The Australian launch of the upcoming Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan will be a redefining moment for the South Korean manufacturer locally as it seeks to lift its brand perception to the next level.
The rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis sedan is set to arrive around November this year and go head-to-head with luxury models ranging from the three German brands as well as locals such as the Holden Caprice.
Although pricing is yet to be announced, we expect the Hyundai Genesis to start somewhere above $50,000, with the two-model lineup to safely escape the circa-$60,000 luxury car tax threshold.
Hyundai Australia’s chief operating officer, John Elsworth, told the Australian motoring media in South Korea today that the Genesis is a branding car for Hyundai in Australia and not a model the local operation is expecting to make huge money from.
“This is not a car that we’re intending on maximising profitability on,” Elsworth said. “It’s a brand statement, it has to be introduced to the market at the right price, the right value equation and if that means that we minimise our margin, so be it.”
In some European markets the Hyundai Genesis is priced against the likes of BMW’s 535i, which has a local price of about $115,000. That would suggest the local operation is likely selling the car at a near-loss to get the branding message across the line, with the majority of buyers likely coming from other brands.
“There’s lots of conquest business because we don’t sell this sort of car, so you really have to poach from other manufacturers.”
Elsworth admitted Hyundai Australia has gained a lot of confidence that it can sell more premium vehicles based on the success of the top-spec Hyundai Santa Fe, which retails for more than $50,000 and accounts for more than half of Santa Fe sales locally.
“There’s not many people that would’ve thought the Santa Fe would’ve sold as well as it has at the top end.”
The majority of Hyundai’s 165 Australian dealers will be expected to set up a special section for Genesis models in their showrooms with sales staff undergoing special training to better deal with the new and more informed customers expected.
Australia will only take the Hyundai Genesis with a 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine (232kW of power and 397Nm of torque) driving the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. It will sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds.
In other markets a 5.0-litre V8 (left hand drive only) and 3.3-litre V6 is also available.