Hyundai Visits Financial District With Slippery Test Drives

Hyundai stopped by the Financial District last Friday, offering consumers a chance to check out its new cars and take a ride on a slick test track.

By Michael O'Connell August 13, 2008, 2:33 PM EDT

Three cars took turns speeding down the track and abruptly stopping before the traffic cone blockade at Front Street.

Photo: BizBash

Hyundai Test Drives
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To launch its first luxury brand, Genesis, Hyundai Motor Company set out on a 15-stop tour to give consumers a chance to go for a ride in one of the new vehicles. During the Manhattan leg of the tour last Friday at the Financial Community Day Festival, several hundred visitors to the Hyundai display rode shotgun while the cars skidded down a massive, automobile-sized Slip ‘n’ Slide.

Planning an experiential marketing campaign for the new model, which Hyundai is positioning as a more affordable alternative to cars like the Lexus ES, Cadillac CTS, and Chrysler 300, the company enlisted Jack Morton to produce a consumer tour. Its New York incarnation blocked off downtown’s Maiden Lane between Front and South streets for eight hours during the day, and curious passersby looking to take the cars for a spin had to settle for what can best be described as a small amusement park ride.

After all, allowing brokers on lunch breaks to traverse the small, sanctioned off block themselves probably would not have been wise—even with an iron-clad waiver. Guests took the passenger seat instead as professional drivers from Hyundai grabbed the wheel for a few quick laps. The goal of the slippery track was to demonstrate the car’s traction when tested by the elements.

A traveling display, eight cars, and a crew of 25 to 30 make up the tour, and there are plans to work its way across the United States over 17 weeks with upcoming stops in Seattle, Boston, and Las Vegas. The staff, displays, and selection of cars were somewhat downsized in New York to fit on the small block.

The tour is one of three partnerships between Hyundai and Jack Morton. Promotions for Genesis also include a grassroots campaign to show off the cars at 48 different auto-enthusiast gatherings and V.I.P. tents at six automotive events, including this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

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