Hyundai has traditionally been recognized as a maker of affordable hatchbacks and compact cars but in the past couple of years we’ve seen the quality and design of its cars improve greatly. So much so that the South Korean carmaker can be considered a genuine rival to some of the mainstream Japanese and German carmakers, and soon it may even start to rival a number of well established luxury marques.

At January’s Detroit Auto Show we saw Hyundai win the coveted North American Car of the Year award for its Genesis Sedan, and initial reviews of the sporty Genesis Coupe are showing good signs. Hyundai then launched its Equus flagship saloon in its home market and teased the U.S. with the presentation of the car at this month’s New York Auto Show.

Now, the carmaker’s U.S. chief John Krafcik has hinted at the launch of a brand new luxury sub-brand. Speaking with Ward’s Auto, Krafcik said Hyundai may one day use its Genesis nameplate for a new luxury brand. “It would be like Lexus,” he explained.

The new ‘Genesis ‘ models would be sold through regular Hyundai dealerships but in a separate section – similar to what Toyota does with Scion and Mercedes Benz does with Maybach.

The launch of a new brand would also bode well for Hyundai’s plans to offer a new range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles in the coming years, as well as the introduction of an in-house designed 8-speed automatic transmission.