The focal point of the automaker’s market spread remains however the North American continent, where Hyundai looks to consolidate its strong results. The automaker in question managed to increase its United States market share this year (through November) to 4.3 percent, as compared to only 3 percent in 2008.
Although this increase in sales came accompanied by a weakening purchasing power, the company is confident the revised marketing programs and improved quality helped achieve this results. The Seoul-based company is aware of the fact that its brand image cannot compete with that of Toyota or Honda in the U.S. market, but believes affordable prices and appealing car designs will compensate that and help Hyundai establish itself as a viable option for the American consumer.
“The basic idea is a car that looks like a premium car, but not at a premium price,” Phil Zak, Hyundai’s head of U.S. design, said in an interview. “We’re looking to pull people out of Camrys and Accords and give them something different.”
“The establishment of brand equity and identity that can differentiate it from Japanese makers is a key task ahead for Hyundai,” said Chung Sung Yop, a Seoul-based analyst at Daiwa Securities Group Inc. for the Bloomberg news agency.
“It’s their time to shine,” said Tom Matano, director of industrial design at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, and Mazda Motor Corp.’s former general manager of design. “When the whole lineup reaches a certain quality level, brand value increases, brand trust goes up, and then volume goes up.”
So it seems Sonata’s new look along with the inspired Genesis and Genesis Coupe are the way to go for South Korean car maker, the only question that remains to be answered is if they’ll keep the price down and quality up.