Hyundai and Lexus’ opposing marketing strategies

Isaac Mostovicz writes that focusing on service is better than creating controversy...

In recent years in the US, Hyundai has been working to shed its image as a budget automaker by focusing on quality, styling and performance. They seem to have found some success, as they are now in a position where they can launch a new luxury automobile, the Equus, that could cost as much as $60,000. Hyundai is going out of its way to offer services that few other luxury automakers offer: they are driving the car to peoples’ homes to give them the chance to test drive the car at their convenience, and they are also offering a valet service, where owners having trouble will be visited by a Hyundai service technician who will fix the problem or take the car in for repairs, leaving a loaner vehicle behind. This sort of service sets Hyundai apart and may work to further distinguish the brand from its budget beginnings.

While this Hyundai scheme focuses on individual attention, Lexus recently announced a marketing strategy bound to create collective controversy. They are hosting a series of debates about climate change featuring non-scientist climate change deniers. It’s unclear whether Lexus is supporting and endorsing these unscientific views by bringing in these dubious ‘experts’, or drawing attention to them to show that there’s more to the argument than these deniers say. In either case, Lexus would be better served by hosting debates with experts from both sides of the argument.

Lexus’s attempts to go for controversy may backfire, especially as they have pushing green features in their cars for a long time now. Rather than potentially alienating some of their customers while creating a large controversy, they would be better served by doing what Hyundai is doing, offering the kind of service that people will only respond to well. Hyundai is creating good word of mouth that will enhance its brand’s reputation, something Lexus has been known for doing in the past — but this climate change controversy may cause more harm than good.

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