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Archive for March 2010

Yes, We Do Need a New Word For It… But It Isn’t Hyundai

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Contrary to popular belief, “luxuries” are not luxuries, making “luxury” an anti-concept. The reason why wealthy people eat higher quality food and drive higher quality cars is because the added value the extra quality provides allows them to continue to perform at a higher level. “Luxuries” are necessities. Without these things – if an elite athlete were to subsist on fast food, or if a high-powered CEO had to listen to wind noise and feel every last bump in the road on his commute – they would not be who they are. Even things such as pleasure boats and expensive decorations serve a utilitarian purpose: they create an atmosphere for their owners which allows them to reach a state of mind necessary in order to perform the kind of thinking that they are uniquely qualified to perform.

Hyundai, however, is attempting to bypass all this. They are taking for granted the popular view that such high-quality things – things which are out of the reach of most – are unnecessary (“luxuries”) and thereby gaining the sympathy of most of the car-consuming public. The contradiction between the notion that such things are unnecessary – and thus that anyone who would consume them has a character flaw – and the message that you, the consumer, can also have such things if you just buy a Hyundai is evidently lost on them.

Furthermore, there is the quite uncomplex fact that despite the high-quality appearance of Hyundai’s cars, they are still, comparatively speaking, low quality products. A stylish body design and an attractive interior are no substitute for those things (likely of higher, genuine quality), combined with higher-performing components such as engines, electronics, and structural metals, that are to be found in true “luxury” cars.

If Hyundai wishes to capitalize on the public’s conviction that high-quality consumer are goods exist simply as a result of the avarice of the wealthy, they should do so openly and unapologetically: produce a lower quality product that clearly is a lower quality product in every respect – and more, have it perform just as well.

Oh, that’s right, it can’t be done. Not in automobiles, and not in human beings themselves.

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Written by commercialanalysis

March 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Durable Goods