Claiming the top spot in any J.D. Power survey is an important goal for carmakers, as buyers pay attention to the company's vehicle market metrics. But the 2009 Hyundai Genesis has won a particularly meaningful one, taking the 2008 Inaugural Vehicle Launch Index.

The Vehicle Launch Index is an independent measure designed to help automakers plan and execute successful vehicle launches in order to maximize revenue and profits, minimize incentive spending and maintain high residual values during a model's lifecycle. What this means is that Hyundai's win with the new Genesis positions the brand for even more future success, not just with the Genesis, but with other model launches.

To make its decision, the J.D. Power team evaluated the price, volume levels, product mix, dealer incentive and invetory levels, the car's styling, performance and functionality plus the car's quality and projected residual values. Combined, these characteristics all contribute to a successful vehicle launch, and therefore say much about the health of not just the individual model but the company as a whole.

Getting a leg up in releasing a new vehicle is all the more important in today's sales market, where a every bit of market share gained is key. "Launching new vehicles successfully is critical to the financial success of every automaker," said Gary Dilts, senior vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.

"Given lower consumer demand, vehicle proliferation and the financial pressures on the auto industry, every manufacturer must get it ‘right' from the start. By carefully analyzing more than 90 vehicle launches that have been executed in the United States, we have determined the key factors for launch success."