It's not surprising that at his employee town hall meeting on Tuesday Mulally mentioned Hyundai (as well as some other competitors) when a Ford worker asked him about threats to Ford's success. Mulally knows Hyundai is more than just the Sonata and Elantra.
Across town at GM, you can bet Joel Ewanick is clueing in the folks at General Motors about Hyundai. Ewanick did a masterful job with Hyundai's marketing. So masterful, GM hired him away to fix a GM marketing plan that has meandered aimlessly for years.
The reason Hyundai is coming on strong and raking in big profits is because it's showing the rare combination of offering high quality, well styled, moderately priced cars and SUVs people want to buy. Sounds simple, but few in the auto world can do that. Ford has achieved that with its current line-up, and Toyota used that formula in the 80's and 90's to fuel explosive growth. The interesting part of the Hyundai story is whether it can parlay this run. Yes, higher end cars are on the way and Hyundai thinks it can eventually be as successful with luxury cars as it is in the mass market.
I remember when people in Detroit used to chuckle Hyundai. These days, few are laughing about an auto company showing no signs of slowing down.
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