Hyundai Genesis Going For The Moon

Posted by: David Kiley on August 20, 2008

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Hyundai Motor Co. executives boldly say they expect to sell up to 50,000 of its new premium Genesis model in the U.S. market when both the sedan and coupe versions are both on the market.

“I think it’s reasonably achievable,” Hyundai vice president for product development John Krafcik told reporters.
Krafcik said Hyundai could sell up to 20,000 of the sedans and 30,000 of the coupes a year.

If the South Korean automaker can pull it off, it would be quite a turnaround from a decade ago when Hyundai was still at best a compromise, and at worst a joke, in American living rooms and driveways.

The Genesis sedan, which starts at $33,000, went on sale in late June in the United States. Production of the coupe model will start in December in Korea.

Hyundai said today it expects to release its first hybrid in the U.S. as early as 2010, featuring lithium-ion battery technology, Krafcik said. Hyundai will offer a hybrid version of the Sonata sedan for American consumers.

Hyundai has had a mixed bag of sales success this year. The cheaper cars—Accent and Elantra—are way up, 56% and 25% respectively. Sonata is up just 6.2%. Hyundai’s upscale aspirations are slow going. The Azera sedan sold 12K through August, down 12% from a year ago. Santa Fe is down 15%. The Tucson small crossover has been lost in the marketplace. Veracruz, a premium SUV that can sticker close to $40k has only sold 7K through August.

Though I have not yet driven the Genesis, the reviews from some of my peers have been very good. Consider what Edmunds.com said: “With badges removed, the Genesis could easily pass as a Lexus or Mercedes-Benz…anyone shopping in the $30K-$40K entry-level luxury sport sedan segment would be remiss if they didn’t give the 2009 Hyundai Genesis serious consideration.

Good luck with that 50,000 thing.

Reader Comments

Schmeltz

August 23, 2008 9:31 PM

David Kiley said: "Good luck with that 50,000 thing".

My thoughts exactly. VW tried the same thing with its Phaeton. That was a hard flop and a tough blow to VW's ego. The Phaeton was probably a fine crafted vehicle, but the clientele for the higher end vehicles don't seem anxious to visit dealerships offering low end golfs, or in this case Accents and Elantras. They favor exclusivity. Toyota saw this early in the game and provided Lexus as an answer.

I just don't know about Hyundai's endeavor with the Genesis. It seems like history may be repeated.

Graham Hoagland

August 25, 2008 11:38 AM

Toyota didn't see anything but Honda five years ahead of it with Acura. Toyota is a master of adaption but not risk taking

Graham

August 25, 2008 12:54 PM

Comparisons with Volkswagen are probably moot. The important difference here is price. Volkswagen wanted 80 thousand plus for it's Phaeton. The Genesis cuts that in half six years later. The gap between the Korean manufacturer and the rest of the world's automakers in perception of quality and durability has nsrrowed considerably but market timing is bad considering fuel costs. If the Genesis is seen as an alternative to luxury vehicles costing tens of thousands more and gas prices stabilize for awhile its possible that Genesis will have some success.
As an aside please note that Toyota created Lexus because of the success of Honda's Acura division (introduced some five years earlier).

Josh

September 3, 2008 5:37 AM

Yes, the comparison with the Volkswagen Phaeton is not valid. The value position is quiet different. VW was offering more for more/same (or the same if you compare the vehicle with the Audi A8) while Hyundai is offering more for less.

What I see is that VW has not priced in the brand discount while Hyundai is offering a significant discount.

Charles

September 17, 2008 5:46 PM

Wow, You Go Hyundai !

Wait'll they strap this powerplant into their new, 2800lb sports sedan WHOA !!

Move over Vettes !

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