While most car manufacturers are scrambling to get economical hybrids and diesels onto the market, Hyundai has headed in the opposite direction with its new Genesis sedan, a large segment, 4.6L V8 sedan putting out 368hp through the rear wheels. In a market yearning for more fuel efficient vehicles, John Krafcik, Hyundai's vice-president of product development and strategic planning, said that Hyundai's plan to release the Genesis is not arrogant or oblivious to the market's demands but rather a strategic move to establish the company's image and show the motoring public that Hyundai can produce quality products.

The new 'Tau' V8 was nurtured from conception by the president of research and development, an engineer who developed the first in-house Hyundai engine. Krafcik asked with tongue-in-cheek "how many other global automakers have a president-level guy who can design an engine?”. But, as AutoObserver reports, Hyundai is not completely oblivious to market demands. Following the release of the Genesis, product planners are trying to identify or create new market niches for Hyundai to insert itself into. The new product development process is called i2 and is compromised of a team consisting of designers, marketers, sales and engineers, as well as others who brainstorm, design and produce concepts. Krafcik said the i2 program is looking to create vehicles that "don't follow any conventional segmentation." With the latest trend being for manufacturers to create crossovers and more fuel-efficient vehicles expect Hyundai to be interested in these areas. It is almost a given that the i2 program will churn out at least a few environmentally friendly cars to catch up with Hyundai's competitors who have been offering hybrids and diesels for years.

Hyundai's decision to create and release the Genesis, simply to improve the brand's image, in a time when every other car manufacturer is trying to improve its image by releasing environmentally conscious cars, seems a little askew. There is no guarantee that the Genesis will even sell well, considering that it is a premium offering from a non-premium brand, although it does have an enticing price tag. Read about our discussion of the Genesis sedan and its likelihood for success in our previous story by clicking here. Pictured above is Hyundai's i-Blue crossover concept, a fuel-cell model Hyundai claims will eventually enter production.