Hyundai Motor will unveil a new luxury sedan later this month mainly to lure female drivers, whose presence has been growing recently in the nation’s soaring import car market.
According to industry sources on Wednesday, the new car, whose project name is AG, will make its world premiere during the Busan Motor Show, which kicks off on May 30 in the southern port city.
The car is expected to be positioned between Hyundai’s two flagship midsize sedans the Grandeur and Genesis. It is said to have the same platform as the Grandeur but with greater engine capacity.
“The official launch is planned for October, but depending on market reaction the date could be moved up,” said a Hyundai official on condition of anonymity.
Equipped with coupe-like styling, the sources said, the AG will target female drivers, especially the wives of company executives, another source said.
“In Korea, most executive officials receive Korea-brand sedans, while their wives have more room for choice and prefer German premium brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz,” the source said, declining to be named.
“Hyundai aims to lure back high-end female customers with more segmented offerings despite some concerns that the new launch could affect the recent sales momentum of the revamped Genesis.”
The new launch comes at a time when Hyundai and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors are striving to defend their home turf from German carmakers and other foreign brands.
In recent years, the Korean duo has seen their combined market shares fall slowly but steadily. Their market shares, which once hovered at about 80 percent, dropped to 74.2 percent in 2012 and 71.1 percent in 2013.
During this time, import brand cars have come to claim more than 10 percent of the total sales here.
As part of a similar strategy, Kia is also known to be working on a new sedan between the K7 and K9. Tentatively named the “K8,” the model is expected to have a sportier look but the same platform as the Genesis.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)