Badge snobbery, who? Hyundai’s Ioniq electric cars are drawing interest from luxury car customers in overseas markets, according to one executive.
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric car is drawing more interest than ever to Hyundai’s products – including from traditional buyers of luxury cars like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
Launched last year, the Ioniq 5 is the first in Hyundai’s new line of dedicated Ioniq electric vehicles (EVs) – bringing with it a unique retro look that stands out from every other new car on the road.
Speaking at the reveal of the second Ioniq dedicated EV, the Ioniq 6 sedan, Hyundai global marketing and customer experience chief Thomas Schemera said the car was not just appealing to existing Hyundai buyers – but those of premium cars as well.
“Ioniq 5 has been creating a buzz since it launched all around the world. This was also our intention, to change the paradigm – to offer an extraordinary user experience combined with a very progressive design.
“Customers from premium brands are pouring into our dealerships [in overseas markets] showing a big interest,” Schemera continued.
“At Hyundai, regarding our Ioniq product line-up, we offer premium appeal without premium pricing. I guess that describes the situation very well.”
It’s worth noting that the Ioniq 5 isn’t sold through Hyundai Australia dealers, but rather direct via the company’s website. However, overseas, it is sold through traditional dealerships.
The Ioniq 5 medium SUV offers comparable space, performance and range to other mid-size and large electric SUVs from luxury brands including BMW and Mercedes-Benz – but at, in some cases, just over half the price.
However, at $69,900 plus on-road costs for the entry-level model, it’s still not an affordable car for most – and twice the price of a base-model, petrol-powered Tucson. Buyers may also argue Hyundai lacks the badge cachet of the German luxury establishment.
The Hyundai brand’s recent push upmarket through its electric cars is a far cry from its positioning in the 1980s and 1990s, famed for the $9990 drive-away offers regularly attached to its budget Excel hatchback.
Hyundai says much of its new-found premium aspirations are evident inside the cabin, priding itself on offering soft materials at a reasonable price.
“Let’s face it, everybody wants a premium-touching interior. And this is where we’re really focused. Even though it’s a volume brand, we really create very nice premium [interiors], in a way with a little bit of [the] luxury field, with a story,” said SangYup Lee, Hyundai global design chief.
“I think this is really something we must deliver. Even though it’s an inexpensive car, they put those premium [elements] into it. So this is one of those things we’ll continue to develop.
“Even though we are volume brand, [regarding] the premium touch [and the] level of the design, we raised the bar and this is something that we carried on developing,” Lee said.
The Hyundai Ioniq brand focuses on three ‘pillars’ – led by ‘living space’, created by a long wheelbase delivering expanses of cabin space, and front ‘relaxation seats’ with reclining functionality.
Sustainable materials are also used heavily throughout the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6’s cabins.
For everything you need to know about the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6, click here to browse Drive’s coverage.
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.