On Wednesday Hyundai finally announced what many have been speculating for years: that it will spin off a new luxury brand under which it will sell its Genesis, Equus and Coupe models. The brand will be named after the most popular model of the three, the Genesis, taking advantage of the name recognition it has earned since its 2008 debut. It will be the first major luxury brand created since Infiniti, the last of the Japanese luxury brands, came to the market in 1989.
So, what should we think of this? Does Genesis have a chance to succeed in the increasingly crowded luxury market, or does it not have a snowball’s chance in hell? Here are three reasons why I think it could succeed:
1. The existing cars already sell well
Assuming the new brand does not change its models’ pricing drastically from the off, it’s reasonable to expect that the sales performance of Hyundais Genesis, Equus and Coupe models are a good prediction of how well the new brand will do. And the signs are very good – the models have sold globally pretty well from the very beginning, especially the BMW 5-series sized Genesis sedan, whose 2nd generation launched in 2014 practically doubled the model’s sales between 2013 and 2015. The three models combined could sell 100,000 units in 2015, not bad given that Infiniti barely cracks 200,000 globally after 25 years. And the new Coupe and Equus are right around the corner.
2. Hyundai has been doing it right from day one
The single biggest pitfall upstart luxury brands created by large manufacturers can fall into is that they rely too much on platform-sharing with its mainstream cousins. Think most Acuras or the atrocious Infiniti QX4 (Nissan Pathfinder), G20 (Nissan Primera) and I35 (Nissan Maxima). Instead, Hyundai invested in a proper RWD platform from the very beginning (the first it did itself) and the results show – the Genesis, Equus and Coupe were all instantly differentiated from the mainstream Hyundai models.
3. They hired Luc Donckerwolke to head the design
A big part of Hyundai and Kia’s recent sales success has come from its design, masterminded by father-of-TT, Peter Schreyer. Not keen to rest on its laurels, the company poached another of VAG’s wunderkinds, Luc Donckerwolke, to head up the Prestige Design Division. You could hardly do better than the man who reinvigorated the design of three separate brands under VW’s umbrella: Lamborghini (Murcielago and Gallardo), Seat (Leon) and Bentley (Conti GT, Mulsanne and EXP10 Speed 6 concept).
But, what do you all think? Leave us a comment below and make sure to vote in the poll: