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Q&A: Hyundai’s Joel Ewanick

From econoboxes to S-Class competitor; Hyundai aiming high.

by on Aug.18, 2009

Though the final name hasn't been locked down, this 2011 Hyundai Equus prototype will take aim against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS.

Though the final name hasn't been locked down, this 2011 Hyundai Equus prototype will take aim against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS.

Few automakers have gone through the ups-and-downs of Hyundai, the South Korean carmaker long known for its cheap, if not always reliable, automobiles.  The automaker has made significant improvements in quality, in recent years, but nonetheless shocked the industry with the successful launch, last year, of its Genesis Sedan – subsequently named North American Car of the Year by a panel of 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists.

Last week, Hyundai dropped another bombshell, announcing it will move even more up-market with next year’s planned introduction of the Equus, (Click Here for that story) a sedan targeting such Premium Luxury competitors as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS.

Aim High!

Aim High!

TheDetroitBureau.com was given a chance to get behind the wheel of a pre-production version of the new car, and found it surprisingly refined yet sporty and fun to drive, despite a few hiccups – notably a slight lurch upon take-off – that are often found on early prototypes.  Despite all the upgrades, it still seems a stretch for Hyundai to go after some of the world’s finest automobiles, so we took Hyundai America’s marketing chief, Joel Ewanick, along for a drive – and a chance to ask about the car and the carmaker’s plans for its introduction.

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