South Korean automaker Hyundai has experienced a steady rise in the American car market, particularly in the face of a deep and lagging recession. Hyundai was heralded (and deservedly so) for innovative recessionary marketing tactics such as the Assurance program - its job loss protection program where car buyers could return a car if they lost their job. In addition, a pioneering 10 year warranty reinforced its value strategy as a smart buy to cash conscience consumers.
In January, I wrote about Hyundai shifting it's focus on value with the 2011 introduction of the Equus, a high-end automobile priced at $60,000 and expected to compete with Cadillac and Lexus. As expected, consumers didn't go for it.
This week, I noticed Hyundai running an ad for its signature Elantra model. The ad sarcastically apologizes to consumers for building two more apparently irresistible Elantra models. The ad is dubbed "Miss Decisive" and it clearly reflects a strategy that has failed both Hyundai and competing automakers in the past.
As Hyundai continues its strategy to build something for everyone, the brand will eventually mean nothing to anyone.