2011 Hyundai Equus tops U.S. quality, satisfaction ratings
If we were to play a little car, word association game, then I’m sure that when I said “luxury car”, the average person would respond with Audi or Mercedes Benz; you would most definitely expect to hear the word Hyundai escape anyone’s lips. But, with the release of the 2011 Equus, the South Korean automaker has not only put themselve in the discussion with those luxury giants, it looks like it may have surpassed them.
Hyundai’s entry into the luxury car market started back in 2008 with the release of the aptly named Genesis. Despite a heavy dose of skepticism from the car buying community, the Hyundai Genesis was released to positive reviews and healthy sales, particularly in the U.S. market, proving that, if provided with a quality product, buyers could very easily get over the stigma of driving a $40.000 Hyundai.
Buoyed by the success of their first luxury car, the Koreans took it up a notch, and decided to go after the big boys of luxury, and with the release of the 2011 Equus, they had their sights set squarely on the Audi A8 and the Mercedes S-Class.
That confidence and self-belief in their vehicle paid off when APEAL (Automotive Performance, Layout and Layout) ranked them first in customer satisfaction, a good distance ahead of their competitors. The Equus scored over 900 points in the study based on customer rating, 90 days after purchase.
That victory has translated into rather gaudy sales numbers with the Equus snagging a 5 percent share of the luxury market. It shouldn’t really come as that much of a surprise given the customer loyalty that the brand has always been associated with.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Audi and MB will get back to the drawing board and try to emulate some or all of the decisions Hyundai made with this release, not so much in the design, but more in the way they went about marketing the Equus.
Rather than overloading the buyer with option choices, Hyundai simply chose to release 2 different models, the Signature and Ultimate, each with their own set of options, taking away the standard upsell nonsense that comes in the purchase of most other luxury vehicles.
At the end of the day, Hyundai didn’t move away from their stance of providing quality cars at affordable prices, instead taking that same mindset up to the next class, and allowing drivers to get their hands on a luxury car that has all the style and sophistication of the A8 and S-Class, but at a large fraction of the price.