2012 Hyundai Azera Is The Latest Cannibal
They are called cannibals despite the fact that they don't eat their own...
They don't eat and only ingest liquids. These vehicles look like automobiles, and they make life difficult for hot backup goaltenders in the NHL. They appear to be designed and built to challenge big brothers, high-profile teammates, or respected compatriots.
Hyundai is the latest to offer this model. The 2012 Hyundai Azera is now more expensive than ever, but it's also more attractive, more equipped, and much more powerful. It's priced at $32,000 and is ready to compete with cars such as the Buick LaCrosse (Chevrolet 300), Nissan Maxima (Ford Taurus), and the Genesis V6. The Genesis? It's a Hyundai just like the Azera and the starting price is only $2200 less than the Azera.
Although Genesis and Azera are two different cars, one has front-wheel drive while the other uses rear-wheel drive. They are both upscale, large cars with leather interiors, and not comparable to the mid-sized Camry competitors. Hyundai clearly believes that Genesis is better than the Camry. It has 333 horsepower and a more sports-oriented rear-wheel-drive system. They also steer towards comfort with Azera. The Genesis comes standard with many features that are not available on the more expensive Genesis. This shows that they have two different clienteles.
Problem is that even if this were true, they end up in the same showroom. This begs the question: Why not research, design, and develop one car? This would save you time, money, and energy. It's not necessary to send two autotransporters across the country with one car each.
It's possible to argue that Hyundai hasn’t made many mistakes in recent years. However, the most recent failure of Hyundai was with its previous-generation Azera. From the 2006 peak of 26,833, sales have fallen each year.
Hyundai is now reminding us that Azera's entire cross-section is only competing for 600,000 sales each year. This is less than 5% in the U.S. new-vehicle market. John Krafcik (Hyundai's U.S. boss) says that half of these sales are for fleets which is not the most desirable form of sale. According to Dave Zuchowski (Hyundai's chief sales officer), Hyundai hopes to capture 15,000 of these sales during what will, for the Azera be an abbreviated 2012
This battle between Azera and Genesis is not the only one worth watching. There's a constant war being waged between subcompacts and their larger-but-not-much-more-costly compact siblings. A full-size truck is a lot more expensive than the smaller, but still very popular, small trucks. Sometimes the difference can be negligible when you consider discounts. The price of high-end sports cars is often higher than the price of similar sports cars manufactured by the same automaker.
Take a look at specific examples. The 135i BMW costs $600 more than its larger, but less powerful, 328i counterpart. The company also introduced the X6 in BMW showrooms a few years back. It is a smaller, more sporty, and less attractive X5 variant. However, in the 50i version, it is $6000 cheaper than the larger, more spacious X5. BMW will soon launch the 6-Series Gran Coupe, a 6-Series that is both a 6-Series and a 7-Series. The CLS-Class was introduced by Mercedes-Benz, BMW's German competitor. Although it's not a coupe, Mercedes-Benz will insist that it is. It is, however, a great car that can keep 600 to 700 buyers away from the E Class sedan every month. Audi did the same thing with the A7/A6 conundrum.
If we continue to look at German automakers, the Porsche Cayman R is objectively a better car than the basic 911, and it's also $15,800 less. The Cayman R was released at the exact moment Porsche had finished with its 911 and started building another. The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is a colorful example of Chevrolet’s entry-level muscle car. It costs more than $4000 than the Corvette's basic version.
A look at American small cars reveals that Chevrolet’s subcompact Sonic is a little more expensive than Chevrolet’s compact Cruze LT.
It could be indecisiveness or confusion caused by rapid growth. The Hyundai Azera and Genesis internal battles may be a shining example of showroom fights. But every automaker has its problems. However, there are still issues.