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Hyundai preps Genesis and N sub-brand strategy

N factor: Hyundai’s Australian engineering team will be involved in tuning the forthcoming i30 N’s suspension, and will also turn to the forthcoming new Genesis models as they reach the market next year.

New luxury and performance models in 2017 to shake up local Hyundai brand strategy

Hyundai logo15 Jul 2016

THREE significant new models coming next year will see Hyundai separate its luxury Genesis and high-performance N sub-brands from its mainstream product range, but how the Australian subsidiary presents these models to customers is still being discussed internally.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI-rivalling i30 N hot hatchback, BMW 3 Series-challenging Genesis G70 compact sedan, plus a lightly facelifted version of the Hyundai Genesis large sedan – to be renamed Genesis G80 – are all confirmed for local arrival.

N-branded versions of the burgeoning Genesis range are also in the pipeline.

However, Hyundai Motor Co Australia (HMCA) chief operating officer Scott Grant revealed to GoAuto this week that the company had not yet decided how Genesis and N models will be sold to buyers.

“(In 2017) there are new products coming from Hyundai, some products coming under the N badge, some products coming under Genesis,” he said.

“Next year the N sub-brand will apply to a range of products, one of them will be i30 and one of those will be across the Genesis range and others in time.

“(They) will definitely be a Hyundai and sold through current Hyundai dealers.

Whether we change the internal presentation for that product (N) it’s possible and there’s some debate and discussion going on about that right now.

“How do we best, from a product point of sale perspective, represent the credentials of that product? No decision has been made.”

Mr Grand did admit, however, that of the 165 national Hyundai dealerships, the current 80 dealers selling the Hyundai Genesis would be reduced to “40 or 60” next year, although it remains unclear which dealers will sell N products.

Hyundai Motor Company has revealed images of a prototype camouflaged i30 N driving around a racetrack accompanied by a video focusing on audible pops, crackles and bangs from a sports exhaust system.

The production version of the third-generation i30 will debut at the Paris motor show in September, and it is this model on which the i30 N will be based next year with a likely reveal at the Geneva show next March.

It is expected to use a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels. Hyundai has shown both manual and automatic transmissions installed in prototypes featured in teaser videos.

The US market, meanwhile, would be the focus for the Genesis G70 that also has not yet been globally revealed but is tipped to lob at the Detroit motor show in January.

Mr Grant confirmed the Genesis G80 large sedan update would arrive in local dealerships in March, while the G70 compact sedan – previewed by the ‘New York Concept’ released earlier this year – and i30 N would follow in the second half of 2017.

He further revealed that performance versions of the rear-wheel-drive Genesis models were being planned, although it is unclear whether those models will also score N labelling.

“There will be some N products on Genesis, no doubt,” Mr Grant said.

“I believe the new model the G70, the 3 Series-type product, will be the first vehicle to move forward (with a performance version). That’s coming, for sure, next year.

“The current vehicle badged the Hyundai Genesis will be badged Genesis G80. In about the first quarter of next year (it) will go through a minor facelift change. That will be in the market as is, and then there will be another smaller Genesis, the G70, come to the market in the second half of the year, and that product in time will have an N series.”

Asked whether the G70 could rival the BMW 3 Series in terms of pricing and positioning in the Australian market, Mr Grant said: “It might be better, I don’t know. The exact details are still emerging, the N concept and Genesis concept are a sort of work in progress.”

HMCA will be given more details about the shaping of performance versions of the Genesis during the second half of this year, Mr Grant explained.

“The exact products that are coming for right-hand drive in some of those cases are not yet final, but as the second half of this year unfolds those will become clearer. Next year will be a very exciting year.”

While V8 versions of the current Genesis large sedan are reserved for right-hand-drive markets, it is expected future versions of the Genesis G70 and G80 will use the 272kW/510Nm 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine currently reserved for the G90 limousine sold in Korea and the US.

Asked whether HMCA’s Australian engineering team would be involved in the tuning process of both i30 N and the Genesis G70 and G80 models coming next year, Mr Grant replied: “Oh yeah, absolutely.” “They are already involved in every product we have access to,” he said.

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