GOYANG, South Korea, March 28 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co. on Thursday premiered the concept version of its flagship full-size luxury sedan the Equus wearing French luxury brand Hermes, in the latest sign that the South Korea's largest carmaker is seeking to become a premium brand.
The French fashion house designed the interior of the largest and most expensive sedan in Hyundai's line-up by using its signature leather in a project that lasted two years, according to Hyundai.
The partnership represented "one of our new attempts" to become a premium brand, Kim Choong-ho, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor, told journalists at the Seoul Motor Show in Goyang, just northwest of Seoul.
Still, the company said it has no plan to roll off Hermes editions for consumers.
The latest move comes two years after Hyundai collaborated with Italian luxury brand Prada to unveil Genesis sedans. Hyundai had said it would build only 2,000 Prada editions of Genesis sedans, though Hyundai did not immediately say how many the Genesis Prada were sold.
The Equus and the Genesis are Hyundai's flagship full-size luxury cars designed to improve the company's brand image and compete with global premium brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Hyundai sold a record 46,376 large luxury sedans in the United States last year, accounting for 6.6 percent of all its vehicles sold in the U.S., up 1.2 percentage points from a year earlier.
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo has vowed to boost the brand value of vehicles, noting improved brand image will help strengthen profitability of cars sold around the world.
Last year, Hyundai ranked 53rd with a brand value of US$7.5 billion in the Best Global Brands report released by the international branding consultancy Interbrand Corp. Hyundai finished ahead of other global carmaking brands including Audi, Porsche and Nissan.
Kia also ranked 87th with a brand value of $4.09 billion. It was the first time for the carmaker to move into the top 100 in brand value.
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