Last year, LCT had the chance to follow-up with John George, fleet and marketing manager for ABC Hyundai in Las Vegas, regarding the Hyundai Equus stretch limousine the dealership had commissioned.
Now, ABC Hyundai is partnering up with 24/7 Limousine to continue the quest to produce the next best limousine: the Hyundai Genesis.
Tony Clark, owner of 24/7 Limousine, spent a lot of time looking at the limousine market, and noticed that since the Lincoln Town Car was no longer being built, there wasn’t a car that had since taken over the market.
“We’ve tried different types of cars, and haven’t found one that really holds up,” Clark said. “I really looked for a rear wheel drive that was built well and had a great service history, and came across the Genesis model.” Clark also was looking for a vehicle that would appeal to today’s buyers; the Genesis brand is to Hyundai what Lexus is to Toyota, and exudes an air of class and luxury.
“The market and the industry have changed,” he said. “I believe now it’s about style, comfort, design, and for the limousine owner it’s about dependability and how the car will hold up and how much maintenance cost you have to put into it,” he said. While the Equus has drawn much interest, its price point was a bit high for Clark — he wanted to start with one that would appeal to the average rental market for owners. The base price of the non-stretched 5L Genesis is $53,000, while the 3.8L is about $39,000. This made it exactly what Clark was looking for.
After studying the car, he found the Genesis and the Equus have a structure design and stout frame similar to those of the Mercedes-Benz brand. “The V8 model of the Genesis comes with an upgraded braking and cooling system, and many other items that will help develop it into a heavier, more dependable vehicle,” Clark said. He and George wanted a body style appealing to the eye as well.
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The late 2015 model Genesis will be stretched 120 in. and seat 10 passengers. While Clark and George are discussing warranty details with Hyundai, the auto manufacturer is interested in pursuing the limousine industry. “I think they are waiting to see the final outcome to be able to take that next step,” he said.
The Hyundai Equus stretch is making a name for itself at Turnberry Place, which has purchased three.
The question that remains is whether or not there will be demand for a Hyundai limousine. When the Equus limousine was commissioned, it was one of only two in the world. However, ABC Hyundai eventually ended up selling three more to Turnberry Place, a high-rise complex in Las Vegas. “[The Genesis] isn’t going to be a one-off specialty vehicle,” Clark said. “This is going to be the mass production vehicle in my mind. I don’t have a big customer base that says it has to be a Cadillac or a Lincoln anymore.”
In addition, Hyundai introduced an extended warranty program for fleets that covered vehicles for up to 150,000 miles in October 2015, George said. He believes that this demonstrates the company’s desire to offer more incentives to the fleet market.
“I think this could be the car that replaces the Lincoln market for stretch limousines,” Clark said. His rationale behind this makes sense in regards to two aspects: the vehicle’s price point and its resilience.
“In the case of Hyundai’s exceptional warranty and background with service and commitment to excellence, I believe this car will be low maintenance and have great longevity.”