Many scoffed at the idea of Hyundai competing in the luxury segment when the Korean automaker, known for its cheap and cheerful cars, originally announced plans for the first-generation Genesis back in 2007. However, the mid-size luxury sedan went on to win accolades all over the globe, including here in the United States where it was named 2009 North American Car of the Year.
Since then, Hyundai has continued to improve the build quality, refinement and technology on its cars, especially the upmarket models like the Genesis, now in its second generation, as well as the Equus flagship sedan, and now the automaker feels it’s ready to launch a standalone luxury brand. The name it’s chosen is Genesis.
Hyundai says Genesis will focus on “human-centered luxury” and feature six distinct model lines by the end of the decade. The current Genesis sedan is the first of these models, and we already know new versions of the Equus and Genesis Coupe are just around the corner. Other additions to the lineup will likely include a large, seven-seat SUV and a small sedan competing in the same segment as the BMW 3-Series. That leaves just one unknown. Our guess would be a second SUV sitting below the seven-seater.
Note, a new naming strategy will be introduced for all of these models, as seems to be the luxury du jour. It will be yet another alphanumeric naming structure, where models will be named by combining a capital G for Genesis with a number, 90, 80 or 70 etc., representing the positioning. The new Equus, for example, will likely become a G80 or G90.
Genesis will initially launch in the Korean, Chinese, Middle Eastern and North American markets, though eventually it will reach other regions such as Europe and the rest of Asia. To set its brand apart from more established marques in the luxury segment, Hyundai says its Genesis models will embody human-focused innovation plus refined and balanced performance. Hyundai also says its Genesis models won’t overload the user with technologies, with the aim instead being a hassle-free customer experience.
“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,” Hyundai Vice Chairman Euisun Chung said in a statement.
Hyundai Vision G (HCD-16) concept
The comments also suggest that Hyundai’s dealership experience for the Genesis brand will differ from current practices. In fact, the automaker says Genesis sales and service staff will be able to provide “rapid and attentive service to customer’s requests,” though it isn’t clear if there will be standalone dealerships for the brand or if they will be linked with current Hyundai stores.
We’ve already been given a taste of what to expect from Genesis with the unveiling of the Vision G concept in the summer. The large, luxurious coupe previewed the athletic yet elegant design Genesis models will adopt. Hyundai has established a standalone design studio called the Prestige Design Division to focus on its Genesis models. Leading the studio from mid-2016 will be former Volkswagen Group designer Luc Donckerwolke, who is set to take over from current Hyundai design chief Peter Schreyer in the coming years. Donckerwolke’s last role was head of design for Bentley, and he’s previously penned models for Audi and Lamborghini.
Finally, Hyundai says its Genesis models will be engineered to provide excellent ride comfort while retaining confident sportiness. In this regard, Hyundai has former BMW M engineering boss Albert Biermann overseeing much of the development.