Hyundai Motor America Inc. will increase its advertising budget by 40 percent in 2006.
But Hyundai executives, speaking after the make meeting, would not give a dollar figure for ad spending.
"We have additional launches for new product coming up this year," said Keith Duckworth, deputy president of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.
Extra advertising also will aim to strengthen brand image, he said.
Hyundai will launch redesigned versions of the Santa Fe crossover and Elantra sedan, plus a new Entourage minivan by year end.
The increase comes on top of an advertising spending record set in 2005 for the growing Korean brand, executives said.
According to TNS Media Intelligence, Hyundai spent $232 million in the first half of 2005, the most recent period for which data are available. That was a 30.3 percent increase over the first half of 2004.
Hyundai spent $373 million on advertising in full year 2004, TNS said. The majority of the brand's spending has been for spot and network TV.
Hyundai dealers said the make meeting generally was positive. But they did complain that the redesigned Accent subcompact is overpriced.
"The four-door is too expensive for the segment," said Scott Fink, chairman of the Hyundai dealer council. "We're trying to put some pressure on Hyundai to either reprice or heavily incentivize the car."
The four-door Accent debuted late last year. Prices start at $12,995, including shipping. A popularly equipped Accent with an automatic transmission and air conditioning starts at $14,645.
Hyundai executives said they would study the price concern. They plan to have an answer at the next dealer council meeting in March.
A new three-door Accent goes on sale this spring at a base price of $11,455, including shipping. That price is more in line with competition, said Fink, owner of Hyundai of Newport Richey in Newport Richey, Fla.
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