John Krafcik, The CEO of Hyundai North America has been busy making his press rounds and one of the more interesting things he’s had to talk about is the new design language they are using for the upcoming new Hyundai models that we should expect to see coming out within the next couple of years. Along these design changes will be a fluidic precision design for the Hyundai Sonata amongst some of the other popular Hyundai versions.
“You’ll see even more maturity with the new Santa Fe, and future cars will feature something we’re internally calling Fluidic Precision, where the forms might be a little less extroverted,” Krafcik said. “You’ll see that with the next Sonata, the design of which has just been frozen.”
Krafcik also talked about if Hyundai was planning on building a premium brand such as Honda did with Acura or Nissan did with Infiniti.
“We actually thought about launching the Genesis that way, and putting them in their own showrooms, but we’re not going to do standalone premium franchises because costs are so high. If you multiply 200 dealerships by a cost of $10-20 million per dealer to make a new space, it comes out to something like $5000 or $6000 that would have to be added to the price of the car. As far as our Equus ‘experience,’ our customers love it. If Equus were its own brand the satisfaction ratings with customer service would be number two, just behind Cadillac. But would we do it? Probably not.”
Finally and of course what everyone is curious about is wondering about was what he thinks about the Hyundai Elantra fuel economy class action lawsuit. In particular we are wondering if Hyundai will change over to combined fuel ratings to avoid future suits. His answer didn’t make a lot of sense to us, but maybe you can make heads or tails out of it:
“The lawsuit, as we see it, focuses on the fact that they thought we didn’t fully disclose that 40 mpg was highway fuel economy. If you look at the way Ford marketed the Fiesta and Focus, Chevy marketed the Cruze Eco, Dodge is advertising its Dart — we’re all doing the same thing. We screen all of our advertisements to meet FTC regulations, and we feel we met the standard. As far as combined numbers go, if you have a car with class-leading fuel economy, more product sales are arguably better for the environment, national fuel consumption, et cetera. And if you’re out there showing the okay number while the other guy is showing the excellent numbers, you’re going to lose sales, and it’s going to be detrimental to the environment, dependence on foreign oil, et cetera. I just don’t think it’s socially responsible to advertise that way. It’s a bold move, but I’m not sure it’s the right move.”
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