The Hyundai Genesis is set to be one of the stars of the Detroit Motor Show in January 2014, but Auto Express has learned right-hand drive versions will almost certainly be sold in the UK.
The Genesis goes into full-scale production within the next few weeks, prior to appearing in showrooms in America and other left-hand-drive countries early next year. Right-hand drive versions will go into production in the second half of 2014.
In an exclusive interview with Auto Express at Hyundai’s world headquarters close to Seoul’s infamous Gangnam district, the company’s international sales chief, Edward Lee told us that no formal decision has yet been made about whether Genesis will be sold in Britain.
“We’re still studying the market, and we’re about to study it more. So we really haven’t decided yet," said Lee. “But we have decided that we’re definitely going to build right-hand drive versions of the all-new Genesis as early as next year.”
When asked why the company would not sell its all-new flagship model in Britain, the most famous and lucrative right-hand-drive market on the planet, Lee couldn’t or wouldn’t say a word, thereby adding further weight to our understanding that the deal is effectively done already. Which means British buyers will almost certainly be offered Genesis - at around the same price (£30,000 and up) as the Jaguar XF, one of its most obvious rivals.
However, Lee sounded a strong warning to his Hyundai UK division, stressing it needs a “good strategy” to make it [Genesis] work in British showrooms.
“Remember they [Hyundai UK] have never had to sell a luxury car before. One of the many questions I’m asking is ‘how do you like to sell this car to customers in Britain’”.
One of the options open to Hyundai Korea, working in conjunction with Hyundai UK, is to establish Genesis as an upmarket sub-brand which could be sold from classy stand-alone showrooms, in the same way that Lexus cars are sold away from outlets belonging to sister company Toyota.
So far only saloon and coupe versions of (old shape) Genesis have ever been sold, mainly in America. But further variants are inevitable over the coming years.
The outgoing Genesis has won many awards in North America and other parts of the world. The company has its sights set on being a strong contender for the coveted World Car of the Year title in 2015, by which time UK sales should be underway.