The future of Hyundai’s fledgling luxury arm, Genesis, is still on track in Australia despite the recent announcement that Hyundai’s UK operation is set to pull the pin on the current single-model Hyundai Genesis.
The decision for the UK comes down to powertrains, as European markets in general prefer efficient diesels and low-emissions small displacement petrol engines thanks to tax structures that penalise emissions. The smallest engine in the Genesis, a naturally aspirated 3.8-litre petrol V6 simply doesn’t meet that demand.
Sales of the Hyundai Genesis are down nearly 60 percent this year compared to the same time in 2016, but according to Hyundai Australia’s public relations manager Bill Thomas, Genesis will only strengthen its position moving forward.
As per overseas markets, Hyundai will spin Genesis into its own stand-alone brand targeted at luxury rivals like Lexus, BMW, and Audi.
“We remain committed to Genesis and will launch the brand either in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year, with both the new G70 and G80,” Mr Thomas told TMR, though was unable to confirm exact timing.
The G70, pitched as a rival to cars like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class will share its mechanical underpinnings with the upcoming Kia Stinger, but its inclusion under the Genesis banner means a more premium position and equipment to match.
Mr Thomas also explained the behind-the-scenes reason for the falling sales of the current Genesis: “We are currently working through our final stocks of the current car before sales of the G80 begin, which is part of the reason for the lower volume.”
Once the G70 is officially revealed and ready for sale in Australia, Hyundai will create a proper branding strategy that will see Genesis introduced locally, with a two-model range initially.
“Our plan is to launch both it [G80], and the new G70, and the brand, together.” Mr Thomas said.
Like Hyundai’s other passenger car programs, the G70 will be subject to an Australia-specific suspension development program to ensure the new sports sedan meets the demands of Aussie conditions and the preferences of local drivers.
Mr Thomas explained that the local program was well underway. “G70 suspension timing is happening now on our test roads in and around Sydney. The engineers are very happy with progress.”
As for Genesis’ future over the longer term, Mr Thomas was keen to point out that the UK’s decision made no difference to Australia's eligibility for right-hand drive production, and that the brand would be staying the course locally with plans to introduce two SUVs, tipped to become the biggest sellers for the brand.
The introduction of SUVs to the range is also likely to revive Genesis’ fortunes in the UK and across Europe, with the global trend towards crossovers and SUVs playing a major role in the launch of Genesis as a brand in those markets.