You Cannot Discount Luxury.


Tom Voelk, who writes the “Driven” column for The New York Times, reviewed the new Hyundai Genesis G80 today. The G80 is Hyundai’s latest venture into the luxury automobile market. (Branded Genesis, not Hyundai, it can only be purchased at Hyundai dealerships. So much for the veil.)  According to Mr.Voelk, it is designed with materials and performance that competitively positions it with BMW’s 5 Series and the Mercedes E-Class. The only thing things it does not offer is brand appeal.  And for that, it is pricing the G80 about $15,000 less than the aforementioned.

I write about brand all the time but rarely about price. Here’s a question for you marketers: Should Hyundai have used a discount for the G80 or not?  It’s a traditional marketing ploy — incentivize purchase to start to grow share.

I don’t recall if the first iteration of the Genesis (launched with much fanfare during the Super Bowl by Lebron a couple of years ago) was comparably priced with BMW and Mercedes, but this deep discount is at odds with the class of car. At least in my book.

So my answer to the question about discount is “no.” Even if it means a few years of slow growth.  A better idea would have been to offer a 1 year trade-in near list value to all buyers. That would have been bold. Price cannot be divorced from brand.  

You cannot discount luxury.