The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is on its last legs, with the Korean brand planning to retire the left-hook rear-wheel-drive coupe at the end of the 2016 model year.
The current Genesis Coupe (read our 2013 review here) was originally introduced as something of a successor to the Tiburon sports coupe of the late 90s and 2000s - though it was never produced in right-hand drive, and thus never made it here.
The two-door coupe currently takes on the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and Subaru BRZ in North America, but unlike the Genesis sedan - which will be renamed G80 under the new Genesis brand - the ageing and already facelifted Genesis Coupe will not be updated under the new luxury subsidiary.
It’s not all bad news, however: Hyundai plans to release a Genesis-badged coupe by the end of the decade, though it will be more focused on luxury than performance.
According to a leaked product roadmap seen in May, Genesis will launch a ‘near luxury sport coupe’ around 2020.
While little details have been released about this upcoming sports-luxury two-door, it’s believed the new Genesis coupe will maintain a similar size to the current car, as it will share its underpinnings with the yet-to-be revealed G70 mid-sized sedan - which will slot under the Genesis/G80 mid-size sedan.
“[The Hyundai Genesis Coupe] was dressed up very nicely, it was a really nice car, it’s a nice performance vehicle and stuff, but it really wasn’t what we call a luxury car. [The new Genesis coupe] is a luxury car off a luxury platform,” he said.
The Hyundai America boss added that a convertible version is also on the wishlist, but there are challenges in the company’s home market of Korea.
“It’s an ongoing battle,” he said, “it’s funny - just because the weather isn’t conducive to a convertible in Korea we have a hard time getting their attention on convertibles.
Zuchowski said a convertible could prove popular in markets like the US, just like offering all-wheel drive.
“It’s a big part of sales volume [in the US], and to compete we really have to have one. But we haven’t got any commitments on that yet,” he said.
“It’s sort of like us with all-wheel drive: with the Genesis when we were only rear-wheel drive, 85 per cent of the market didn’t buy rear-wheel drive in some of the biggest markets in the US, and as soon as we got that all-wheel drive out there, our sales exploded and we did really well in New York and Chicago.”
The absence of the Genesis Coupe from 2017 will leave Hyundai without a traditional rear-drive sports coupe in its line-up for the Korean and North American markets.
Hyundai will launch Genesis as a stand-alone sub-brand next year, with the G80 sedan (formerly known as the Genesis sedan) to be the first model launched locally.
Speaking with CarAdvice this week, Hyundai Australia communications manager Bill Thomas said the G80 mid-sizer would be joined by the smaller G70 sometime in the second half of 2017 - which will take on the established German trio consisting of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Thomas added the G70 is a candidate for the new 3.3-litre turbocharged V6 first already seen in the larger G80 Sport and G90 sedans overseas, however could not confirm right-hand drive availability at this stage.
Meanwhile, it's unlikely the same engine will be available locally in the larger G80 Sport, as chances of right-hand drive availability are slim at this stage, which makes that option an unlikely starter in Australia. However, the G80 will still receive a comprehensive update inside and out as part of the car's rebirth as a Genesis-branded model.
On the topic of the upcoming Genesis SUV models and 'G70 Coupe', Hyundai's local representative said the brand is very keen to add to the local range, provided these models are produced in right-hand drive, especially considering Australia's growing love for the high-riding wagons across all segments.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more Genesis updates in the coming months.