As luxury vehicles become increasingly more affordable and fresh crops of wealthy Millennials begin to want the finer things in life, automakers scramble to realign their priorities hastily trying to prepare themselves for a target market that was almost completely disinterested in the segment a decade back. It’s almost like we’re witnessing a proverbial passing of the torch, where baby boomers hand off the keys to their kids, who now have children of their own, and want a little luxury to go along with all of those family road trips to the beach and weekly hauls to soccer practice.
Nowhere is this phenomena more apparent than within the widely revered world of Korean car kingpin Hyundai, which recently announced in a press release that it would be launching an “all-new global luxury brand – Genesis – that will deliver ‘human-centered’ luxury through a range of new models that feature the highest standards of performance, design, and innovation.” What does this all mean? Just think about how huge Lexus has been for Toyota over the years, and imagine that kind of growth being instilled in a brand that is right now at the top of its game — inspiring articles like the one I wrote on how it became one of the most respected car companies in North America.
Claiming that it will build luxury offerings catering to “a new generation of discerning consumers,” Hyundai looks to make the Genesis brand more of a household name and seeks to launch six new Genesis models that will “compete with the world’s most renowned luxury car brands” by 2020. That may sound like a tall order for a company that just a few years ago was making cars that received bottom-of-the-barrel scores and reviews, but if you peruse this article on how it has slowly infiltrated the luxury market, you will see that there is an extremely sound infrastructure in place already. All Hyundai has to do now is capitalize upon it.
Seeking to create what it calls “a new definition of luxury,” Hyundai says it will embody four key aspects within every single Genesis model, instilling “human-focused innovation, refined and balanced performance, athletic elegance in design, and hassle-free customer experience” across the board. Euisun Chung, Hyundai Motor Company Vice Chairman, perhaps explains this reasoning best by saying, “We have created this new Genesis brand with a complete focus on our customers who want smart ownership experiences that save time and effort, with practical innovations that enhance satisfaction. The Genesis brand will fulfill these expectations, becoming a market leader through our human-centered brand strategy.”
With a new model lineup that will distance itself from its competitors by not focusing so much on “technological overload,” but instead focusing on an extremely personalized, hassle-free customer buying experience, Hyundai looks to go about things a bit differently this time around. But while great customer service is a crucial slice of the pie, and we appreciate that kind of initiative leading the brand redesign before all else, we want to know about the cars we’ll get to drive.
In order to both elevate and differentiate the Genesis brand from the rest of the Hyundai fold, the Korean car maker says that a distinct design identity, emblem, naming structure, and customer service offering will be established. All Genesis models will now be badged with a “wing-type emblem,” which will be a slightly redesigned version of the one currently being used on the Genesis, in the hopes of retaining a certain level of brand recognition during the transition process.
According to the press release, the new luxury brand will also adopt an alphanumeric naming structure, so by combining the letter “G” for Genesis with a number much like European automakers tend to do, Hyundai will tack-on numbers like 90, 80, and 70 in order to represent said segment/trim level. What about the cars themselves? According to Woong Chul Yang, head of Hyundai Motor R&D Center and vice chairman of Hyundai Motor, “The Genesis models will provide technological innovation, excellent driving performance and luxury to customers. Every Genesis model will be created with the needs of our customers in mind, so the resulting car will perfectly meet their needs without any unnecessary burden or excess.”
Hyundai is hoping that its blend of superb ride quality and confidence inspiring sportiness will give it the upper hand. In order to help facilitate this, Hyundai has decided to develop a distinctly different design for the entire Genesis line by creating what it calls a “Prestige Design Division.” Starting in mid-2016, former design lead for Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini, Luc Donckerwolke, will lead this new division in tandem with his primary role as head of the Hyundai Motor Design Center in a head-on approach to engineering. Overseen by Peter Schreyer (president and chief design officer of Hyundai Motor Group), this group of designers and engineers will help craft a brand designed to go toe-to-toe with the biggest names in the luxury game today.
The name “Genesis,” which means new beginnings, is a perfect representation of the values and standards that the brand looks to bring to the global luxury automotive segment. Sales are slated to start first with Korean, Chinese, North American, and Middle Eastern markets, and then expand into previously untouched European and Asian strongholds, as the model range grows in both strength and respectability. The only question now is: Will they be able to successfully steal devout drivers from the Japanese, European, and American luxury brands we know and love so well? It’s called a conquest for a reason, and from the looks of things Hyundai is gearing up for a world tour of unprecedented proportions.