Monday, December 20, 2010

Hyundai Evaluating the Creation of a Separate Genesis Brand to Compete with Lexus, May Build a BMW 3-Series Rival

If you were wondering what's next on the Hyundai and Kia Group's agenda of world domination, the answer is the addition of a third brand to the firm's portfolio to compete head on with Japan's Lexus and Infiniti, and possibly even Germany's finest, including BMW and Audi.

The luxury arm would most likely be called Genesis and include the South Korean firm's current rear-wheel drive offerings such as the Genesis Sedan and Coupe, plus the soon-to-be-launched onto the American market, Lexus LS-rivaling Equus.

The automaker, which saw its U.S. market share increase by an overly impressive 50 per cent in the past two years, would further enhance the range of the Genesis brand with a compact sports saloon in the likes of BMW's best-selling model, the 3-Series, and a crossover utility vehicle to compete with the Lexus RX 350.

The creation of the luxury arm is more than just a thought as John Krafcik, president of Hyundai Motor America, told The Wall Street Journal that the company has two branding scenarios under consideration.

The first and most likely to happen would be for Hyundai to launch the Genesis as a sub-brand and sell the cars in separate parts of its own showrooms. The other is to follow in the footsteps of Lexus and launch the brand into separate dealerships. One third option would be for the company to develop the aforementioned sedan and SUV models but keep the Hyundai branding for the time being.

"One of the keys to this plan is how well the Equus does. We don't need to make a decision for some time", Mr. Krafcik said on the branding question during an interview with journalists.

While Hyundai remains open to all options, Mr. Krafcik said that he is most concerned about launching a spin-off brand due to the costs related to the creation of a new network of dealers and that the company would need to make an additional $6,000 in revenue per each car sold by the outlets.

There appears to be a lot of enthusiasm among Hyundai dealers who are almost certain about the creation of the Genesis brand.

"The dealers are excited about the Equus, and it being the lynch pin for this Genesis brand," said Scott Fink, an owner of two Hyundai dealerships in Florida. "We feel like we can do what others have been unable to do. We think we can sell a luxury brand within the house of the mainstream brand."


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