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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


IS there any reason they can't? Rumours from those who ruminate say Hyundai will unveil a luxury sedan at the New York show this year. The car will not be a replacement for the Azera, but slot into the lineup above the recently introduced flagship to become Hyundai's true high-end product.

Dozens of questions spring immediately to mind, but chiefest among the queries is simply: Will people buy a Hyundai that competes with Lexus and the Japanese and Audi and the Germans at their
price level? We've seen Hyundai equip their cars like a luxury vehicle, offer the horsepower of a luxury vehicle, but not price them like a luxury vehicle.

I doubt the looks will be Hyundai-challenging circa 1990's, nor will the appearance knock your socks off. Keep it simple and handsome when you enter a new market sector.Hyundai's perceived quality isn't Lexus-like, but the rate of improvement they've shown in every car they introduce is unmatched by any other company.

The horses must be present and accounted for under the hood. Driven wheels will have to be the two rear-most or all four. Pricing will have to undercut not only similarly sized opponents (likely 7-series, S-class, and A8) but also competitors a few belt sizes down the line.

Perceptions have changed toward Hyundai and Kia. They are chomping at the bit for rapid advancement. The marketing department can do whatever they like. The warrant can be for the life of the vehicle. It can be fast, handle on rails, and massage my neck, but if it ain't ahead of the curve in some way or form, sales will not follow.

First things first. What does it look like? We'll know soon, and very soon.

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