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WHAT I BELIEVE: I believe in the power of a single idea. A single good idea, anyway. Frankly, there’s just not a lot of power in a single bad idea, like scheduling “Bat Day” when the Red Sox play at Yankee Stadium. I believe in long, slow downloads that last 3 days. I believe in the designated driver, the fungo bat, and keeping words like gazebo and zamboni around just because they’re fun to say. I believe in naps but not Napster.(more..)

Location: Strongsville, OH, United States

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spoiler Alert: New Korean “Man Van” Coming Soon!

In Chapter 11 of my 2008 book, “Banks, Tanks & Angst: How Long Will America Idle?” I wrote:  

“The next 3-5 years will be marked by a radical shift to “Good Enough” in nearly every facet of society, as companies strive to retrench financially and a nation of desperate housewives strive to live within their fiscal means. Americans as a nation have decided that they no longer need a brand new car and/or that they no longer require a premium brand badge, as evidenced by Hyundai’s sudden surge in popularity – offering Lexus-level quality at a fraction of the price. In the Good Enough era, firms like Hyundai -which allow consumers to continue to enjoy the premium features they have come to love but at a much lower cost – will be best positioned to weather the growing economic headwinds.”

Since this prediction was published, Hyundai’s market-share has in fact surged from roughly 3% in 2008 to nearly 6% in 2013, as the economic malaise called “Lagflation” (which I warned about in the book) has become America’s New Normal.  In fact, since 2009, the Korean juggernaut of Hyundai-Kia has combined to take market-share from entrenched competitors worldwide by offering consumers a compelling trifecta - desirable vehicles, sporting stylish designs, and at great prices.  Over the past four years, this dynamic duo has twice won the North American Car of the Year award for selling a record number of vehicles in the U.S, and during that time, they have systematically updated and upgraded every vehicle in their line-up…except one.

Spoiler Alert: My Next Prediction

Based on how aggressively and elegantly Hyundai-Kia has reinvented each new model in their line-up, I have decided to go on record to predict that they will soon release their boldest, baddest, vehicle to date – The Man Van.

I believe that America, Europe, and the world are poised to embrace the reinvention of the minivan, and I believe that Hyundai-Kia is the company to do it.  My prediction is that, once again, they will use current best-in-class competitors as their starting point (Honda Odyssey & Toyota Sienna) and then leapfrog over them by introducing superior design elements, superior horsepower, superior standard equipment, superior warranty, and superior price points to steal market-share from the perennial leaders in this segment.

Introducing: The Man Van

Rather than target the minivan to soccer moms, I believe Hyundai-Kia will go in the exact opposite direction, by launching a “Man Van” which features masculine features and lines, a throaty exhaust, great stereo, and even a pronounced spoiler, and I fully expect their commercials to showcase lots of high-gloss beauty shots of this shiny black Man Van doing all sorts of cool “man things.”  In fact, I could even see it being marketed as a “Life Limo” targeting traveling businessmen (who could almost live out of it, with places for a laptop, files, etc.) as well as reclining seats and footrests, to make Saturday errands and road trips that much more comfortable.

In closing, I fully believe that if they do it right, I could see this being the most buzz-worthy vehicle of the year, and if that happens, I’m sure the awards will follow.  How do I know all of this?  I don’t - but I know a good pattern when I see one, and this one is so pregnant and so obvious, that I had no choice but to let everyone in on what’s coming.


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