Monday, March 1, 2010

CAR MARKET :Will Toyota's PR Crisis Give Hyundai an Edge in the Auto Market?

I recall when Hyundai first entered the auto market here in the U.S. back in 1986. Both of my parents went out and purchased one due to its affordability (where are the days when you could buy a brand new car for $5K?) For years, Hyundai wasn't necessarily known for quality, not in the way Toyota has been branded at least, but the auto maker quickly became profitable making many in the automotive industry take notice and giving it staying power.
Previously, I would've only considered Kia to be their closest competitor (until they bought them out), yet with Toyota's recent PR Crisis over their massive recall and Hyundai ramping up production and an advertising blitz, Hyundai is beginning to emerge as real competition to the auto giant. Has Toyota's recall finally given Hyundai the opportunity to get an edge up on the brand? From a PR standpoint, my opinion is yes.
For years we've been watching the transformation and re-branding of Hyundai. From their investment in design and safety for their vehicles to the introduction of their 10-year/100,000-mile warranty (which caused other auto makers to follow suit), Hyundai has been ambitious in garnering positive PR.
What's really gotten my attention has been Hyundai's ability to remain affordable yet bring a piece of luxury to an audience where a Lexus or BMW may be out of their price range. The new look of the Sonata and the debut of the Hyundai Equus has those in the market for a new car (or deciding to trade in their Toyota's) giving Hyundai a second look. This should cause concern for Toyota (and Honda), even despite Hyundai's recent recall of their new Sonata.
What do you think? Will 2010 be the year we'll see Hyundai on Edmund's Top 10 Best-Selling list? Better yet, will they outsell Toyota?

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