Hyundai considering a premium crossover or SUV to take on Lexus

Article by Christian A., on August 21, 2014

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.

Lexus has unveiled its new, upgraded Lexus RX range to the global public at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, sporting new exterior elements and a more aggressive front end. Its interior has been enhanced thanks to wider selection of color schemes and new trim finishes. The new RX also comes with a new steering wheel, a second-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) and a revised instrument binnacle.

The Lexus Hybrid Drive system equipped on Lexus’ European flagship – the RX 450h – now features a Sport mode, in addition to the Normal, Eco and EV (electric only) drive modes. Drivers could now activate the EV mode through a separate switch.

Lexus has created a new version of the RX that is expected to deliver more dynamic and sportier attributes, thereby appealing to a new set of customers. This version – the new RX F SPORT – offers bespoke exterior and interior design as well as driving dynamics technology, and is expected to account for around 30 percent of future sales in the range,

Lexus basically created the Luxury SUV segment when it introduced the original RX in 1998, which delivers a combination of the attributes of an SUV (practicality, flexibility and durability) and a luxury sedan (performance, handling and refinement). The RX was the first SUV to be powered by a full hybrid powertrain (2005) and three generations after, this luxurious SUV still plays the role of being a key model for Lexus.

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Topics: hyundai, crossover, suv, lexus

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