Hyundai’s restyling itself for the luxury market at low prices

In a sharp contrast to the way they were able to break in to the American market, Hyundai is now hoping to appeal to customers via stylish vehicles and visual appeal. Hyundai’s first car in the U.S. was the 1986 Excel which sold for $4,995; now the Korean automaker is selling vehicles in a similar price range to Toyota and Honda, as they hope to build on solid performance last year.

Through November of 2009, Hyundai’s U.S. market share is 4.3%, up from 3% a year previous. This is still a far cry, however, from the 11% and 16.8% that is enjoyed by Honda and Toyota, respectively.

With the introduction of the Genesis, and the styling on both the Tucson and the all-new Sonata, Hyundai is starting to sport a decidedly German-influenced look of luxury.

The new Sonata represents the real test for Hyundai, as analysts predict the car may boost Hyundai’s sales by as much as 15% next year. The slow ascension that Hyundai is making is reminiscent to those of Honda and Toyota, as both now offer low-end luxury vehicles and performance cars.

Earlier this year, Hyundai received the highest rank among nonluxury brands in J.D. Power & Associates’ initial quality survey, ahead of Honda and Toyota.

-By: Stephen Calogera

Source: BusinessWeek