Hyundai Launches Genesis as a Luxury Brand
Hyundai Motors announced that the Genesis, currently sold as a premium sedan and coupe, will be spun off as its own division. While similar to Honda, Toyota and Nissan with their respective Acura, Lexus and Infiniti brands which targeted the broader luxury market, the Genesis brand is aimed squarely at European competitors from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Genesis models will be sold globally, first in Korea, China, the United States and the Middle East, later in Europe and other parts of Asia.
There are plans to offer six Genesis models, all rear- or all-wheel drive, the first of which will go on sale in 2016 as a 2017 model. It starts with the flagship Hyundai Equus replacement, which will be called the G90, followed by the G80, the next generation of the current Genesis which competes with the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series. After that there will be a compact luxury sedan, the G70, set to rival the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. The line will be rounded out by a compact luxury crossover based on the G70, a midsize luxury SUV based on the G80 and a sport coupe, which will not be based on the current Genesis coupe. The full line will be on sale in the U.S. by 2021.
As Euisun Chung, Hyundai Motor Company Vice Chairman, explains, "We have created this new Genesis brand with a complete focus on our customers who want smart ownership experiences that save time and effort, with practical innovations that enhance satisfaction. The Genesis brand will fulfill these expectations, becoming a market leader through our human-centered brand strategy."
Setting Genesis Apart
Genesis will be distinct from Hyundai, with dedicated R&D. It will also have a separate design team, the Prestige Design Division, to be headed by Luc Donckerwolke, whose resume includes designing models for Lamborghini, Bentley and Audi. As Peter Schreyer, President and Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group explained, if you look at the Vision G concept, which was unveiled at Pebble Beach earlier this year, you get an idea of the G lineup's design philosophy.
Precision craftsmanship will be a high priority along with the concept of human centered luxury. The goal to provide a feeling of value with a high level of features while having vehicles that emotionally connect with customers. Genesis promises driver assists and world-class NVH control will reduce stress while at the same time balancing comfort with driving dynamics.
Woong Chul Yang, Head of Hyundai Motor R&D Center and Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor says, "The Genesis models will provide technological innovation, excellent driving performance and luxury to customers. Every Genesis model will be created with the needs of our customers in mind, so the resulting car will perfectly meet their needs without any unnecessary burden or excess."
In the short term, Hyundai will sell the flagship Genesis G90 through the 400 or so dealerships that currently sell the Equus. These dealerships are set up to handle the needs of luxury buyers with separate showrooms within showrooms and have at least one dedicated person on staff who is an expert not only on the Equus, but on the needs of luxury car buyers.
However, when the G80 replacement for the current Genesis sedan goes on sale in 2017, it will be sold in all current Hyundai dealerships. Hyundai has not yet announced its long-term plans for the dealer network and whether or not the Genesis line will be sold in separate stores.