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Hyundai Genesis: Conservative Sedan Holds Promise for Interesting Future Product

Hyundai’s First Luxury Sedan is Packed with Impressive Specs
Hyundai unveiled the production Genesis luxury sedan that was previewed last year in concept form at the New York Auto Show. The production version has hardly changed except for the front and rear fascias; it’s a pleasant looking big sedan that definitely pays homage to some of the more aspirational luxury cars out there, albeit in a most conservative manner.


No doubt, this is one impressive Hyundai. It’s the first rear drive Hyundai in North America (if you don’t count the Canada-only Stellar from the early 80s). It’s got a tremendously sophisticated five-link independent rear suspension, one of the stiffest chassis on the market, fantastic interior accommodations and build quality, and even – lo and behold – an available 4.6L V8 that cranks out 368HP, on regular fuel! This writer, having driven several prototypes throughout its development, can confirm that the drive experience is nothing short of truly impressive.

Big Sedan Presents Interesting Dilemmas
Genesis, as impressive as it is, presents Hyundai with a couple of interesting quandaries. First, it gives Hyundai its fifth sedan in the lineup. no other brand in the US has so many sedans. Does this mean that Hyundai is casting a wider net with greater sedan variety and hence stands to gain significant incremental volume? Or does it mean that, in a market where sedan volumes continue to shrink, that Genesis sales will interact strongly with other sedans in the Hyundai lineup, particularly the similarly sized Azera?


The second dilemma that Genesis creates relates to its price positioning relative to its brand. Starting at around $30,000, this isn’t a cheap car. Consumers haven’t been racing to buy the similarly priced Veracruz, despite its critical acclaim. The Hyundai brand unfortunately still faces demons from its past that are hard to shake off. So in other words, Hyundai is faced with selling a car that really pushes the brand’s upper limits and resides in a declining market segment. Not an easy or enviable task, no matter how nice the car.

RWD Platform Holds Promise for Future Product
However, looking beyond this conservative large sedan bodystyle (created to fit into Korean-market executive sedan hierarchy; this would be an upper management chauffeur-driven car in Korea), one can see some potentially exciting things to come for Hyundai. Hyundai has strongly hinted that the Genesis platform will underpin multiple new exciting RWD products in the near future. We already know of the stylish Genesis Coupe that was shown in close-concept form at the L.A. Auto Show. Given Hyundai’s steep learning curve, we can’t wait to see what other platform derivatives are in the pipeline. We’ve got a feeling that this sedan is a harbinger of far more exciting things to come from Hyundai.

1 Comment

  • jerry stephens| February 22, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    What happened to the Genesis that was at the Orange County Auto show? The one shown in your article does not have the same interior or dash and the rear end taillights and exhaust tips are different and ugly. I really was looking forward to this car to the point where I had forestalled the purchase of an AZERA, now I am wondering why? What a let down.
    Now you’re reporting the V8 will cost over $40,000, you lost me now. If i am going to spend that much, I may as well get the Dodge Challenger with the big Hemi. Oh yeah I know its a different market offering but when you’re talking that much money, you have to ask yourself what it is you’re paying for, V8-RWD-Fast-Unique new Headturner.
    Oh well, after having purchased 4 new Hyundais in the last 5 years I guess the party’s over.

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