New car, new iPad

Hyundai grabs some iPad attention by announcing it will include the device with every Equus purchase.

By Kim Peterson Apr 5, 2010 12:39PM
Credit: (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Hyundai (HYMTF) is pouncing on this week's iPad frenzy by announcing that it will include a free Apple (AAPL) iPad with every purchase of its new Equus luxury sedan.

It's a great move on the part of Hyundai, which said the iPad would be pre-loaded with a digital version of the car's owner's manual. At a starting price of $500, the iPad would be about one-one hundredth of the Equus' price tag.

Will it help Hyundai sell more cars? Absolutely. By taking a little piece of the iPad hype as its own, Hyundai calls attention to its upcoming release. It also helps pitch the Equus as a true luxury car, one that is so decadent you could keep an iPad in the glove compartment (not that anyone would, but whatever).

Hyundai is not known for luxury cars. So right away, it makes a splash in the high-end market. The company compares the Equus with the Lexus LS 460 and Mercedes-Benz S550 sedans, according to The Los Angeles Times.

But there's more to this concept. As others have noted, the iPad is a monumental leap forward in netbook computing. Critics have marveled at its ease of use, and how well its software has been developed.

One could easily see a family having two or three iPads lying around the house. Two things would have to happen first: the iPad's price would have to come down (and it will) and people must come to accept the iPad as a super convenient device that has many uses and will get you what you need quickly.

And more companies will surely follow Hyundai's lead and give an iPad (or other netbook) away with major purchases. Especially if they can pre-load an important app on it that clears the way for more sales. Hyundai, for example, is including software that lets users easily make service appointments, and it won't take many of those before the company recoups its investment.

And get this: An Equus owner won't even have to drive the car to the dealership to get serviced. A Hyundai attendant will come and pick up the car while leaving a loaner, according to USA Today. Hyundai will even bring an Equus to your house for a test drive.

Hyundai is hoping to sell 3,000 Equus models next year, according to USA Today.

"Many will respond positively to the inclusion of an iPad, not because they needed or planned to buy one, but simply because it is topical and cool," one researcher told the newspaper.
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