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Hyundai makes Genesis its luxury brand

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Ahn Young-joon/AP/File

(Read caption) Hyundai Motor Co. Vice Chairman Chung Euisun listens to a question during a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. The company last week that it has launched a premium car brand named after its Genesis sedan to boost earnings and its share of the fast-growing global market for luxury vehicles.

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For years, auto journalists and analysts have been expecting Hyundai to launch a luxury line -- and at long last it has, though it hasn't played out as some had suspected.

Many thought that the upmarket Equus would form the core of Hyundai's spin-off brand, but today, we learn that the Hyundai Genesis gets the honor.

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Hyundai says that the Genesis brand is meant to "deliver ‘human-centered’ luxury." (Which raises the question: What other kind of luxury would it possibly deliver?) Hyundai explains that vehicles in the Genesis family will embody four key traits: "Human-focused innovation, refined and balanced performance, athletic elegance in design and hassle-free customer experience".

To us, that translates into four very important things that many luxury buyers expect:

  • High-tech gadgets and features 
  • Power 
  • Good looks
  • Great dealership service

Given the fact that many other competitors in the luxury arena offer all of those elements, Genesis has its work cut out for it.

Of course, Hyundai has created a new logo for its new brand. As you can see above, it's based on the badge found on current Genesis models. 

Hyundai is also creating a new system of nomenclature for Genesis models. Some of you will be disappointed to learn that Genesis plans to follow luxury tradition and ditch common names. As Lexus, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, and other high-end brands do, Genesis will use an alphanumeric system, with vehiclenames beginning with the letter "G', followed by a number.

Beginning in mid-2016, design of Genesis vehicles will be overseen by Luc Donckerwolke, whose resume includes credits with Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini, among others. He's currently head of Hyundai's Motor Design Center, and will continue in that role while simultaneously leading the company's new Prestige Design Division.

And here's perhaps the most interesting part of all: Hyundai plans to launch at least six new Genesis models over the next five years. However, they won't be sold in Japan or Europe. To start, Genesis will focus on Korea, China, the U.S., Canada, and the Middle East, with Europe and the rest of Asia being added over time.

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Hyundai fans and foes: How do you rate the prospects for the Genesis brand? Is the luxury market oversaturated? Or is this just what it needs?