What’s the class's view on Hyundai’s tactical approach with its Genesis saloon and coupe? Are we sorry they’re not coming to the UK? Would we honestly consider buying one if they were? More importantly, do we think launching these cars as Hyundais was right?
I’m asking because I’ve just been greatly impressed by the Korean’s company’s 4.6-litre V8 saloon. This car has an abundance of performance, it’s very well screwed together and very nicely kitted out, and it’s pretty much as accommodating and refined as saloon cars get. If a luxurious, good quality motorway cruiser was on your shopping list, and brand allure wasn’t a factor – and if Hyundai UK was offering the opportunity, of course – you’d seriously consider buying one over a £35,000, six-pot 5-series or E-class. Be mad not to.
But brand power matters a great deal to buyers of executive saloons. Many strive for years just to progress up the corporate ladder far enough to get a shot at a 520d or E220 CDi. Hyundai’s just not in a position to motivate buyers like that.
So shouldn’t it have gone the Lexus route, and created a premium brand under which to launch these cars? Well, look at the trouble and expense that Infiniti is having to go to just to roll out in Europe: you need to recruit a whole new dealer network, to spend millions on advertising and creating awareness of your new brand. And with so little cash washing around, now clearly isn’t a great time to do all that.
Talk to company insiders, though, and you discover that Hyundai knows it’ll have to do all of that eventually. For the time being, it’s simply testing the water; showing the world that it’s well capable of competing with the big boys, and planning for the great big global ‘Genesis’ brand introduction with the next generation of its executive saloon and V8 coupe.
Seems like the right idea to me because, come the proper launch in 2015, the Genesis saloon and coupe will have an existing following, and the financial climate should be less of an issue. There’s even talk of a V8 diesel engine in the works. Maybe Hyundai’s got it sussed after all.