Posted by: David Kiley on August 20, 2008
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.