A genesis is the beginning of something. A Genesis is also a premium sedan from Hyundai around which an all-new luxury brand will come into being. Hyundai announced today that it is turning the Genesis name into a stand-alone luxury brand that will compete globally with the likes of Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
Related: 2015 Hyundai Genesis Review
Hyundai’s plan is to launch six new Genesis models by 2020, initially in the North American, Korean, Chinese and Middle Eastern markets, and later expand to Europe and other parts of Asia, the automaker said in a statement. The Genesis brand will identify itself with a new wing-shaped emblem, a reimagined version of the badge worn by current Hyundai Genesis models. That’s in addition to a new alphanumeric naming convention combining the letter “G” with a number, for example the “Genesis G90.”
Hyundai says the Genesis brand will “distance itself” from the “technological overload” of other luxury competitors, opting instead to focus on a personalized customer experience with “rapid and attentive” responses. To develop a distinct look and feel, the automaker has created its Prestige Design Division led by a former Volkswagen designer whose credits include Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini models.
The first Hyundai Genesis model arrived on the U.S. market for the 2009 model year as a full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan featuring the Korean automaker’s first V-8 engine in a passenger car. It was also Hyundai’s first premium offering at a starting price of more than $32,000, which at the time was quite a lot for an automaker known for economy cars.
The Genesis won Cars.com’s first-ever “Best of” award in 2009 and continued to earn our praise in subsequent model years, but could this separate identity be just what Hyundai needs to truly compete in the luxury market? As Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder noted in his review of the 2015 Genesis, a luxury car is only as luxurious as it is perceived.
“Part of the value among luxury vehicles is the brand cachet — something that varies broadly in the minds of consumers and can’t be quantified in the best of circumstances,” Wiesenfelder wrote. “Even so, Hyundai is a maker of modestly priced vehicles, and though its quality and reputation have soared, there’s a reason Toyota has Lexus, Nissan has Infiniti and GM has a dedicated luxury brand and dealer network: It really is necessary to command top dollar.”