Hyundai’s luxury arm, which has recently been spun off as its own separate brand, is working on producing a large and medium SUV to better compete against its well-established luxury rivals from Germany. However, Australian availability of both models remains unknown.
The first of this new high-riding pair is expected to be an ‘American large’ seven-seater SUV, likely the size of a Cadillac Escalade, which measures nearly 5.2m in length and 2.1m in width. That would put in the upper-large SUV segment alongside the Infiniti QX80 and new Mercedes-Benz GLS.
The second Genesis SUV will likely be a size down, equivalent to the current Hyundai Santa Fe. Even so, both Genesis SUVs will not share platforms with Hyundai models, likely being built instead on bespoke technology with a rear-wheel drive bias platform also available in AWD configuration, as with its Mercedes-Benz and BMW rivals.
It's still unclear if both or either model will be produced in right-hand drive, but it's more than likely that Australia will take both if available.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the New York motor show about the potential for Genesis SUVs in Australia, Hyundai Australia’s public relations manager, Guido Schenken, confirmed that such models would be vital for the brand’s success locally.
“The SUVs obviously have the most volume potential for us, so they are key for the Genesis brand going forward as we expand the line up,” Schenken said.
Currently the Genesis brand is focused on first launching its updated G80 in the middle of next year, which will see the current Hyundai Genesis sedan being facelifted and re-badged, before the G70 C-Class rival arrives. Once those models are out of the way, the SUVs will come more into focus.
“Currently our attention will get towards those [SUVs] after the launch of the G70, we think the Genesis SUV has great potential in the Australian market.”
The Hyundai Genesis sedan managed 540 sales in 2015, up from 163 from its late launch in 2014. From January-February of this year, the Hyundai Genesis has sold 92 units, down 7.1 percent from the same time in 2015.