Hyundai Genesis Supposedly Attracts Luxury Owners

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Hyundai’s Genesis RWD luxury sedan was initially aimed at new luxury buyers, with a $33k starting price that sought to lure upgrades from the Maximas and Avalons of the world. But Hyundai VP for NA sales David Zuchowski reveals to Automotive News (sub) that this strategy has failed. “We thought the vehicle would be a nice interceptor vehicle for someone looking to move up to the first luxury vehicle. What we found out is somebody looking for the first luxury vehicle needs the (established) brand,” says Zuchowski. “Conversely, we are attracting more people from BMW, Mercedes, who are probably tired of paying premiums for the brands.” This year Hyundai hopes to sell 8k of the new luxury model, ramping up to 20k units over the next several years. “Genesis is not going to be a huge volume, but will have a huge halo effect, it will elevate the entire brand,” says Zuchowski. “For years, we’ve said we don’t have a product problem, we have a perception problem. The gap between what people think of our brand and what our products really are is as large as any in the industry.” This perception-gap complaint somehow comes across a lot more credibly from Hyundai then it does from the usual suspects from Detroit. After all, Hyundai has gone from being a Rodney Dangerfield punchline to a BMW and Mercedes sales thief in a few short years. Hyundai was considering launching a Lexus-style luxury brand with the Genesis, and though it hasn’t ruled the possibility out down the road, such a plan is unlikely given the Genesis’ apparently-strong halo effect.

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  • Waftable Torque Waftable Torque on Sep 19, 2008

    I tried the Genesis 3.8 last week, and was quite impressed by how far it's come. Unlike other reviewers, I thought this car's ride is too harsh and firm. Noise suppression is better than my ES300, but the Genesis really isn't Buick-enough for me. Add the fact that it's RWD when its competitors are AWD, it's now off my shopping list. I think either the AWD MKS, S550 or LS460L is probably my next car, though I'll have to drive them in a few months to make sure. And with the crazy price difference between US and Canadian MSRP, I'm likely to cross-border shop just for arbitrage reasons. Still, kudos for Hyundai for making me cross shop it with the luxury brands.

  • DearS DearS on Sep 20, 2008

    I know a bit about myself. I know I value fun and dynamic driving. I value balance and response. I also value a leisurely pace and serene travel. I may never find a car that gives me all this at once exactly like I picture, but I appreciate when I can get some of my needs meet through driving. It is still pretty fulfilling. The Genesis has a long wheelbase, which sacrifice nimbleness given the package as a whole. Less nimble equals slower responses, I think. Its a bit heavy which can strategically placed and suspended induce nimbleness to some degree. I'm still learning so I'm not sure what I'd settle for. I do think its a Genesis I'm looking for. The C300 is pretty close. The 3-series is perhaps too um..impatient. The New A4 looks really interesting. It may be the car most for me. What is important is that I now what is truly significant to me.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Sep 20, 2008

    We just had a 1987 Hyundai Excel this week go through my lane. It had only 48k original miles and was absolutely pristine. Sunroof, automatic, original paint, and at least a dozen people laughing once it got on the block. If this fellow is being honest, Hyundai North America needs to hire some smarter folks in their marketing department. What they're going through now is virtually identical to what Toyota went through with the Lexus LS400. That model's conquests came primarily from Mercedes and Cadillac (not so much BMW) and with buyers who were generally looking for a luxury vehicle at a lower price point. Hyundai NA needs to get on the ball pronto. They ought to be developing or acquiring databases of folks who have owned late model BMW's, Benzes, and several other models that have numerous recalls and reliability issues (Volvo would be a very good add-on in that regard). Heck, they could even get some nice lists from the lemon law remarketers at the auctions. With even the most basic of CRM tehniques, Hyundai would literally have tens of thousands of potential customers for their Genesis. The SRT-4 guy buying one actually doesn't surprise me. You would be surprised how many people put a car on their list based on horsepower. That's one of the many reasons why we have Camrys these days with 268 horsepower. The numbers alone can make people feel 'safe' or 'masculine' depending on the nuances within their mindsets.

  • Billc83 Billc83 on Sep 20, 2008

    After sitting in the Genesis, I can say I would consider it as a replacement for my aging Cadillac. The interior was remarkably upscale, and it doesn't surprise me that it's getting attention from luxury car owners (though people obsessed with image probably won't jump from their Mercedes/BMW/Etcetera). The Hyundai dealer only had the V6 at the time, I'm interested in test driving the V8 when it comes out.