Hyundai Motor goes all-out in US marketing on signs of recovery

By Kim Bo-gyung
  • Published : Dec 4, 2018 - 16:14
  • Updated : Dec 4, 2018 - 16:38

Encouraged by signs of improving sales in the US, South Korean automaker Hyundai is going trendy in marketing its next vehicles in the global market.

According to Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, they sold a combined 102,600 units in the US in November, up 1.1 percent on-year. Hyundai Motor’s sales last month in the US market came to 57,082 units, up 3 percent on-year, while Kia Motors saw a 1.8 percent increase at 45,101 units.

Increased sales in the US, largely due to the wider range of sport utility vehicles, came despite a 0.3 percent drop in the overall number of vehicles sold in the US auto market in November.
Hyundai Motor teamed with K-pop superstar BTS with promote Palisade SUV, naming the boyband as the global brand ambassador for the new vehicle. (Hyundai Motor)

In a bid to further expand its presence there next year, Hyundai world premiered the flagship premium three-row Palisade SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week. The company also appointed K-pop superstar group BTS as global brand ambassadors for the new model.

Although the company usually avoids using high-profile stars to promote a vehicle, Hyundai featured BTS in various digital content, which will be posted on Hyundai’s social media accounts as part of its global campaign.

A day before the world debut of the Palisade, Hyundai also held a fashion event titled “Style Nite” with famous celebrity stylist Ty Hunter and Korean star designer Park Youn-hee of GREEDILOUS, fusing fashion, music and automotive design at a private member’s club in West Hollywood.
Hyundai Motor Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun attends the world debut of Palisade SUV at the LA Auto Show last week. (Hyundai Motor)

“Today’s consumers tend to avoid traditional ways of advertising and marketing activities, it’s all about the experience. There is no better way to build an authentic connection with customers than through culture; music and fashion in particular,” said Cho Won-hong, Hyundai’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

Focusing its efforts on promoting the new SUV, Hyundai Motor Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun, who was widely expected to be present at the release of the G90 in Seoul, chose to attend the unveiling of the Palisade in LA.

“With Palisade, Hyundai Motor now has a SUV lineup that is preferred by US drivers, stemming from low oil prices. Hyundai’s SUV portfolio was made up of the Kona, Tucson and SantaFe, and that didn’t quite meet up to the shift in the demand for bigger cars there,” Ko Tae-bong, an analyst and head of Hi Investment & Securities’ research center told The Korea Herald.
Celebrity stylist Ty Hunter (first left) and Korean star designer Park Youn-hee of GREEDILOUS (fourth left) pose at a fashion event titled "Style Nite" Hyundai held a day before the unveiling of Palisade in LA last week. (Hyundai Motor)

In explaining the company’s all-out promotional efforts for Palisade, Ko added that Hyundai’s fourth-generation SantaFe SUV that hit US showrooms in August also slightly fell short of expectations of selling about 1,200 units a month, due to decreased incentives.

Meanwhile Kia’s sales hike in the US was led by demand for the popular Forte compact car that rose 17 percent and sold 9,756 units, the company said.

The combined market share of Hyundai and Kia stood at 7.5 percent last month there, up 0.9 percentage points from this January. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (