It appears that Hyundai wants to challenge the luxury segment with a new premium crossover or and SUV that will be a rival for the Lexus RX350 as well as for the Audi Q5 or Cadillac SRX. According to Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski, the Korean manufacturer studied a premium people mover but he also said that it is currently not in the plan and it is not eliminated.
He added that such a vehicle remains under consideration but admitted that one of the main issues is that the company needs a secondary distribution channel for premium products.
As you may know already, Japanese carmakers such as Nissan and Toyota created their luxury divisions in order to sell premium models, but Hyundai considers that one brand and one showroom is enough and they can sell the entry-level Accent as well as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class rival, the Equus.
Zuchowski suggested that a possible premium crossover SUV could share the platform with the bigger seven-passenger Santa Fe. Apparently, Hyundai believes that a premium vehicle would be on the same lot as the Santa Fe.
Still, Hyundai Motor America CEO admits that it is quite difficult to sell a premium model next to the Santa Fe for example. Toyota has no problem in selling the Highlander and the Lexus RX350 as the two vehicles are offered in different showrooms.
The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe costs $30,775 including the $875 destination charge, while the Lexus RX starts at $40,795. Zuchowski concluded that it is challenging for Hyundai to sell a premium SUV but the vehicle remains under consideration.