Hyundai Takes Total Value Honors For First Time

Even for people who have watched the auto biz for a long time, the rise of Hyundai in the U.S. is still one of the more impressive feats -- from a company that in the '90's had little value to now, where it actually competes with luxury brands. Hyundai is like a prize fighter winning belts in every weight class. 

And for the first time the automaker has taken the top position in Strategic Vision Total Value Index just out this week.  Said Darrel Edwards, founder of the Tustin, Calif.-based firm, “Value is absolutely not cheap." The study of some 46,000 new car buyers examined mixes measures of the ownership experience with the customer's perception of the economics of the car. The latter is derived from two perspectives: total down payment including drive-off costs, warranty costs, special incentive programs, etc.; and what they believe the costs that emerge over time will be.

While Hyundai Motor Corp. hit the top for the first time in the firm's 18-year history, the domestics had the most vehicle category winners.  



Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision said that the key is engineering and emotion. "A vehicle [has to have] the right balance of styling, innovation, performance and environmental friendliness. Total Value captures this from a Value perspective and even becomes foretelling." He says that includes alternative powertrain vehicles, which will have to sell on incentives and subsidies if they don't have an emotional driver.

In the study, which looked at 2013 models purchased between September 2012 to March 2013, Chevrolet Spark, Cruze, Volt and Traverse; Ford's Fiesta Sedan, Fusion, Focus Hatchback, Taurus, Explorer and Lincoln Navigator, and others were on top of their categories; Toyota Prius c, Scion FR-S, FJ Cruiser and Tacoma also won. 

The firm said Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, Hyundai's Sonata, Genesis Coupe and Equus won, but that no brand had more Total Value winners than Chevrolet and Ford, each of which had five vehicles that had the highest total Total Value scores in their categories. The firm says the segment with the greatest potential, based on its total value scores, is standard pickups, "If manufacturers can merge the core values of durability, resale value and reliability with great motivating styling, the right standard equipment and “meaningful” Innovation, all with about 26 MPG or better."

Toyota's Tacoma pickup truck, which has always run behind the domestics, mostly because of lack of model variants in terms of parameters like truck-bed size actually took the top score in the standard pickup segment for Total Value. Some other surprises, given their relative share of the market included Volvo's XC70 taking the luxury multi-function car category, beating out vehicles like Audi Allroad and A4, Cadillac CTS and BMW's 3.

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