Hyundai and Kia are bucking the downward sales trend in Canada, thanks to an expanding utility-vehicle portfolio and different approaches to retailing that have sometimes ruffled dealer feathers.
For the South Korean brands — newer to the Canadian market than many competitors from the United States, Japan and Europe — it’s a sign that consumer perceptions of their vehicles are changing. The notion that buying a Kia or Hyundai vehicle means settling on quality is becoming less prominent among Canadian buyers, if growing sales and high marks for quality in consumer studies are any indication.
“I think it comes with the territory that when you’re a relatively new brand relative to the domestics and even the Japanese, you get started with a value proposition and then you try to move to a premium proposition over time,” Hyundai Canada CEO Don Romano said.
“To me, it’s natural. The shrinking [perception] gap will continue because it’s a function of us being a newer brand than our competition.
“There are still people out there that don’t pronounce Hyundai the proper way, so there’s still work to be done to get the numbers up. But it’s happening and heading in the right direction.”
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