Hyundai has an Equus that has been making the media rounds, prompting a spate of articles. The central question being raised, "Are people really ready for a $60,000 Hyundai?"
It is a reasonable question. To be fair, Hyundai is being very modest in their sales expectations. One vehicle per month from each of the dealerships approved to sell the Equss will make them quite happy. As long as the economy stays in the doldrums, there are probably enough luxury buyers looking for a fully featured vehicle at a good price to meet this target.
Another criticism is that Hyundai has decided not to copy Toyota (with Lexus), Nissan (with Infiniti) or Honda (with Acura) and set up a new retail channel. The dig is that luxury buyers want a luxury experience.
To me, these critics are missing the elephant in the room. Car shopping -- as an experience -- is slipping further and further behind the consumer expectations curve for ALL buyers -- not just luxury. And this is not about the facilities. Many dealerships have great facilities, but the experience still fails.
As I noted in my comments about the proposed new EPA stickers, obsessing about facilities is an Eighties play. And it goes beyond facilities. Manufacturers still hold dealers to task based on surveys that measure a process that no longer exists. They spend hundreds of millions on training to support a process that no longer exists. And, yes, they insist on facilities to support a process that no longer exists.
In fact, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that one reason why dealers are so slow to the opportunities in today's marketplace is that manufacturers (unknowingly) won't let them.
So it is just possible that the Hyundai Equus will actually do better because they did NOT go the separate channel route. After all, smart buyers know that someone has to be paying for the multi-million dollar facility.