Hyundai is considering special badges for its higher-end models such as the Genesis Coupe that will be eventually sold in Australia, but the company has ruled out creating a luxury sub-brand that would be the South Korean brand’s answer to Toyota’s Lexus.
The company’s North American subsidiary has told US media that it is having an internal discussion to determine whether the Hyundai name will help or hinder sales of its more expensive vehicles.
Hyundai Motor America is considering the option of replacing the familiar oval ‘H’ badge on its more premium-focused, rear-wheel-drive models, which include the Equus limo (second picture from bottom), Genesis luxury sedan (below) and Genesis Coupe (main picture) that are left-hand-drive only and sold in limited markets, including the US and Hyundai’s home country.
“There’s a conversation going on within the company that says, ‘Does having the Hyundai badge on the premium vehicles sell more vehicles, or does it restrict us from selling more vehicles?” Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America’s vice president of sales told industry journal Automotive News.
Hyundai says it’s only a discussion and that no decision on the rebranding has been made, while the company is ruling out an entire new sub-brand or even a separate dealer network.
“Hyundai has no plans for a separate premium or sub-brand,” Hyundai’s director of global public relations, Frank Ahrens, confirmed to CarAdvice. “Genesis and Equus – and the newly redesigned Azera – are key to Hyundai’s efforts to raise our brand to what we call ‘Modern Premium’ level. As such, our luxury vehicles remain part of the Hyundai brand.”
A Hyundai Australia product planner, Roland Rivero, had told an Australian media outlet late last year that the South Korean brand was planning to introduce a luxury brand called Genesis to Australia from 2013.
The plan was vehemently denied by Hyundai Australia’s public relations and marketing departments and Rivero resigned suddenly just weeks after the story was published.
CarAdvice believes Hyundai had seriously been contemplated a sub-brand but has decided the Genesis sedan and coupe models are too important to be cut off from the main, mainstream brand.
Hyundai has already confirmed the Genesis Coupe will come to Australia with the next-generation model, due in 2013 or 2014, that will this time to built in right-hand drive as well.