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TORRANCE, Calif. — In a push to promote the brand’s premium luxury sedan, Sam Lim, owner of Puente Hills Hyundai and South Bay Hyundai, keeps an all-black Equus stretch parked in the front of his dealerships. LCT caught sight of the luxury limo at the South Bay dealership, which is around the corner from Bobit Business Media, LCT’s parent company.
Lim was not available for comment on the vehicle, but an assistant sales manager explained that the idea behind the vehicle was to catch the attention of potential clients and provide current clients with what he called the “Equus experience.”
“When clients come to one of the dealerships, we’ll give them a ride in [the Equus limo] to see what it’s like,” the manager said.
The vehicle was stretched 85 inches by LA Custom Coach Inc. out of Fontana, Calif., and has been converted into an 8-pax with strobe lights, minibar and premium sound system.
South Bay and Puente Hills Hyundai customers get exclusive transportation in the rare Equus limousine.
The Hyundai Equus and Hyundai Genesis have long been the chauffeured vehicles of choice in South Korea. The South Korean Foreign Ministry recently announced its decision to buy a bulletproof Equus limousine to serve visiting state leaders and high-ranking officials ahead of the 2012 Seoul nuclear security summit. The Equus was the first Korean bulletproof model selected as an official vehicle for the G20 summit last year and is also being used by the Presidential Security Service.
A recent LeaseTrader.com poll showed that customers believed Hyundai’s vehicle technology is the most capable of meeting the proposed CAFE standards ahead of time.
Since this vehicle belonged to the dealership owner and not presented by Hyundai corporate, it’s still unknown how serious the automaker is about breaking into the U.S. livery market. However, with the Equus sporting amenities designed specifically for the chauffeured client and a competitive base-model price of mid-$50,000 and premium edition (known as the Ultimate trim) price of around $64,000, it’s hard to deny that livery is on Hyundai’s mind.
Hyundai will be showcasing the Equus and Genesis premium sedans at the Greater California Livery Association’s Annual Expo on Sept. 20.
Here are some details about the (non-stretched) 2011 Hyundai Equus: