Korean brand will show an upmarket, rear-drive, V8 saloon at New York show
13 March 2007

Having introduced its new and improved answer to the Ford Focus at the Geneva motor show, it seems that Korean car-maker Hyundai is moving on to an altogether more ambitious target. If the first sketches of its latest concept car are anything to go by, Hyundai is planning a new large executive saloon aimed squarely at the Lexus GS, and the American-market Acura RL and Infiniti M45. Hyundai has just released sketches of the concept car it will unveil at the New York motor show in April, the Concept Genesis. It will be a departure for Hyundai in its styling, but even more so in its market positioning. That's because the Genesis is a V8-powered, rear-wheel drive, large saloon car and, if built, would be a landmark in the maturity of one of the fastest-growing car brands in the world.At present, the biggest saloon Hyundai sells in the UK is the Mondeo-sized Sonata. In the US, it sells a bigger one – the Azera – which is more accommodating, it says, than a BMW 7-series. However, both cars are V6-engined and front-wheel drive; the Genesis concept, by contrast, has all the mechanical ingredients that buyers of upmarket four-doors tend to prefer.You can tell from the Genesis's looks that Hyundai has Acura, Lexus and Infiniti in mind as competition for the new car. This concept's high shoulder line, tapered headlights and coupe-like roofline are all cues typical of the breed of upmarket Japanese saloons that have found success in the US at the expense of the traditional American sedan.However, Hyundai won't only be courting American success with this new saloon. Autocar sources have suggested that Hyundai could bring it to the UK as an 'i70', inline with the brand's new naming strategy, and leaving room for the Sonata replacement, badged 'i50', below it.

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