Launching a new car division is tough. A monumental task, you might say. And it has to be executed just right. I’ll give you an example, look at Lexus. When Lexus was launched in the United States, it was a hit. It didn’t take much to separate American drivers from their Cadillacs, Lincolns and Buicks. Now compare this to the European launch. Lexus never really took off. Why? Well, a good reason would be that when Lexus starting exporting to Europe, Germany was making luxury cars to a high standard already, so Lexus was nothing special. Hyundai knows this.
Car and Dealer reports that Hyundai wants to bring the Genesis to the UK. Not a problem, you might say, just get it to European standards and off you go. Not so fast. It’s not as simple as that. You see, Hyundai want to bring the Genesis over to the UK, as a Genesis, not a Hyundai. That’s right; they want this car to be the “tester” of a luxury marque in the UK. “Lexus did a great job in the States, but it never really took off in Europe,” said Tony Whitehorn, Hyundai Motors UK’s managing director, “But the premium route is certainly interesting and it’s one that could work for us with Genesis in the UK.”
Trials are taking places around Europe to see whether European drivers can accept the Genesis as a luxury car in its own right. Ironically, none of these tests are happening in the UK because there are no right-hand drive cars available and there won’t be until around 2012. With regards to how the launch of Genesis would have to be executed just right, Mr Whitehorn was fully aware of the task.
“We would have to be very careful as there isn’t actually a successful model in the UK where a mainstream manufacturer has made a success of premium, ” said Mr Whitehorn, casually forgetting about Volkswagen and Audi, “It would be very brave of us, but despite being a difficult route to market, I think it would be the best one for Genesis.” Well, good luck. I can’t see Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi giving up one of their biggest markets easily.
Now here is one thing to remember: When Lexus entered the U.S., the Germans were jittery about a low cost luxury opponent. There is a lot of reverse snobbery in Europe. Ostentatious consumption (Maybach comes to mind) is out, smart shopping is in. Women proudly pronounce at parties that they bought the outfit at H&M. Take Hyundai’s expertise at building good cars at low cost and couple that with the new free trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union about to kick in, Germany may have a formidable opponent on their hands. Viel Glück, Deutschland.
No, you won’t get it in two-tone. Picture courtesy motorauthority.com/