EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 2, 2013

Hyundai Azera makes luxury more common


Hyundai Motor America – the U.S. arm of Korea-based Hyundai Motor Co. – reports that nearly two-thirds of Azera buyers are new to the brand. They’re what the auto industry calls “conquests,” or buyers defecting from another car maker. Conquest sales are highly prized, because they indicate that a company is growing.

In Salem, Palmer sees the same pattern.

“We’re taking a lot of Toyotas and Hondas, and even Mercedes and BMWs as trade-ins,” he said.

Palmer recounted a recent sale to a lawyer who traded an Infiniti. “He told me that, bang for the buck, he couldn’t beat the Azera. He said it has a very nice ride. It has all the power. It’s better on gas mileage. And it has all the features.”

In another case, a couple with children visited Salem Ford Hyundai for service on a Ford Expedition, a big SUV with loads of space for family hauling. The couple happened to be sizing up sedans, and the wife was set on buying a Mercedes, Palmer said.

“I let them take an Azera out for the day. She loved the car and went and bought it,” he said.

Palmer summarized Hyundai’s approach to the car market with the motto “Defy, design and delight.”

“They’re defying the industry, they’re designing good cars, and they’re delighting a lot of people,” he stated. With its luxury cars, said Palmer, Hyundai is showing new thinking and exploring new possibilities.

It’s impossible to argue with that. It’s also impossible to predict where Hyundai’s bold and unique approach to mixed-luxury sales will bring it. But I think that a company so willing to think freshly and freely, to depart from the norm, take risks and innovate is headed toward big rewards.

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