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Hyundai’s sleek IONIQ 5 electric SUV design and advanced features are attracting a new group of buyers that would usually stick with a premium brand. The success has even surprised company leaders, like Michael Cole, President, and CEO at Hyundai Europe, who claims “brand loyalty doesn’t seem to be as strong in EVs.”

After the IONIQ 5 made its official debut in 2021, Hyundai didn’t realize it had a gem on its hands that would transform the company’s entire brand image.

Although Hyundai was known as a “cheap” car brand early on, the South Korean automaker has transformed itself in the EV era with quality interior and exterior designs, state-of-the-art technology, and a focus on innovation.

By doing so, Hyundai, including the Kia and Genesis brands, grew to become the third largest automaker this past year, surpassing GM, Nissan, and Stellantis in annualy volume in 2022.

Hyundai took a “radical new approach” with its first dedicated electric vehicle, the IONIQ 5. The automaker says the IONIQ 5 was designed and built with a progressive apporoach that started with looking to its past, in particular, its first unique vehicle, the Pony.

However, what truly brings the IONIQ 5 to life is Hyundai’s Electric Globular Modular Platform (E-GMP), the company’s dedicated EV archetecture featuring up to 310 miles range (500 km), 800V ultrafast charging (18 minutes), vehicle-to-load capabilities (V2L), and more.

The sleek, bold design and functionality is attracting a new group of users that’s surprising even Hyundai’s leaders.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 is attracting premium buyers

Hyundai’s progressive approach is paying off. According to a new report from Autocar, the IONIQ 5 has been winning over customers from premium brands.

Although the electric SUV is priced above Hyundai’s typicaly range, it’s about in line with the competition, starting at $41,500, and sales have been strong.

The IONIQ 5 was followed up by the IONIQ 6 electric sedan, which was officially unveiled last July, gaining attention as one of the most aeordynamic and energy efficient EVs on the market and placing among the top two models on Fueleconomy.gov’s 2023 top 10 list with the Lucid Air.

IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6 sales reached over 100,000 last year as the brand accelerated its transition to zero-emission electric vehicles. Hyundai is planning to release its larger IONIQ 7 SUV next year.

The success of the IONIQ 5 has given Hyundai confidence in releasing its larger SUV, as Cole explains:

With Ioniq 7 there was a bit of hesitation a year ago prior to Ioniq 5 about whether it was a car for Europe – but after the success of the Ioniq 5, we now 100 per cent think it’s a car that we can sell in Europe, and we will capture some premium brand customers with it. 

Cole adds “brand loyalty doesn’t seem as strong in EVs” as several new electric models are pulling sales from premium brands.

Although Hyundai is attracting premium buyers, the brand isn’t planning to change its image altogether (to a premium one). Instead, the company believes it can reach an entire new customer base with its EVs.

Electrek’s Take

It doesn’t come as a surprise the Hyundai IONIQ 5 is winning over premium buyers. The modern look and functionality is enough to make anyone convert.

However, Hyundai isn’t the only brand with EVs winning over new buyers groups. Tesla blazed its own path, with two models now in the top 10 best selling cars worldwide. Ford, GM, and others have mentioned success stories with buyers converting from gas-powered cars and other brands.

The same thing is happening in China. EV startups with bold designs and advanced features are winning over customers and stealing share from the premium brands.

The fact of the matter is EVs are more fun to drive, buyers will look for the best option on the market regardless of brand.

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