SAN FRANCISCO -- Hyundai Motor America will play up its $1.1 billion Alabama factory in a brand advertising campaign that launches the redesigned Sonata sedan.
Beginning this month, a TV commercial will introduce the tag line: "A Hyundai like you've never seen before." Other product ads scheduled to run this year will include the slogan.
The commercial shows aerial and internal footage of the plant, as well as several shots of assembly line workers. It concludes with a montage of silver Hyundai vehicles in motion.
Bob Cosmai, Hyundai Motor America CEO, says company executives in America and South Korea debated how much weight to put behind the commercial.
"A lot of people don't know how big Hyundai is," Cosmai said at a press event here last month. "Here in the U.S., they see us as a smaller player.
"We want to show them that Hyundai is a brand on the move and successful enough that we can invest in a plant here," he says.
The commercial will account for about 10 percent of Hyundai's total 2005 advertising budget, says John Krafcik, Hyundai vice president of corporate strategic planning.
Hyundai spent $372.6 million last year to advertise the brand in U.S. media, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Shortly after the brand commercial airs, Hyundai will launch product-specific ads for the 2006 Sonata. About 60 percent of Hyundai's total ad budget will go toward the Sonata launch, Krafcik says.
|Who knows Hyundai?|
|U.S. consumers who plan to buy a vehicle in the next 18 months were asked whether they were aware of various brands and whether they would consider buying those brands. Figures are in percentages.|
Executives declined to comment on how Hyundai will market the Sonata.
Cosmai says Sonata ads "will not be as Asian" in mood as previous commercials.
Hyundai has been impressed by Lexus' advertising style, especially with how Toyota's luxury brand shows product attributes in its commercials. There could be some imitation in Hyundai's spots, Cosmai says.
The Sonata ads will close with a price.
Other Hyundai vehicles will not get as much support at the Sonata. This fall, Hyundai plans to launch the redesigned Accent subcompact and the replacement for the XG350 large sedan, the Azera.
Next year, Hyundai is scheduled to launch a much larger Santa Fe SUV, as well as the redesigned Elantra and Hyundai's first minivan.
"We have to look at alternative ways to go after the market," Cosmai says. "We can't spend $100 million to introduce every new product. We'll spend heavy money on Sonata, but we probably will not spend as much on Accent and Azera.
"We'll be doing more with the Internet, direct mail and promotions," he says. "We'll look at nontraditional methods, but they must build on the brand."
You may e-mail Mark Rechtin at [email protected]