Should Hyundai Start a Separate Luxury Brand?

The Koreans are considering a premium 3-Series fighter. Should it rebadge its luxury cars and launch a new image?

Korea’s premiere automaker, Hyundai, was met with quite a few raised eyebrows when it first introduced its luxury models - the Equus and Genesis - in America. The company known for reliable econoboxes was suddenly taking on the likes of the Lexus, Infinity and even German automakers such as BMW and Audi. Now, Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski says the company may introduce a third premium nameplate to the market “within a couple of years”.

Speaking to Automotive News, Zuchowski declined to answer whether this would be the rumored "RK" 3-series fighter. A car like that would be sized and priced below the Genesis, an area more familiar to the company from its past Sonata experience. But even with improved quality and rave reviews for some of its new models, is Hyundai really ready to take on the compact premium competition from German and Japanese automakers? Or perhaps, should it re-brand its luxury division to differentiate it from the carmaker's economy car image?

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