Las Vegas is all about glamour, gambling, debauchery and excess. During a brief trip to Vegas last week for a meeting of Canadian Hyundai dealers, I spent my time stuffed into a dark, cavernous conference room, instead of sipping seven litres of daquiri from a giant Eiffel Tower cup. But sitting shoulder to shoulder with other Hyundai dealers was not time wasted. I avoided a terrible hangover and gambling losses and I learned some important things about Hyundai's direction and focus.
1. Hyundai is a student of history.
The company has not forgotten its past. Back in the 1980's, Hyundai produced some popular, low-priced cars. But poor quality ensured that few Canadians would ever buy a second Hyundai. Hyundai has also watched other car makers grow rapidly, open more factories quickly and lose their focus on quality. Hyundai sales are increasing globally and there is pressure to increase production to maintain its impressive growth. Manufacturers are typically obsessed with sales figures and push to post year-over-year gains. However, Hyundai is taking a different approach. It will work on making its existing plants more efficient. But it is not rushing to add more factories. Instead, it is focusing on quality control and ensuring that Hyundais continue to be well made. It is choosing quality over quantity. As a dealer, I am focused on sales, of course. But I was very pleased to hear that Hyundai is not going to risk its recent success by cranking out as many vehicles as possible only to sacrifice quality. It is important to manage the company's growth and build excellent vehicles that will keep drivers loyal to the brand.
2. Hyundai is obsessed with product development.
Hyundai offered a sneak preview of new models that will arrive at Castlegar Hyundai over the next year. There are certain manufacturers that are grabbing market share by setting inflated sticker prices and then offering ridiculous rebates. There are manufacturers that are posting big sales increases by selling vehicles to rental car companies and other fleet customers. Hyundai is building its competitive edge byrefining and improving its vehicles, frequently. There are some great vehicles to come that will entice more people to consider Hyundai.
3. Hyundai believes today's consumer deserves competitive pricing and exceptional value.
This year, Hyundai is even more focused on structuring its pricing so that drivers can enjoy more upgraded features and higher trim levels. At Hyundai you will find a mid- or high-level model for the price of base models at other car makers. Again, Hyundai will not be coming out with massive rebates. Instead, it will offer products with features that drivers might expect for the price.
Unfortunately, I did not live up to the city's reputation for excessive indulgence. But I did come away encouraged by Hyundai's direction and its take on what consumers are looking for.