Hyundai not planning standalone premium brand, vice chairman says image

Hyundai Motor has no immediate plans to launch a standalone luxury brand to improve its image, the company’s vice chairman said.

The automaker has brushed off speculation that such a move was being considered. „For the time being”, the South Korean automaker does not plan to launch a rival to Toyota’s Lexus, Kim Yong-Hwan told Reuters on Thursday.

According to a previous statement from another Hyundai executive quoted by Reuters, the company considered launching a separate premium brand, but gave up the plan due to high costs, including those related to new dealerships. Hyundai and its sister company Kia Motors have done well during the global financial crisis, with combined sales ranking fifth in the global ranking.

Last month, Hyundai has appointed former BMW designer Christopher Chapman as chief designer of its U.S. design center, with the new recruit to be responsible for new vehicle and concept design for Hyundai. “The recruitment has nothing to do with a separate premium brand,” Kim told Reuters. He added the automaker has no plan to build a new plant in the U.S.

Kia Motors enjoyed enormous sales growth and brand enhancement after it hired former Audi/VW designer Peter Shreyer to bring design improvements to its lineup.