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by Matt Campbell

All mainstream and luxury car brands seemingly need SUVs to survive, and new premium Korean offering Genesis is no different in that regard.

The company has already announced it will have two SUVs globally in 2019, and locally in Australia by 2020. There’s been a glimpse of what to expect with the GV80 concept, a model name structure that is expected to carry over to the first new-generation SUV from Genesis.

Genesis senior vice president, Manfred Fitzgerald, said that it was a conscious decision to establish Genesis in the fields where luxury marques traditionally battle hardest – sedans of a few different sizes.

“If you would be looking for a flash in the pan, and short-term success, I guess you would go with the volume-maker – and that is, right now, the hottest thing on the market, SUVs,” Fitzgerald said.

“That’s no news – but we’re here to do something else. We’re here to establish ourselves as a true and competent player. That means you first have to start at the top: a passenger car, we did that with our G90 in 2015. Then the G80, and now the G70 which completes our passenger car line-up.

“In quarter one we showed in New York what we have in mind to do in the SUV segment with our concept car there, the GV80 concept. That’s the road that we’re following.

“We’re not so much focusing on sales volume, or the quick success there, but rather playing it step by step and really getting some ground under our feet,” Fitzgerald said.

Albert Biermann, the man in charge of driving performance for Genesis cars, said that SUVs are a staple for luxury car buyers these days.

“People buy these huge big SUVs, of course,” he said. “We announced the two SUVs and they are let’s say, we want to establish Genesis as a luxury brand and a premium brand, and so if you want to play with them, you need to go there, where they [the customers] are.

“We will have SUVs based on the rear-wheel drive platform. The G80 is on a bigger platform, and we’re working on the successor of the G80. So we have many options.”

Scott Grant, Hyundai Motor Company Australia chief operating officer, said SUVs are “critical” for the brand’s success locally, but he said the sedan range has its part to play, too.

“G80 [currently sold as the Hyundai Genesis] is a typical four-door sedan which is nowhere near as popular as it used to be. But I still think it has relevance, it’s almost like a beachhead to try and establish a brand. I think it’s important from those points-of-view. But G70 gives us a volume opportunity to get some cars into people’s hands and get them on the road. And those two elements form the pincer move to enter the marketplace.

“After that we’ve got a series of additional products that Genesis is looking at, looking to launch worldwide over the next few years and we look forward to those coming to Australia.”

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