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Hyundai's Luxury Dance

Tuesday, 20 Mar 2007 | 8:38 AM ET
Hyundai
Hyundai

For years, Hyundai's followed the Toyota and Honda blueprints as it grew its business in North America. Now, it's copying the Lexus and Acura blueprints by launching it's own luxury model.

Its called the BH. An 8 cylinder luxury car the Korean car company plans to sell in Korea in the first half of next year, and here in the U.S. In the second half of '08. Hyundai hasn't given a target price range for the BH, but my gut says Hyundai will look to price it in the rang of $45,000 to $55,000.

Hyundai needs BH and other luxury cars as it tries to boost its profit margins and extend its reach in the U.S. While it's been part of Hyundai's game plane for years to roll out a luxury car, the company wasn't in a position to do it. That's the benefit of improving it's quality and reputation.

For years Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia made low priced cars that were of questionable quality. But over the last five years, Hyundai's done a tremendous job improving its quality. Check out the Sonata, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Will the BH take sales away from Lexus, Acura or Infiniti? not right away. After all, those line-ups have established themselves as consistently delivering style, quality, and luxury. BH is just the start for Hyundai. Don't underestimate the Korean automaker.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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