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Geneva show: Hyundai Genesis SUV on cards

Book of Genesis: Hyundai could consider using the Genesis name on a premium SUV in the future.

Hyundai could develop Genesis SUV, but will not take on Lexus or Infiniti in Europe

Hyundai logo5 Mar 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON in GENEVA

HYUNDAI could leverage its experience building popular SUVs such as the ix35 and Santa Fe to develop a ‘Genesis’ branded SUV in the future, according to the company’s European vice president.

The Genesis sedan had its European debut at the Geneva show this week alongside the Intrado crossover concept, and when asked if the company had plans to further develop the Genesis brand to SUVs, Hyundai Motor Europe vice president and chief operating officer Allan Rushforth said it was “maybe” something Hyundai would look at.

“I think theoretically if you look at our individual product awareness, it has historically been highest in SUV which is our heritage,” he said.

“Public awareness of Hyundai tended to correspond with their awareness of our SUVs. Theoretically the gap between those vehicles and where we want to be with Genesis is less than perhaps some of the vehicles that came later and still have a reputation to build. And I suppose that’s a long way of saying maybe.”“When you look at this product here (Genesis) then there is clearly a chemistry which says, Genesis, our reputation for SUVs in Europe and Intrado together could deliver something of interest for European consumers. I can’t give you specific commitment to build Intrado tomorrow but who knows.”

If the company went on to develop such a model, it could take on other premium SUV offerings such as the Volvo XC60 or Range Rover Evoque.

The Genesis sedan was unveiled in production guise at the Detroit motor show earlier this year and was quickly given the green light for the Australian market where it will go on sale early in the third quarter this year.

Mr Rushforth said Hyundai is not intending for Genesis to be a dedicated sub-brand at the level of Lexus in Europe, but it is expected to be something of a halo model for the Korean car-maker on the continent.

“Please understand its not our intention to do what Lexus or Infiniti have done in Europe with Genesis. It’s an opportunity to sell cars in their hundreds, but really to showcase what we are capable of technically for the European consumer and leverage our brand, no more than that. And that for the moment is where Genesis starts and finishes.” Hyundai ripped the covers off its stunning HND-9 sports coupe concept at the Seoul motor show early last year, previewing the next-generation Genesis coupe that has remained a Korean and North America-only proposition in its current generation.

Hyundai’s Australian arm quickly put its hands up for the model when it reaches production-ready status which is said to be late this year or early 2015.

Mr Rushforth said the company would evaluate the viability of such a vehicle in the European market, but it would act as an appealing sports flagship if it did get the go-ahead for sale.

“I think we would have to view each product individually. This is at the heart of the Genesis range, it’s a vehicle built for the Korean home market and the US and that’s where it will generate 50,000 plus sales and profits that will inevitably come from the vehicle. We will be very selective about which products we use to demonstrate what we are capable of technically.”

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