Hyundai to use Genesis name for standalone luxury brand
Hyundai is reportedly planning to create a dedicated luxury division, repurposing the Genesis name to identify a wider family of premium vehicles.
The lineup is said to center around the existing Genesis variants and the Equus sedan. The latter model is expected to be renamed during the transition, several unnamed sources have told Reuters.
The report corroborates rumors pointing to a new midsize premium SUV based on the Genesis sedan platform. Additional details remain unclear, though the model is expected to launch via the luxury division around 2019.
The company avoided establishing a standalone luxury brand when it launched the Genesis sedan in 2008, minimizing costs and risks associated with a separate sales channel. Despite the rebranding, however, the Korean automaker is still expected to use its existing dealer network for both Hyundai- and Genesis-badged vehicles.
Defending the strategy in 2013 as Hyundai rolled out a dealer training program to bolster Equus and Genesis sales, then-CEO John Krafcik proclaimed “we don’t want isolated islands of retail excellence, like Lexus. We want all of our premium knowledge to filter into all of our products.”
The renewed focus on premium branding is said to be related to the strong Korean won and increasing pressure from foreign luxury brands sold at home. The currency valuation has a negative impact on profits for vehicles exported out of the country.
Hyundai is expected to announce the move in the coming days.