewoo, the Korean marque owned by General Motors, is to ditch the Daewoo brand in favour of Chevrolet at this autumn’s Paris Motor Show (MW March 18).

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