By on February 5, 2012

Hyundai may really, honestly launch its own luxury brand. In a way, at least, perhaps

For years, Hyundai has been going back and forth over on question: Luxury brand or not? Imitate Infiniti? Do it like Lexus? A la Acura? This conundrum produced millions of Google hits, but otherwise led to nothing. Hyundai may finally cave in and do it. Hyundai’s U.S. sales chief Dave Zuchowski told Automotive News [sub] that such a move could be in the offing. Why? Customers are well ahead of Hyundai and already created a new brand called “Genesis.”

Said Zuchowski:

“There’s a conversation going on within the company that says, ‘Does having the Hyundai badge on the premium vehicles sell more vehicles, or does it restrict us from selling more vehicles?'”

Depending on which way this discussion goes, Hyundai’s “H” badge would be replaced by a Genesis badge on rear-wheel-drive premium vehicles, including the Equus, Genesis sedan and Genesis Coupe. The cars would be branded as Genesis with an alphanumeric naming system.

Zuchowski told AN that many Genesis buyers already replace the Hyundai badge with a winged Genesis badge. It’s a dealer-installed option that costs extra.  For the frugal, rebadging how-tos have been on YouTube since 2009.  Remember: Tailgate version, not hood version!”

No decision has been made, says AN, and no timetable has been set. If a Genesis brand is born, the cars would be sold in Hyundai dealerships, not through a separate dealership network.

Sure, this is how it always starts …

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36 Comments on “Hyundai Creates New State Of Confusion Over Genesis Of Luxury Brand...”


  • avatar
    Joss

    As long as H don’t let their G brand become too much of a drain on resources. Let that fall on the competition…

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm I don’t really have a oppinion about this except I’m very against a “alpha numeric naming system”. Haven’t we had enough of that crap?

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    The Genesis sold in other countries with the wing badges. OEM badges are easily available on ebay and many dealers will throw in the Genesis badges to clinch a sale.

    First thing I did when I brought my 2009 Genesis home was to get on ebay and order a full set of Genesis hood, trunk, and wheel center badges. The “H” on the trunk came off easily with a heat gun and a piece of mono-filament fishing line. A bit of GooGone finished the clean up. The hood and trunk badges just go on with 3M stickum pads. The whole changeover took about 20 minutes.

    By the way, best car I have ever owned.

    I have to keep telling folks “No, it isn’t a Bentley.”

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Obviously people with no interest in cars, or in their opticians recommendations… Anyone can tell a badgeless grille’d Merc from a large Passat…

    • 0 avatar
      pdq

      @Pahaska: “I have to keep telling folks ‘No, it isn’t a Bentley’. ”

      Where do you LIVE that people could actually be so dim as to mistake a Hyundai for a Bentley? And on a regular basis, no less!!

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      In Korea and Japan, domestic luxury cars are sold under their own subbrand with each model having their own unique badging.

      This is why the Equus has diff. badging from the Genesis sedan.

      Toyota did the same thing with their Toyota-badged Lexus models and the Crown Series, as well as the Century.

      Same thing with Nissan with the President and Cima.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    A luxury Korean car?

    I don’t see that working too well in a market that generally considers Korean cars as “cheap”.

    Though, it’d be interesting owning a “Genesis Genesis”.

    • 0 avatar
      BlueEr03

      Way to read the article. “The cars would be branded as Genesis with an alphanumeric naming system.” And since people are already buying luxury Korean cars, you may want to drop that 1980’s mindset of yours and join reality. But thanks for playing.

    • 0 avatar
      naterator

      Reminds me of a Simpsons episode where Homer is sitting on the couch reading a magazine from the ’60s that says on the cover “Don’t Laugh, It’s A Car From Japan!”

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Toyota, Nissan/Datsun, Honda and VW were once seen as “cheap.”

      Times change.

      Heck, it took decades for BMW to build up a luxury image in the US and Audi is still working on it.

      And considering the Genesis sedan outsells the Lexus GS and Infiniti M, I don’t think it’s too much of an issue.

  • avatar
    Toad

    There is a very good reason automakers give their higher end product a separate identity: most consumers do not want to pay premium prices for mid-price brands. I’m pretty practical and I would still have a hard time paying over $40k for a Hyundai; for the same money I could get a very recent vintage CPO E class with more prestige and better resale.

    If you don’t care about prestige there really isn’t a good reason to spend over $40k on ANY car. Hyundai needs a premium label, separate showrooms, and an upgraded dealer experience if they want to get premium prices. Potential Equus buyers don’t want to have the same sales and ownership experience as Elantra buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      FJ60LandCruiser

      The local Merc dealerships in Central Florida have a nearly palatial appearance to them, with vast, airy showrooms, spotless waiting areas (but who needs to wait if they pick up your car and give you a loaner to drive while it’s being serviced), polite staff dressed up like airline hostesses…

      Go to a Hyundai dealership to change the oil in your Equus and they lead you to the Ford dealership next door where you sit next to parolees and baby mommies and have your choice of Highlights or coffee-stained Motor Trends to pass the time.

      For 60 grand, you’d expect some degree of customer service above and beyond watching a disgruntled roofer rant about how the Banks kit his mechanically inept cousin installed with a hammer and zip ties voided the warranty on his F-250 while he spits dip juice into a Leroy Hill coffe cup… and that it’s somehow the fault of the lib’rul gub’ment that Ford won’t give him an new diesel engine and tranny for his trouble.

      • 0 avatar
        Squirrel19

        Go to a Hyungai dealership to change your oil? They come and pick it up for you if I’m not mistaken. Edmunds Long-term test had an Equus and that was the deal. Their loner while it was gone was a Genesis. It appears they also realize the idea of dropping off your car while those poor people buy their elantra’s is in bad taste.

      • 0 avatar
        Bimmer

        If you buy an Equus, you wont have to step into waiting area, as car is picked up from you and you’re given a loaner.

      • 0 avatar
        Chiburb

        Interesting. If I do go to a dealership for an oil change (no charge, 60K/5YRS), I don’t mind rubbing elbows with lowly Genesis drivers. In fact, some of my best friends drive Sonatas and Tucsons! I wouldn’t want to live next door to them mind you, or for my daughter to marry one, but for 30 minutes of service and a wash? No big deal.
        Jeez.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Mercedes S Class owners will soon have to “rub elbows” with “lowly” A-Class owners, but that shouldn’t be a problem since many of them already rub elbows with SMART owners.

      • 0 avatar

        How it s different from Lincoln – also sold in Ford dealership. I did not see parolees though. Who the heck are baby mommies? I mean every baby has a mommy and vice versa.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    I hate alpha-numeric series designations. It seems lazy. Ze Germans may have done it for one reason or another (they’re boring) but the Japanese copying them just seemed trite, and now just about every cool letter and number is copyrighted and tends to get downright stupid when MB gets sued by BMW for calling a Crossover an “M” and has to change it to ML.

    Mind you, none of this crap means anything to the casual car buyer and all the world to crazy car nerds who think a car is good simply because of its designation.

    Then again, maybe the Koreans are on to something. Genesis Coupe is really a halfassed name for a car. And Equus looks like its misspelled and probably refers to a medical condition of the feet.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Wonder if ‘Genesis’ would hire an Acura tech with 10 years experience…? Hmmm…:)

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I posted about my experience at a Hyundai dealer involving these badges in Baruth’s Taurus II thread. Our local dealer told us they were dealer installed because of Bentley trademark infringement.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    As Hyundai hasn’t even bothered trying to sell any Luxury cars over here (and apart from Lexus, neither has the Japanese) I had to google Hyundai Genesis to find out what it looked like. And it looks like a modern first generation Lexus, IE an S-class with a generic grille….
    It’s still years ahead of me to think of Toyotas and Hondas as Luxury cars, allthough Datsun made some handsome large cars in the 60’s/70’s… Koreans, well, Ive tried to say it before, a luxury cars should by default not be a good deal….

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Oh boy! Another car company with an alphanumeric naming system! “It’s practically killed Lincoln, why don’t we do it!” High-fives around the boardroom.
    Good on Hyundai to recognize that the the customers are ahead of them. I drive a Lexus and when I see a Genesis sedan I don’t even think of it as a Hyundai, I think of it as a Genesis.
    If they have any smarts they will simply, and quietly, put only Genesis badges on the RWD cars, don’t be tempted to badge-engineer into Sonata/Elantra territory and step up the materials and build quality beyond Lexus levels. Focusing on building better cars will build the Genesis brand.

  • avatar

    If the Genesis twins and Equus were switched over to a separate Genesis brand, they’re already a better premium label car than Acura. Add a smaller RWD sedan and a crossover and they are right there with the big boys of commodity luxury

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    Well that’s a little depressing if so many people are taking off the Hyundai logo that they’re ready to give up.

  • avatar
    skotastic

    What self respecting car company or car owner would be so embarrased about their automobile that they would want to disguise the make of their car?

    Would a BMW owner do it? Nope
    Would a Ford owner do it? Nope
    Would a Toyota owner do it? Nope
    Would a Ferrari owner do it? Nope
    Would a Hyundai owner do it? Apparantly…

    The Genesis even came out with a fake Mercedes grill and the H badge absent on the front…

    • 0 avatar
      Buckshot

      Toyota already did: Lexus

      • 0 avatar

        And Scion.

        Ford has done it thrice: merkur, mercury and Lincoln

        At least Hyundai has a strong model base if they decide to go this route. Rarely have I seen a Genesis sedan without the Genesis badge, and I see it far more often on the coupe now too. It’s a good looking badge as far as I’m concerned. Has a much nicer road signature than the old H badge.

      • 0 avatar
        skotastic

        The difference is that Toyota and Toyota owners were not ripping off or hiding their Toyota badges prior to the release of Lexus.

        I’d love to hear a Mercedes owner say “My Merc has a much nicer road presence without the three pointed star on the front”.

        Also Merkur was something different – a marketing gimick for European Fords being sold in the USA…

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “Would a BMW owner do it? Nope”

      The nicest BMW isn’t sold as a BMW – they bought Rolls Royce so they could have an appropriate brand in which to sell a $400k BMW sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        And did anyone ever notice that for a short period in time there was a brand called Maybach?

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly – it was copycat of prev gen Mercedes S class. People were replacing Maybach badges with three pointed star (just kidding). All that Maybach thing was to fool dumb (and fat) newly rich Americans, Russians and Chinese into buying outdated Mercedes S-class at twice of price of real one. No matter how dumb new riches are you cannot fool them forever (but being fat is forever).

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Actually, Nissan did a more accurate take of the Mercedes grill up front for the JDM equivalent of the Infiniti Q (btw, note how many automakers are “flamesurfacing” their grill slats, like how Hyundai 1st did with the Genesis sedan; esp. Chrysler with the 300 and 200).

      As for not having nthe H badge up front; Hyundai had TWO diff. grill designs, one w/ the H-badge and one without, and lets the public vote on it.

      The public voted for the grill design for the one w/o the badge which was the right choice since the Hyundai logo is ugly (right up there with the Toyota logo).

      And Mercedes has never complained about the design of the Genesis, unlike say, the Lexus LS430, which the head of Mercedes design at the time had a fit since he thought it was a virtual clone of the S Class.

  • avatar
    Bryce

    Genesis as a brand may work Acura and Lexus cars only exist as badges on ordinary Hondas and Toyotas we get them with other names but numeric naming is stupid like Lincolns MK crap and BMWs M for sucked in

  • avatar
    bd2

    A subbrand would be the smart move by Hyundai.

    This way they can keep the costs of their luxury offerings down; kind of like offering RWD luxury models at the price of FWD Acura models (if not a bit higher, esp. for the Equus).

    Lexus and Infiniti have tried to compete against Mercedes and BMW on price with the GS and M and both have been a failure (the LS sells well b/c it severely undercuts the Germans in price).

    Probably should do a separate showroom and waiting room for the luxury subbrand, but no need to do a separate service bay (after all SMART cars are serviced alongside Mercedes vehicles).

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