Updated August. 25, 2014 05:07
Hyundai Motor has named its new premium sedan "Aslan," which will be launched in the second half of this year.
Korea`s largest automaker announced Sunday that it confirmed the name of AG (project name) as such. AG was unveiled to the world at the Busan International Motor Show in May this year. Aslan means a "lion" in Turkish. Hyundai explained, Equipped with luxurious and prestigious exteriors, comfortable driving and the best of class quietness, Aslan has a similar image of a lion, which maintains composure looking down the savanna but turns into a beast when hunting a prey.
Aslan is a front-wheel drive model that is between "Grandeur" and "Genesis" in size. It is expected to be the same as Grandeur in height or width, but the length is expected to be longer than Grandeur by 5 centimeters. Reportedly, Aslan will be running on 3.0L or 3.3L gasoline engine, which comes in the Grandeurs high-end models. According to Hyundai, Hyundais design identity, Fluidic sculpture (design based on water-flowing lines) 2.0 was applied to the exteriors. Aslan succeeded the Hyundai family look, which makes it look similar to other recently launched cars such as "LF Sonata" or "New Genesis." The price is likely to be formed between 40 million won and 45 million won.
This is Hyundais the first launch of a 100 percent new vehicle, not a face-lift, in three years after launch of European style sedan "i40" in 2011. The intention seems clear. Hyundai wants to wage a full frontal attack against the imported cars, of which domestic market share is expected to exceed 15 percent within this year.
Based on the consumer research, Hyundai found out that many customers who had driven Grandeur chose imported cars over Genesis or Equus. Hyundai aims to establish the new vehicle Aslan as a mid-class model between Grandeur and Genesis and tries to regain the domestic customers who want to buy imported cars. Recently, there is a trend among other major imported premium carmakers, such as BMW, to break down the car segments from small-sized 1 series to luxury sedan 7 series. Such market trend seems to affect Hyundais new vehicle launch.
Some market analysts say that Aslan may produce "self-erosion" phenomenon by reducing the sales volume of Grandeur, Hyundais flagship model. Instead of choosing Aslan over imported cars, the existing customers of Grandeur may move to Aslan. Hyundai also concerned about this and started providing various selections of Grandeur, such as diesel and hybrid models in addition to the existing gasoline model. This is a proactive countermeasure to minimize the secession of Grandeur customers to Aslan.
In the past, Hyundai launched a new vehicle targeting an intermediate segment between popular cars. But these challenges didnt reap fruitful results. Marsha, a mid-class sedan between Sonata and Grandeur, was the representative case. Customers turned their back on Marsha, as the car failed to distinguish itself between Sonata, in the middle of mid and large-sized sedan segment, and Grandeur, an entry model of luxurious premium segment.
Professor Kim Pil-soo of the Automotive Engineering at Daelim University said, Aslans launch will inevitably shrink the sales of Grandeur. If there is no obvious differentiation in product quality, new vehicles success will be determined by how the marketing can differentiate Aslan and Grandeur.