Friday, January 06, 2006

Hyundai Luxury Sedan Launch Delayed to 2007

Several days ago I mentioned the Korea big car market. This announcement by Hyundai Motor notes the car manufacturers delay, but eventual entry into that market.

Korea Herald.

Hyundai Motor Co. has delayed the planned launch its new luxury sedan until the first half of next year.[2007]

The project, dubbed BH, was originally scheduled to debut at end of this year but apparently requires more time, a Hyundai official said.

The large sedan with an engine displacement of between 3.8 and 4.5 liters is mainly aimed export markets to compete against Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus ES330 and the BMW 5-series. The Korean carmaker is still mulling whether it should have its own brand.

If we give it a separate brand name, we would have to set up an exclusive dealership network as well, said the company spokesman.

It would be a high risk move for Hyundai, which has little experience in large car exports, to establish a separate dealer network.

Therefore, the BH is likely to make its debut under the Hyundai badge and then move to a separate marque after introduction of more luxury models.

Unlike Hyundai's Equus and Grandeur, the BH will be rear wheel drive to give a smoother ride for back seat passengers.

To add to its premium car lineup, Hyundai Motor plans to develop a luxury sport-utility vehicle code-named EN to replace the Terracan. The company is also considering a new type of multi-purpose vehicle for launch in 2007 or 2008.

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