Hyundai tries its luxe at high end

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US al­ready have an all-wheeldrive op­tion), along with a lux­ury sports coupe.

Of more in­ter­est to the Aus­tralian divi­sion will be the G70 com­pact rear-wheel-drive sedan and SUV, which will com­pete with the likes of the Lexus IS sedan/NX SUV, BMW 3 Se­ries/X3 and Audi A4/Q3.

Thomas says de­tails are scarce: “We don’t even know yet if the new mod­els will be built in right-hand drive” but pre­dicts a Ge­n­e­sis sub-brand could work in Aus­tralia.

“The pres­tige com­pact sedan and SUV mar­ket is boom­ing and, based on how the Ge­n­e­sis sedan has been re­ceived here, we think there’s a lot of up­side.”

Former VW Group de­signer Luc Don­ck­er­wolke, who was in­volved in the styling of every­thing from the Audi R8 Le Mans to the Lam­borgh­ini Gal­lardo be­fore join­ing Hyundai this year, will head the lux­ury divi­sion.

Hyundai hasn’t com­mented on the chas­sis or driv­e­trains for the new mod­els but Thomas pre­dicts they won’t be bor­rowed from the Hyundai range.

“The press re­lease in­di­cates they’ll be be­spoke mod­els,” Thomas says, re­fer­ring to the of­fi­cial line: “Ge­n­e­sis mod­els will boast out­stand­ing driv­ing dy­nam­ics and de­sign, with in­no­va­tions tai­lored to close­ly­meet the needs of cus­tomers”.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lows rev­e­la­tions Hyundai will also de­velop an N per­for­mance divi­sion, mir­ror­ing the likes of Mercedes’ AMG line-up and Lexus’s F Per­for­mance range.

The first hi-po Hyundai will be based on the new i30 plat­form due in 2017.

Hyundai’s move up-mar­ket is a cal­cu­lated risk that has not worked for the likes of Mazda, who failed to es­tab­lish the pres­tige Eunos brand here dur­ing the early 1990s. Nis­san is like­wise strug­gling to gain trac­tion with its In­finiti pres­tige line-up.

Toy­ota’s Lexus divi­sion is the ex­cep­tion as a vi­able stand­alone player in Aus­tralia.

Go­ing up-mar­ket: Hyundai’s ex­ist­ing Ge­n­e­sis model (above); com­pany vice-chair­man Chung Eui-Sun an­nounces the maker’s new lux­ury brand “Ge­n­e­sis” in Seoul dur­ing the week.

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