Genesis Brand to Land in the U.K. in 2018
Crossovers and SUVs have been identified as the first models to hit the marketby Kirby Garlitos, on
Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand isn’t expected to reach the U.K. until 2018 as the Korean automaker is planning to slowly enter the European markets as part of its long-term strategy in the region. U.K. chief Tony Whitehorn explained the rationale to Autocar, saying that Hyundai’s newly created luxury sub-brand will be eased into the U.K. instead of being set up as a separate brand from Hyundai altogether.
“The Genesis of today is more of an American car, but there are models coming that are more suitable for our market, such as the crossover and SUV,” Whitehorn said. “When we bring out the SUV, there will be more interest.”
The crossover and SUV models have been identified as the primary models that will hit the market in large part because of the demand for them in the region. They’ll be build in right-hand drive from the start and would be introduced to complement the range of models that parent company Hyundai is already offering. The sedan models are expected to follow suit, although no timetable has been set for when they’ll hit the market.
The decision to bring in the crossovers and SUVs first comes as a form of acknowledgement that entering the U.K. and European markets is a trickier proposition than the U.S. That’s largely tied into the dominance of British and German manufacturers in those markets and the importance customers in those regions place on the “heritage” that comes with those brands.
So Genesis, in Whitehorn’s words, is going in “gently” in those markets with the objective of introducing the brand as a fresh alternative to the establishment. It’s not a far-fetched strategy at all and given how much success Lexus had when it ventured into those same waters before, it’s a game plan that comes with low risks and high rewards.
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Slow but steady lines you up for contention
Considering that the Genesis brand has already launched in the U.S. and that the G80 and G90 sedans are set to hit the market in a matter of weeks, it is a little surprising that the U.K. market is going to have to wait at least a year before it sees its own Genesis models go on sale. But it makes a little bit of sense now after U.K. boss Tony Whitehorn explained that the crossovers and SUV models will be the first models to go there.
For now, it appears that the automaker isn’t prepared to bring the G80 and G90 sedans there and from my end, it’s the smart move to make since both might have difficulty competing against the likes of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi off the bat. The SUVs, on the other hand, are a different story. They’re the most popular vehicle segment in the U.K. and European markets and a fresh brand with fresh offerings that has the backing of Hyundai will likely resonate more in those markets compared to the sedans.
Once the Genesis brand is established enough that the company feels comfortable about expanding its lineup, that’s when it’s going to bring out the sedans and possibly the coupe versions as well. No timetable has been set on that front, but we do know that the company is already working on the G70 sedan to be a direct rival to the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class. Who knows, once that model arrives, it might immediately hit those markets with its big brothers in tow.