Hyundai was one of the first automakers to offer pickup and delivery of luxury customers' service vehicles. Now Hyundai is building on that feature by making more valet drivers available to its dealerships for its fledgling Genesis luxury brand.
"We are going to provide what I'm going to call drivers on demand," said Erwin Raphael, general manager of Genesis.
Raphael said Genesis is hiring a third-party service, which he would not identify, to provide uniformed drivers. Dealers will pay an undisclosed setup fee to join the network that hires and schedules the drivers, and a fixed price of $1,250 a month no matter how many trips the drivers make.
Genesis plans to support the cost to dealerships that provide their own drivers for pickup and delivery, Raphael added. Aside from the monthly fee, he said, "we cover the cost of valet, whether it's dealer staff or this third party." He declined to estimate Hyundai's budget for the program.
Hyundai Genesis dealerships are preparing to upgrade customer benefits that come with new Genesis G80 and G90 models. Aside from service-visit pickup and delivery and free loaner cars, dealers also will provide no-charge scheduled maintenance of these vehicles for three years.
Hyundai says that, beginning with the new models, it will start to separate the Genesis and Hyundai brands, although they initially will share showrooms. The G80 is scheduled to reach U.S. dealerships this month. The G90, which replaces the Hyundai Equus, is expected to arrive in showrooms soon thereafter, the company said.
Dealers like the customer-service upgrades, said Abe Razick, co-owner of Hyundai of Yuma in Yuma, Ariz., and a member of the automaker's dealer council. He conceded that the perks will cost dealerships money, along with Hyundai, but said the expense will enhance customer satisfaction.
Genesis "is making a good decision by launching the brand with valet service as a way of reaching out to customers," Razick said. "This is what the customers want."
The Equus comes with similar perks, which Hyundai calls "At Your Service." Dealerships must provide drivers at their own expense for the Equus valet service, which Raphael said roughly half of eligible customers use.
About half of Hyundai's 837 dealers sell the Equus. Raphael said those stores form the nucleus of the new Genesis retail network.