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Hyundai Genesis sub-brand coming to Europe

By raccars Published

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Hyundai Genesis sees the budget brand become a social climber. So what's all the fuss about?

The Korean firm, the parent company of budget brand Kia, has been upgrading its reputation in the UK with a smart, modern model range. Hyundai has been rather carefully distancing itself from the budget brand status which was previously its forte in the UK, separating the Hyundai name from the Kia brand.

Interestingly, Hyundai in other countries has long had a rather more premium reputation. Its flagship product for these ambitions is the Hyundai Genesis luxury saloon, which in other markets challenges the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

The Hyundai Genesis elsewhere

It was released in the US in 2008, and has enjoyed considerable success there and elsewhere, winning a variety of industry awards. But Hyundai could never quite make a commercial case to bring the Genesis to Europe, despite lacking a strong halo model in its range. A couple of years ago the Genesis dipped its toe carefully into European waters but couldn't compete with the outstanding brand image of its major German rivals. The Genesis has thus far failed to draw much attention, even though it's actually a very good car.

The new sub-brand

In November last year Hyundai announced that it would be creating a stand-alone Genesis sub brand, featuring not only the original saloon, which would be badged the Genesis G90, but another six new cars by 2020. The new G90 made its debut at the Detroit Motor Show this month in stunning luxury form and is apparently soon to be joined by a G70 coupe in the same style.

However, Hyundai believes that Europe isn't quite ready for the G90 - yet. Instead, the firm plans to ease the continent into what Genesis has to offer by focusing on segments which carry greater weight in Europe, namely SUVs.

High design

Hyundai is determined to continue its push upmarket in the UK and the rest of Europe and is convinced that Genesis is the way to do that. The firm's design chief Peter Schreyer claims that the expanded Genesis range will continue the focus on design, which has distinguished it from the rest of the Hyundai range thus far.

Its SUVs will be designed with compelling aesthetics without compromising on practicality, with short overhangs to enable to enable awkward approach angles and links to the traditional premium proportions exhibited by the Genesis saloon.

Global ambitions

Schreyer made it clear that Hyundai is seeking global recognition for its Genesis marque, to which end it claims to be initiating new standards of luxury based around four core brand markers: elegant but athletic design, strong levels of performance, comfort and refinement, driver-led technological innovation and new standards of customer service, including concierge facilities. A whole new set of platform architectures and powertrains will be developed, exclusive to the Genesis brand.

New personnel

Hyundai has drafted in a series of impressive industry names to oversee this brand image revolution, including Manfred Gerald, formerly of Lamborghini, and Albert Biermann, lately of the BMW M division. The new director of design at Genesis is Luc Donkerwolke. Fresh from Bentley, he has apparently been given a clean sheet to work from and an unmissable opportunity to make his own very personal mark on the industry. This is thanks, in part, to a long standing relationship with Schreyer.

As crowded as the SUV market already is, and with a raft of new luxury options set to squeeze the segment even further, the announcement of such interesting new metal is still exciting news which can only benefit the consumer.

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