Hyundai is set to launch its new Genesis brand with a two-pronged attack on Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz by the end of 2017. And by 2021 there are likely to be four models available in Australia including a pair of all-new SUVs.
The South Korean brand unveiled its GV80 Concept at last week’s 2017 New York motor show, previewing a production SUV that is due to arrive in 2019 as well as its new styling direction.
While Hyundai Australia is still yet to reveal its final local plans, it is understood the brand will launch officially as a luxury sub-brand – replacing the current Hyundai Genesis model – in the final few months of 2017.
The current Hyundai Genesis will be given a mid-life upgrade and renamed the Genesis G80 and will be aimed at the likes of the Lexus GS and BMW 5-Series. At the same time the brand is also expected to launch the Genesis G70 – a new compact sedan aimed at the likes of the BMW 3-Series and showcased by a concept car at the 2016 New York motor show.
While the G80 will continue with the existing 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine in the current model, the G70 will share much of its technical details with the already revealed Kia Stinger GT.
The G70 will get the choice of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine or the 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol. But Hyundai Australia’s spokesman was quick to dismiss any direct competition between the G70 and Stinger.
“The G70 is a pure sports sedan,” the spokesman said. “It is smaller and lighter resulting in more performance.”
The G70 is understood to be narrower, shorter overall and have a shorter wheelbase than the Kia. In the Stinger Kia claims the twin-turbo V6 produces 270kW of power and 510Nm of torque so the G70 with that engine will be targeted at the likes of the BMW 340i.
Hyundai Australia is remaining tight-lipped on the pricing and specifications for the G70 but based on the existing Genesis model it is expected to start at approximately $50,000 for the 2.0-litre and close to $70,000 to the 3.3-litre V6.
It is also understood that the G70 has already completed its hot weather testing in Australia and is due to begin local suspension tuning shortly.
In the US Genesis is gearing up to launch the G80 Sport, which is powered by the turbocharged V6 but the model is unlikely to be offered in Australia. However, the local operation may incorporate some of the model’s sportier exterior and interior styling elements on the 3.8-litre V6 model.
Hyundai Australia is yet to reveal any details around its plans for the dealership and ownership experience for Genesis, which will play a key role as it attempts to establish itself as a legitimate contender to the established German rivals as well as Lexus and Jaguar.
In the US, where Genesis is already established as a stand-alone brand, it has both independent dealers and showrooms shared with Hyundai.
Kate Fabian, head of marketing for Genesis in the US and a former Hyundai Australia senior executive, told media at the New York show that the brand is looking at several different sales models for the future, including retail stores (similar to Tesla) and even methods to sell online.
Hyundai Australia’s spokesman said it is still analysing options ahead of the local launch but admitted creating a unique Genesis space within existing Hyundai dealers is an option; known as ‘shop in shop’.
“We’re still investigating all options with regards to the dealer network, which includes shop in shop,” he said.
“The future of the dealer network is something we’re working on not just for G80 and G70 that launch this year but for future models such as the two SUVs.”
Fabian explained that the brand is working hard to try and establish its own identity to lure buyers away from the well established brands. Creating a positive experience at the dealership and during ownership is the key to that, she explained.
“Unlike a lot of the other luxury brands, particularly BMW and Mercedes-Benz and Audi, it’s all about the machine, it’s all about the product,” Fabian said. “For us it’s about the experience and the experience we provide our customers with is just as important as the products.”
In the US, Genesis offers a number of incentives for its customers including a service valet program. It allows owners to book their car in for service and have it picked up from their home or business by someone from the dealership who leaves a loan car.
Hyundai Australia is looking at the US model for customer service programs but the spokesman admitted it is too early to make any commitment to such a scheme.