Geum Yi

Hyundai bets big on G90 for US luxury car market

November 17, 2015
Hyundai Motors U.S. headquarters in Garden Grove, Calif. (Korea Times file)

Hyundai Motors U.S. headquarters in Garden Grove, Calif. (Korea Times file)

By Lee Hyo-sik

LOS ANGELES — Hyundai Motor, which recently unveiled its next-generation premium luxury sedan, the EQ900 (globally named the G90), is set to make another leap forward in the United States after celebrating the 30th anniversary of its presence here.

After selling more than 10 million cars — largely compact sedans and sports utility vehicles — over the past 30 years, it is now seeking to capitalize on the rapidly-growing premium vehicle segment in the world’s largest automobile market.

“Our brand perception among U.S. consumers has significantly improved over the years. How motorists view Hyundai Motor now is totally different from five years ago,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “To further improve our image, we will focus more on the premium luxury auto segment.”

Zuchowski said the carmaker has sold more than 10 million vehicles in the United States since 1985. Hyundai Motor America, which employs about 600 workers across the United States, built and moved to a new headquarters in Garden Grove, California, in December 2013.

There are now 833 dealers marketing Hyundai Motor vehicles in the country, compared to 50 in 1985.

“Our U.S. sales increased for the sixth consecutive year from 2009 to 2014. We have been renewing our sales record year after year,” Zuchowski said. “We sold 638,196 cars in 11 models, including the Elantra, Sonata and Genesis, in the first 10 months of 2015, up 5 percent from the previous year. This year will set a new record again for the seventh straight time.”

In addition to All New Tucson and New Elantra vehicles, Hyundai is betting high on its new luxury G90 sedan in the United States.

“The G90, which was unveiled early this month in Korea, will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January next year,” the CEO said. “The previous generation Genesis models have been a huge success in the United States over the years and we have no doubt that the G90 will become an even bigger hit.”

The U.S. is the world’s largest high-priced, luxury vehicle market, accounting for more than 20 percent of global premium car sales, according to the company.

“We decided to roll out the G90 in the U.S. as early as possible because it is the world’s largest premium automobile market,” he said. “The vehicle has to compete with BMW 7 series, Mercedes Benz’s S-class and Lexus LS series vehicles. We are confident that the G90 will exceed our expectations because it boasts of state-of-the-art design, greater safety and balanced diving performance.”

The G90′s body is tougher and lighter through the use of 51.7 percent advanced high strength steel, more than triple the previous 16.3 percent of its predecessor.

The most conspicuous feature is its highway driving assist system, whereby the car can maintain a fixed distance from the vehicle in front of it without the driver doing anything. It only works when the driver holds the steering wheel. When the driver takes their hands off for a certain time, the function is disabled.

The vehicle also has a lane guidance system and an advanced smart cruise control system.

The G90 has Italian leather covers on its seats and steering wheel, while hand crafted real wood trim and an analogue clock add to its premium image. It also has Germany’s campaign for healthier backs association certified seats, jointly developed with Seoul National University.