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Are Your “Crappy” Competitors Roaring Up Behind You?

Remember when Hyundai first came into the market? They built and sold cheap, but arguably crappy, cars. Their price point let them fill a niche abandoned by Toyota, Honda and Nissan as they concentrated on more upscale offerings. But nobody considered Hyundai a real threat.

Well, Hyundai addressed the quality issue by building better cars. Then they offered the industry’s longest vehicle warranty to prove it. All while improving styling and comfort and maintaining their lower prices.

In the meantime, Toyota announced recall after recall, Nissan continued its run of building good cars nobody wanted to buy and Honda just chugged along, making no big mistakes but doing nothing special.

So when I was in Atlanta recently and had my choice of mid-size SUVs, I thought this would be a good chance to see just how far Hyundai has come. So I chose a Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe is a really nice vehicle. It has excellent performance, really good fit and finish, looks great and has the most comfortable driver’s seat I have ever sat in. The gas mileage (even with my “Rental Car Rally” driving) is outstanding.

The only problem I have with it is that the seat doesn’t go far back enough for me to drive long distances comfortably (I’m 6′2″ tall). But they’ve given a lot of thought to driver comfort and the Santa Fe fits what I call the “elbow test” of having comfortable places to rest my elbows when driving.

The point is that Hyundai, a brand once thought of as “crappy,” is now producing high quality, competitively-priced vehicles that have caught Toyota, Honda, Nissan and even Ford and GM napping.

It’s easy to dismiss your competition as crappy or otherwise no threat for any number of reasons. And it’s just as easy to become the Toyota to their Hyundai.

One of my clients thought that a competitor was too small to be of any concern, only to find that they had landed two half-million dollar contracts that my client wasn’t even aware of.

So be sure to keep an eye on your competition. Pay attention and make developing intelligence on the competition part of your ongoing marketing activities. Don’t let the next time you think about the competition be as you’re watching them pass you by.

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