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2018 Genesis G70 Photo: Supplied
 
 
Stephen Ottley | Nov, 27 2017 | 0 Comments

Australian car buyers will soon have a new prestige brand to choose from with Genesis, Hyundai’s new upmarket division set to go on sale here in April 2018.

With an already established range of competitors, the new brand has its sights set on the likes of Lexus and Jaguar as it attempts to gain a foothold in an already crowded market.

The South Korean brand is set to begin selling its new G70 sedan and G80 large sedan, an update of the car formerly known as the Hyundai Genesis, early in the second quarter of 2018.

To lead the new brand ahead of its launch Hyundai has appointed former Lexus executive Peter Evans as general manager for Genesis Australia and he believes his new brand can take on his former employer.

When asked in Nissan’s Infiniti brand, the last new prestige marque to go on sale in Australia, was on Genesis’ radar Evans was dismissive of the brand and its incremental growth in Australia that saw it tally a meagre 675 sales so far in 2017.

Comparatively to the end of October Jaguar has amassed 2220 sales while Lexus recorded 7688 new car sales according to official figures, giving some indication of how Genesis would like to slot into the sales charts.

“I don’t want to sound too arrogant but I think we should be targeting the Jaguars and Lexus of this world rather than Infiniti,” Evans said. “Because Infiniti is almost an abject lesson in not achieving what they set out to achieve. It’s been a struggle for them for a whole bunch of reasons.”

“I think we’re starting at an advantage over them, in that our cars are not quirky and quixotic in terms of their styling. They are more the outcome of the likes of [Hyundai design boss, Peter] Schreyer, [Genesis chief designer, Luc] Donckerwolke and we’ve now got [Alexander] Selipanov from Bugatti.”

“We’ve got a couple of really good Korean designers. We’ve got the design studio in Fountain Valley [California] down the road from the world headquarters. I think that’s paid dividends in the proportions of our cars and the lack of affectation of some of the styling elements.”

Globally the Genesis brand will offer only two sedans from despite the still-growing popularity of SUVs, but Evans said the company is taking a long-term approach to building its brand in Australia.

Evans said the priority for the first two models is to establish the sales network for the brand and create a new customer service experience, including plans for a concierge-style scheme to service vehicles.

Evans is unfazed by the prospect of launching a new brand without SUVs on offer.

“It depends what your targets are in the first couple of years,” he said. “We don’t want to be hard target driven, we want to be customer satisfaction and experience driven.”

“We’ve got cars for a couple of years but {Genesis global boss] Manfred [Fitzgerald] in New York, and more recently [Genesis USA boss] Erwin [Raphael], talked about rolling out three SUVs - a large, a medium and a small. Therefore, we know the timings of those, we know what the product look likes, so we’ll be building our customer base, an experience [and] our own experience with luxury cars in time for the SUVs.”

Evans also suggested that the new brand could try to unsettle prestige competitors by offering warranty protection in excess of Hyundai’s current five-year program, saying: “We might even go further, who knows.”

MORE: Genesis News and Reviews

 
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