Hyundai, once a brand known for frugal, no-nonsense cars, has announced a new sub-brand called “Genesis” which will begin rolling out this December. Genesis will be its own brand designed specifically to compete in the luxury car market and possibly give the Hyundai brand an image boost at the same time.
The current plan calls for six models by 2020 as a stand-alone brand right alongside Hyundai’s lineup of cars. This new brand comes with a new identity that includes an emblem and naming structure very different from what Hyundai currently offers.
A wing-type emblem that has been redesigned based off of the current Hyundai Genesis sedan will be featured on all the new vehicles. The naming convention will be one of numbers and letters with a “G” for Genesis along with 90, 80, 70 and so on to represent different segments.
The newly developed Prestige Design Division will oversee Genesis development and will be led by Luc Donckerwolke who has worked previously with Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini. Donckerwolke is also currently Head of Hyundai Motor Design Center. Hyundai President and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer will be overseeing the new Prestige division.
Initially, Genesis will be available in North America, China, Korea, and the Middle East. Expansion into both Europe and Asia will happen as the brand grows. This all builds on Hyundai’s first baby steps into the luxury car market with the Genesis sedan and flagship Equus sedan.
It’s something of a logical next step given the success of those two cars, but you have to wonder if the public is ready to drive what are essentially luxury Hyundais. The Equus is a beautiful luxury sedan, but if you ask most people they’ve never heard of the car. It has been well-received, but it hasn’t exactly made the concept of a luxury Hyundai one most people have ever considered.
There’s more to a luxury brand than a fancy car. Yes, they need to deliver that something extra that makes owners feel special, unique, and coddled, but it also needs to let those outside the car know that what’s driving by is special.
See someone at the wheel of a Bentley and there are immediate assumptions about that driver. It screams money and influence. It’s part of the lure of owning a car like a Bentley. See someone behind the wheel of a Hyundai and, well, it’s a nice car but it’s not a Bentley.
Will the people who buy Bentleys want to drive luxury Hyundais instead? It’s possible, but it’s going to be a challenge to convince those people that Genesis is truly a luxury vehicle, no matter how good they look or how nice they drive.