The 2015 Hyundai Genesis will be one of the stars of the Detroit motor show next week. It's pretty big news stateside and we already know quite a bit about it, but more will emerge as the wraps come off tomorrow night. I did some homework on the new model last week, and Hyundai UK's press team sent me this:
"The new Hyundai Genesis will have its worldwide debut at the North American International Automobile Show (NAIAS) in January 2014.
"It is a vehicle that demonstrates Hyundai’s technological capabilities and shows its ability to produce a car offering high levels of luxury and comfort. It will also showcase a new evolution of Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture Design Language – known as Fluidic Sculpture 2.0
"It is a car engineered primarily for larger global markets like the US and Korea but a limited number will be brought to Europe to illustrate Hyundai’s capabilities. For the first time, the new Genesis will also be available in RHD and as such a small number will be available to order in the UK direct from Hyundai Motor UK Ltd from the middle of 2014."
The previous-generation Genesis went on sale in the USA in 2008. That car was not offered to UK buyers. All of this got me thinking about the differences between Hyundai in the USA and the UK. If you click on the photos above, you will see screen shots of the Hyundai model lineup in each market. A few thoughts:
- The USA has 14 models (not including the Tucson Fuel Cell) and the UK has 13.
- There is only one saloon offered in the UK but there are six offered to USA buyers.
- The USA gets two coupes and the UK has none.
- Ten of the 13 models in the UK offer a diesel but there is no diesel engine available in a Hyundai in the States.
The above tells me a few things. First, the idea that Americans buy saloons and Brits buy hatchbacks is alive and well. Next, Americans still far prefer petrol engines. None of this is a surprise. More importantly, as long as Hyundai gets their powertrains sorted for buyer’s needs and tastes, they have quite a few cars in the hopper that could be tweaked to help Hyundai move upscale in Europe.
Look at the i40. It’s a “European version” of the Sonata saloon offered in the USA. Similarly, if American buyers want smaller cars then Hyundai has models ready and waiting.
You’ll learn more about the new Genesis on Monday evening but it will be interesting to see if the official availability of the car in the UK will be the start of a push to further expand Hyundai in Europe. Sales will be very limited but the Genesis could act as a halo car, building the brand image. Our feature from last week examining 2013's winners and losers talks about Hyundai sales and I have little doubt that the company is indeed staging the next assault on the UK market.