Hyundai has decided to do what many have been suggesting for some time – make Genesis a standalone brand.
The clues have hardly been subtle since the Genesis sedan made its debut in 2008 – it’s always had its own branding, set the design language for the rest of the line, and even its rear-wheel drive platform never really fit the mould of the cheap-and-cheerful front-drive Korean company. Since its introduction, it has seemed perfectly logical for Genesis to have its own branding because its design cues have never really been accommodating to the ever-growing stylized H.
Now, Hyundai has announced that Genesis will become its own brand in the Hyundai family, overseeing a stable of six models by the end of the decade (with the core values of luxurious refinement, balanced performance, athletic design and human-focussed innovation). Hyundai showed off the HCD-16 “Vision G” Concept Coupe, to point the way to future family of premium products, prior to the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The roll-out of the new family is promised before the end of 2015, most likely with the already-branded 2016 Genesis sedan.
“We have created this new Genesis brand with a complete focus on our customers who want smart ownership experiences that save time and effort, with practical innovations that enhance satisfaction,” said Euisun Chung, Hyundai Motor Company Vice Chairman, further promising that although the brand would use existing technologies like driving aids, convenience features and connectivity, it will steer clear of the technological overload in the present market’s luxury brands.
Besides the already established logo (slightly modified from that on the current Genesis sedan), the new line will have its own distinct design language, naming structure (alphanumeric, starting with the letter G and followed by 70, 80, 90, etc., depending on segment) and customer service, which we take to mean dealer services separated within existing Hyundai dealerships – a luxury showroom within the Hyundai space, if you will, as outlined in company’s current Global Dealership Space Identity dealer design project.
Design of the new cars will be overseen by Luc Donckerwolke (formerly of the Volkswagen Group) under the tutelage of Hyundai’s corporate design chief Peter Schreyer.
“In creating the design signature of Genesis brand cars, we set out to display confidence and originality, creating highly desirable products that present new charm through innovative styling and proportions,” said Schreyer.
Some industry observers have in the past suggested the higher upmarket Azera and Equus should probably be included under a Hyundai luxury umbrella, differentiating themselves from the affordable models like Accent and Elantra.
According to Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, and confirmed by Hyundai Canada, a new generation Equus (which also already had its own distinctive branding instead of the Hyundai H) is launching in December 2016, and arriving in North America in the first half of 2016 as the G90 – the first car in the new Genesis line. it will be followed later in 2016 by the G80 – the rebranded current Genesis sedan.
Hyundai Canada's PR Manager Chad Heard said the current Genesis Coupe will not play a part in the Genesis brand and no other mainstream Hyundai product will rebranded, which shoots down some current speculation that a Santa Fe version will join the Genesis family. The Yonhap News Agency story did say that a luxury SUV is part of the 2020 timeline, as is a mid-sized sedan (G70?) and a luxury coupe (hopefully similar in design to the Hyundai HND-9 Venace concept introduced in Seoul two and a half years back).