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Genesis Marketing Plan Heats Up

Premium player: Hyundai is ready to push its $60,000 Genesis sedan hard in Australia with a marketing plan ready to back it up.

Hyundai has a job ahead of it to sell the Genesis – and it’s ready for the challenge

Hyundai logo7 Nov 2014

By TIM ROBSON

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) understands the job it has ahead of it to convince the local car-buying public that a $60,000-plus luxury Hyundai sedan is a rational purchase, and it’s pulling out every trick in the book to make its case.

From a 75,000km free servicing deal and guaranteed buy-back values for leasees to direct competitor comparison events in major metropolitan centres, Hyundai will leave no stone unturned to expose potential buyers to its halo product.

While its expectations are modest, Hyundai expects to sell “anywhere up to 1000” Genesis models a year, according to chief operating officer John Elsworth.

It also plans to lure away sales from established brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW not only on price and value, but on service as well.

Speaking with GoAuto at the launch of the Genesis, Mr Elsworth said that “we believe people are ready for a bit of a change at this end of the market, and we think this is the car to do it.

“We truly understand it's not easy entering into any new segment, and entering against the likes of Mercedes and BMW, which truly are in this country very, very established and well-respected brands, makes it even harder.”

With prices ranging from $60,000 to $82,000, plus on-road costs, the second-generation rear-wheel-drive Genesis – codenamed DH – will become the most expensive vehicle ever sold by Hyundai Australia, a gong previously held by the slow-selling Grandeur. The next most expensive in the current line-up is the top-spec Sante Fe Highlander SUV at $51,990, plus on-road costs.

Size-for-size, the Genesis will compete against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW’s 5-Series and the Audi A6. When price is factored in, it’s the C-Class and 3-Series that fit the bill, along with up-spec versions of Skoda’s Superb, Chrysler’s 300, the Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50. Holden’s Calais V and Caprice and the Ford G6E Turbo also figure in the mix.

In the short term it’s going straight after the larger Euros, but Hyundai has created pop-up retail displays in both its Sydney headquarters and in Melbourne that will house not only a Genesis, but a Mercedes E400 and a BMW 535i, which allows potential customers to compare all three vehicles at once.

Hyundai Australia marketing manager Oliver Mann told GoAuto that the Korean car-maker's local arm believes it can offer a better customer experience than some other brands.

“Our discussions with [prospective Genesis purchasers] have led us to think that there is an element, probably a significant element, that is not entirely happy with the experience that they get [with other brands],” he said.

“That's in part due to the up-sell that takes place once they set foot on the showroom floor. Likewise, there is an element of up-sell and expense which was simply not anticipated.”

Hyundai will offer Genesis buyers a 75,000km/five-year warranty, as well as a company-first 75,000km free servicing schedule. It includes all scheduled maintenance items including labour, parts and sundries such as oil and workshop supplies.

The offer has also been extended to commercial customers, including limousine owner/drivers a potentially lucrative source of sales for the car.

Mr Mann told GoAuto that the company sees nothing wrong in making a play for the limo market.

“Our nature of doing business is to be pretty open and inclusive and if the car represents a good purchase for them, we’re delighted.

“From my perspective, when you put so much effort into trying to encourage people into the car. We've got no hangups or snobbery about the cars being used for luxury transport. There are prestige car brands who do exactly that with their own fleet and I don't see any different distinction between them, honestly.”

Mr Elsworth agreed, telling GoAuto that Sydney limo drivers had heard that a Genesis sedan was on site at its Macquarie Park headquarters.

“To be honest with you, it was just a steady procession of 300s, Caprices and other exotic cars. The drivers wanted to see, touch, feel, get a perception of size, talk to us about some of the features in the ownership package and one of the key things they will ask you is 'Do they get the five-year unlimited warranty?' And when you tell them yes, their eyes bulge. Because other brands don't do that.”

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