Hyundai stays marketing course

Movin’ on up
Hyundai is attracting better educated, more affluent buyers:

Average age:
45

College education: 72%

Median household income: $51,391

NEW YORK — Hyundai Motor America has no intention of buying market share.

With sales up 36 percent so far this year, Hyundai plans to keep on rolling by increasing ad spending by 10 percent and avoid throwing money after costly 0 percent financing programs.

“Two years ago, we were running somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,500 in incentive costs (per vehicle),” said David Weber, Hyundai’s vice president of marketing.

“What we decided to do is try to get our products repriced, repackaged, put more value into the cars and get off the rebate. We’re down over $1,000 (per vehicle).

“We have 0 percent on the XG, but at this point in time, I don’t see matching what everyone else is doing,” Weber said, indicating he is not extending the program to other vehicles.

“We’re well positioned, given the economy, to offer a strong value proposition.”

The demographics of Hyundai buyers have improved since 1998.

Hyundai buyers are a bit older — 45 now compared with 42 in 1998. Seventy-two percent of its buyers are college educated compared with 47 percent three years ago, and the median household income is $51,391 compared with $39,981.

Weber will spend about $140 million to reach his audience — 80 percent in TV and 20 percent in print — a strategy that marketing analyst Eric Noble said should work.

“Hyundai will be able to compete in this economic downturn as long as it keeps a handle on its MSRPs,” said Noble, president of CarLab Consultants in Santa Ana, Calif.

“Hyundai and Kia should be the last ones that we should see discounting in a downturn because they are already discount brands.”

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