November 05, 2015 12:42
Hyundai on Wednesday announced plans for an independent brand named Genesis that will target the luxury car market.
Hyundai hopes to penetrate a market dominated by Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi with a combined 66-percent share.
Hyundai in a press conference Wednesday said the Genesis logo will become completely independent of the Hyundai emblem, similar to Toyota's Lexus badge.
Currently the Genesis is a Hyundai model.
But Hyundai vice chairman Chung Eui-sun vowed to develop the Genesis brand into a premium badge of honor.
The automaker plans to roll out six cars under the Genesis brand by 2020, with the first one due out next month. The models will be labeled with the letter G plus numbers. The first one will be called the G70.
Hyundai hired former Bentley chief designer Luc Donckerwolke to lead the Genesis design. Donckerwolke, who formerly worked for Audi and Lamborghini, will join Hyundai early next year.
Hyundai is mainly hoping to stay ahead of Chinese and Indian automakers, which are catching up quickly in terms of market share and quality.
"Hyundai has succeeded in the market for affordable, high-quality small and mid-sized vehicles, but it now needs to mature into a premium automaker," said Koh Tae-bong, an analyst at Hi Investment and Securities.
Toyota (Lexus), Nissan (Infiniti), Honda (Acura) and Peugeot Citroën (DS) have embarked on the same path, while competition is intensifying for premium cars around the world.
"The Genesis currently accounts for a mere 0.9 percent of global market share. If it is to develop into a separate successful brand, the automaker will have to spend astronomical amounts of money on marketing and dealerships," warned Lee Hang-koo at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.
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