Hyundai takes on premium market with new Genesis
ONCE labelled a throw-away car company, Hyundai has released the budget shackles and launched into the premium sector.
The Hyundai Genesis large sedan starts from $60,000 plus on-roads and is squarely aimed at taking on the world's best.
"We are definitely putting out best foot forward," said Hyundai chief operating officer John Elsworth.
Packed with the latest technology and looking every bit the premium player inside and out, it's testament to how far the brand has come since the Excel era.
Standard kit includes a leather-clad and plush expansive cabin similar in size to a Commodore, a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system and sat nav with a large colour screen.
There are also two option packs worth $11,000 and $22,000 with an array of equipment - which comparatively would cost nearly $150,000 for the equivalent European prestige model.
Helping push Hyundai's point, the marque will host special displays where the Genesis will go on show alongside the Mercedes-Benz E250 and a BMW 528i.
But the greatest challenge will be getting buyers to look past the badge.
Mercedes-Benz corporate communications senior manager David McCarthy said he did not believe there would be much cross-shopping between Hyundai and the traditional luxury brands.
"It's interesting. Genesis we will watch with interest," he said.
"There is an opportunity there in a segment that hasn't been doing well…a new entrant is great because it brings extra attention to the segment.
"It will generate a lot of interest and the reputation of Hyundai is very strong."
The large car segment is contracting, but with the imminent departure of local manufacturing from Ford and Holden a door is ajar.
New opportunities could surface with the vacancy left by the Caprice, particularly for chauffeur driven markets and private buyers who traditionally bought Holdens or Fords.
Hyundai Australia marketing general manager Oliver Mann said the Genesis was charged with the responsibility of further lifting brand perceptions.
"Hyundai has made tremendous strides in the seven years since the first generation i30 was launched and Genesis now signals the next phase of the company's development," Mr Mann said.