Hyundai first released its Genesis luxury car in Australia in 2014, yet the enigmatic V6 sedan with the winged grille badge continues to attract surprised looks from people unaware of its Korean origins.
While the car first appeared in South Korea and North America in 2008, its introduction here was ahead of its time with Falcons and Commodores still on tap. Rather than target aspirational families, Hyundai Australia identified its key market as limo companies that either wanted something cheaper than BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class but an alternative to the similarly priced Holden Caprice.
It has done well in that market, spurred on by the introduction of Uber Black, but now Hyundai is expanding the Genesis brief by making it a brand in its own right to take on the Germans in the luxury and performance segments. Of course we’ve seen this before with the likes of Lexus and Infiniti, so what will be different?
For a start, Lexus in particular paved the way in wearing down badge snobbery, but while people were quick to acknowledge Lexus’ quality, it’s cars didn’t exude the sex appeal of anything rolling out of Munich or Stuttgart. The Toyota sub brand took decades to address this and is only now producing standout models that will make even the staunchest teutophile consider it as an option.
Then there’s the growing respect for Hyundai and fellow Korean brand Kia, whose soon-to-released performance cars such as the i30 N and Stinger are eagerly anticipated throughout the motoring world without a hint of irony.
And, with just nine months before the last Commodore is applauded off the production line by mournful workers and customers alike, the timing couldn’t be better.
This planetary alignment means Hyundai is now in a situation where it can hit the ground running with Genesis branded twin-turbo V6 halo coupe packing 350kW and no one, not even the Germans, is laughing.
This car will be part of the G70 range, which will come to Australia alongside the G80; an updated version of the luxury sedan.
The BMW 3-Series rivalling model will be based on a small sedan, which will be powered by a 3.3-litre 276kW twin-turbo V6 donated by the Stinger, and there’s a performance plug-in hybrid version also in the works. It’s expected to spawn a cabriolet version; possibly named the GC70, while the GT70 coupe will headline the range with the BMW 4-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in its sights and a price tag about the$60,000 mark.
The G70’s continued gestation means Hyundai Australia has delayed the launch of the Genesis brand so it can be introduced here later this year with the G70 and G80 duo to ensure broader appeal.
These are expected to be joined in coming years by other current and future Genesis models including:
- GV80 – Due in 2019, the BMW X5 rival will be the first Genesis SUV and is expected to be priced in the region of $70,000.
- G90 – a Mercedes-Benz S-Class-rivalling flagship that is currently sold in the USA but will lack a right-hand-drive until the next-generation is due in 2022.
- GV60 – a proposed Audi Q5 rivalling SUV with four-cylinder, V6 and hybrid drivetrain options.
Genesis Australia will have its own dealer network and will operate under the guidance of former Toyota Australia executive Peter Evans who was also involved with Lexus’ launch into the Australian market.
If the company’s strategy comes together as planned, that winged badge won’t be mysterious for much longer.
The genesis of Genesis
2007 - Hyundai reveals the Genesis concept at the New York motor show as a ‘premium sports sedan’. Hyundai picked the name to reflect its entry into the luxury segment.
2008 – First generation production [BH] Genesis is marketed internationally including the Americas, though not in Europe or Australia.
2014 – The second-generation [DH] Genesis is launched worldwide including Australia. The Australian model underwent an extensive local tuning program before its November release.
2015 – Hyundai announces the creation of Genesis Motors as a separate luxury division.
2017 – Genesis reveals its G70 concept at the New York Motor Show.
2017 – Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan renamed the Genesis G80. Genesis Motors to launch in Australia at the end of the year.