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Hyundai Celebrates 25th Anniversary in US with Key Hyundai the Longest-Running Dealer in Connecticut
Hyundai America is celebrating 25 years of selling cars in the United States, and founder Larry Merriam of Key Hyundai Connecticut played an instrumental role in Hyundai revamping its product and image to achieve today’s automotive success.
By: Jill Merriam
Hyundai: a leader in affordable, reliable luxury
“Hyundai launched in ’86 with 3 Connecticut dealers, and I got my franchise in the second wave of appointments in 1987. Only Key remains, so I’m proud to say Key Hyundai is the longest established Hyundai dealership in Connecticut,”
“During the 90s recession, automotive was hit hard. Much like today, but Hyundai learned from the 90s and it shows. Hyundai America called in 15 or so major dealers, management, and the marketing firm, and we completely discussed the situation. They really listened to what we were hearing on the salesroom floor,” said Larry Merriam. “And did something about it.”
America’s Best Warranty Decries Quality Cars
Hyundai got the message quality was – and remains – imperative to the American consumer, and proceeded to fix their cars, and their image. They set up the first 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty, deemed “America’s Best Warranty.” No one can afford such claims if the vehicles are going to require the warranty, so Hyundai was putting its money where its mouth was: into its automobiles. Consumers caught on, and the quality issue was nullified.
Only one Hyundai was offered 25 years ago: the Excel, 2 or 4 doors. It was less than desirable and often mocked within the industry. Today, nobody is laughing. The new Hyundai models (http://www.hyundaiusa.com/
25 Years Later, Another Recession, A Different Story
The image of Hyundai 25 years ago is quite different than the automotive brand today. Hyundai made good on its promise to produce safe, reliable, affordable vehicles. But they didn’t stop there. Value is key, but sleek designs, mandatory safety features, fuel-efficiency make Hyundai the smart choice not only during tough economic times, but all the time.
Looking forward for Hyundai in America
“Hyundai has a completely different image today,” said Jill Merriam, co-owner and 2nd generation owner of Key Hyundai, “and I like their ambitious plans for the future. My dad worked hard to get Hyundai to listen back then, and today Connecticut Hyundai is reaping the benefits with well made cars that people can afford and want to drive. I am so looking forward to the next 25 years.”
“As far as we’ve come since 1986, we still feel we’re in the early stages of connecting the Hyundai brand to the U.S. consumer,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “We’ve always challenged convention – from our powertrain strategies, to our consumer partnership programs, to our unique Genesis and Equus retail approach. It’s authentically Hyundai to question the status quo and pursue our own vision of how things should be in order to best serve our customers. This willingness to challenge convention will continue to guide us these next 25 years.”
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About Key Hyundai: Key Hyundai (http://www.keycars.com/