Skip advert
Advertisement

'Genesis needs the 'Made in Britain' tag to challenge luxury elite'

In order to truly rival Jaguar, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, Hyundai will need that desirable 'Made in Britain' tag, says Mike Rutherford

Three long and largely successful decades have passed since UK industry and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government jointly invited Japanese makers to build car factories here. Three came. And Honda, Nissan and Toyota are still here.

Fast forward 30 years, and our motor industry establishment and the latest Conservative Government are again leaving the door open for Asian firms to build here. Genesis is the next favourite to set up shop on British soil. Truth is, cars from Korea are generally good, but nowhere near the best or most desirable. And lately there has been an admittance in Seoul that the gap between Chinese and Korean cars is disappearing at a frightening rate (for the Koreans). Also, Korea is now an expensive place to build cars. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

"You just can't get the staff these days - or so say industry bosses"

These and other recent developments aren’t good for Genesis, which must now disassociate itself from the unglamorous and saturated market for cheap to mid-priced Asian vehicles piled high and discounted heavily. My spies in Seoul tell me that as he approaches his 80th birthday, Chairman Chung of Hyundai-Kia-Genesis is finally ready to hand power to son Chung The Young.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

New Genesis G90 2016 review

The heir apparent understands that Genesis models built in Korea and the US lack the necessary cachet and desirability. And he knows that if they don’t possess the increasingly valuable ‘made in Great Britain’ tag which is afforded to the Jaguars, Land Rovers, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces he admires and (eventually) intends to compete with, then brand Genesis can’t even begin to go head-to-head with the best of the best premium/luxury players from England and elsewhere.

Genesis G90 first drive - rear three quarter

Korea has enjoyed vehicle producing links with the UK before. The Panther Car Company made sports models in Essex, while the Kia Elan was built in nearby Norfolk – on a Lotus production line!

• 'Hyundai is great at selling cars, but has to appeal to the heart, too'

The SMMT can’t say whether or not the Korean car industry has been “sniffing around” for a production site in Britain. But the motor and construction industries, Tory Government and several local authorities would love a new Genesis plant here. Failing that, Chung Snr and Chung Jr could easily afford to buy an existing British-based car manufacturing company and factory complex. Stranger things have happened, as India’s Ratan Tata proved when he bought Jaguar and Land Rover and transformed them into the world’s fastest-growing motor industry group.

Do you think Genesis should build cars in the UK? Leave us a comment below!

Skip advert
Advertisement
Chief columnist

Mike was one of the founding fathers of Auto Express in 1988. He's been motoring editor on four tabloid newspapers - London Evening News, The Sun, News of the World & Daily Mirror. He was also a weekly columnist on the Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Sunday Times. 

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

First look at new Hyundai Inster: cheap electric city car to target Citroen e-C3
Hyundai Inster teaser 1
News

First look at new Hyundai Inster: cheap electric city car to target Citroen e-C3

Hyundai’s entry-level EV will be unveiled on 27 June at the Busan Mobility Show in South Korea
11 Jun 2024
Best new cars coming in 2024
Best new cars coming in 2024 - header image
Best cars & vans

Best new cars coming in 2024

There are some big new models from the likes of BMW, Citroen, Dacia, Ford, MINI, Skoda and more on the way in 2024
12 Mar 2024
Hyundai Casper: dinky electric SUV to ghost in as Citroen e-C3 rival
Hyundai Casper (camouflaged) - front 3/4
News

Hyundai Casper: dinky electric SUV to ghost in as Citroen e-C3 rival

Hyundai’s entry-level EV is rumoured to be arriving in Europe sometime this year
5 Feb 2024
Is there a place for hydrogen in the zero-emissions future? Hyundai has the answers
Hydrogen pump
News

Is there a place for hydrogen in the zero-emissions future? Hyundai has the answers

The Korean firm is forging ahead with hydrogen, showing off its latest hydrogen technology at CES 2024
12 Jan 2024

Most Popular

Giant Panda electrified! New Fiat Grande Panda arrives with EV and hybrid power
Fiat Panda - front
News

Giant Panda electrified! New Fiat Grande Panda arrives with EV and hybrid power

Hybrid and electric versions will be available – the same as its sister cars, the Citroen C3/e-C3 and Vauxhall Frontera
14 Jun 2024
New Nissan Leaf is an SUV! 2025 model gets advanced tech and concept car looks
Nissan Leaf exclusive image
News

New Nissan Leaf is an SUV! 2025 model gets advanced tech and concept car looks

The next-generation Nissan Leaf will transform into an SUV inspired by the Chill-Out concept and our exclusive image previews how it could look
16 Jun 2024
Car Deal of the Day: spicy Volkswagen Polo GTI packs a lot of punch for £238 a month
Volkswagen Polo GTI cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: spicy Volkswagen Polo GTI packs a lot of punch for £238 a month

VW’s smallest hot hatch is an impressively grown up car that’s wrapped up in a compact body, and it’s our Car Deal of the Day for 14 June
14 Jun 2024