Speaking at the North American International auto show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Hyundai public relations general manager Bill Thomas told CarAdvice that if given the green light, the Commodore-sized next-gen Genesis sedan would launch in Australia up to a year earlier than the already-confirmed Genesis coupe.
“It would be earlier,” said Thomas of the sedan’s timing in relation to the coupe.
“You might be looking at first or second quarter 2014.
“We don’t have the information to hand when it will start production. What we do know is that [Hyundai] will show the car this time next year at this show [Detroit].
“You would assume the car would be pretty much ready to go from that point.”
The Genesis coupe (pictured below) – currently a 346mm-shorter and sportier version of the Genesis sedan – is not expected to arrive in Australia until 2015.
“Genesis coupe is definitely coming, but that’s up to two years off,” said Thomas. “I would say early 2015, but there’s no precise timing on it”
While the coupe is confirmed to arrive on local shores, however, a final decision on the sedan will be made within months.
“We’re looking at the whole business case. It’s a matter of looking at the business case, and looking at the pricing potential, and all of that is an unknown at the moment,” said Thomas.
“I think it would be within months [to make a decision]. Certainly months rather than weeks…”
The PR boss also outlined the differences between the US and Australian markets as a reason for the decision not being a straightforward one.
“The difficulty is the fact that in America they’ve got more expensive models than Santa Fe, and that leads up in a natural stepping stone to Genesis. In Australia, we stop at Santa Fe.
“They [the US] also have one [car] above that [Genesis], the Equus, which is even bigger. So you can see why it’s a complicated matter for the Australian market to bring in a car like that, to sit right at the top of the brand…
“The American market is used to having that premium car sitting on top of the range. What we’ve got to do is work out how that brand model works for us in Australia.”
The Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis concept (pictured above) shown at this year’s Detroit show is pegged as a “spiritual preview” of the next Genesis, the show car – with aggressive detailing, no B-pillars and suicide doors – not an accurate reflection of the production car.
Introduced in the US in 2008, the current Genesis sedan (pictured top) is 4.98m long, 1.89m wide and 1.48m tall – by comparison, the Holden Commodore measures 90mm less in length and height, but matches the Hyundai’s width.
In the US, however, the Genesis sedan retails as a fully-loaded variant for $46,800, barely $1K less than a BMW 528i sedan, which sells in Australia for $90K. There is, of course, the possibility of introducing a lesser-equipped variant of the Genesis sedan in Australia to curb costs.
“We don’t know how the [next generation] car is going to be priced, or how it will be equipped,” responded Thomas to that scenario.
“We haven’t seen the specifications of the car.”
Consensus among motoring journalists at the Detroit motor show was that Hyundai would need to position the Genesis sedan as a sub-$60,000 alternative to the Holden Calais and Ford Falcon G6E, in a similar position to the Chrysler 300.
The current Genesis sedan uses 3.3- and 3.8-litre V6, and 4.6- and 5.0-litre V8 engines, linked to an eight-speed automatic. Thomas said that if the current engine options were carried over to the new car, then “ideally we’d want the V8 and the V6.
“That will be two engine variants, [but] other than that we don’t know whether there will be individual models within that…”
The decision on variants, and indeed the feasibility of the car itself, will likely come down to the deal Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) can secure from Korea, where the car will be built. While declining to comment on target pricing, Thomas reiterated that the Genesis sedan must be competitive to be viable.
“It’s got to sell. It’s got to make money. It has to make sense from a business case…”