Hyundai Becomes a KBB Most-Considered Brand
By Chris Haak
Hyundai’s rise to one of the world’s largest – and fastest-growing – automakers over the past several years has been nothing short of incredible to watch. If you’re reading this site, you’re probably already aware of how the Korean upstart only built its first car in 1968, and only entered the US market in 1986 with the Excel, just 24 years ago. Yet, thanks to a long warranty, a focus for the past several years on quality, and finally original, attractive designs, Hyundai has elbowed its way into the hearts of consumers.
This consumer consideration is proven not only by the fact that Hyundai was one of just two automakers to see sales increases during the auto industry meltdown of 2009 (the other was Subaru), but also that Kelley Blue Book has anointed the company as one of its five most-considered brands. Hyundai is now number five on the list, knocking Nissan off the top five altogether.
The full list, according to KBB, is:
- Ford (29%)
- Toyota (22%)
- Chevrolet (21%)
- Honda (20%)
- Hyundai (13%)
The percentages listed above are the overall percent of consumers who responded to survey questions about which vehicles in a particular segment they would consider when they bought their next new vehicle.
Though Toyota is still high on the list, just one year ago, it had 30 percent of consumers considering the brand for purchase. Blame the fallout from Toyota’s recall/sudden unintended acceleration crisis for that one. The fall for Nissan is probably due to the relative age of the automaker’s lineup; there are some new Nissans in the pipeline (such as the Quest minivan for 2011), but the Altima, Sentra, Versa, Pathfinder, Titan, and Frontier are all at least four or five model years old. Only the Maxima and Murano were all-new for 2009, and those two are now entering their third model year in their current form.
For a real-life illustration of the change in the market, a friend drives a third-generation Nissan Altima (the Altima is currently on its fourth generation) and would like to buy a new car. She headed to the Nissan dealer to check out a new Altima, but found herself drawn to the 2011 Hyundai Sonata. She ended up ordering a 2011 Sonata Limited in white. We can tell you right now that she didn’t make a bad choice; we just spent a week in exactly that car, and it’s quite possibly the new benchmark in the midsize sedan segment. Bar none, it’s the best-looking car in its class.
With a product onslaught coming – headed by the Sonata, but to be followed soon afterward by the all-new Elantra, not to mention several Kias such as the Sportage and Optima, look for Hyundai’s momentum to continue in this market and in the hearts and minds of buyers.