Exclusive! Australia to get Hyundai Genesis in 2014

Hyundai will go head-to-head against the German prestige brands with the local launch of the new Genesis luxury sedan next year.

Hyundai’s head of International Sales Edward Lee told Wheels in Seoul, “For sure, we’re planning to launch the Genesis [sedan] next year.”

The confirmation shocked local executives, who’ve been debating the decision for months. Lee, formerly boss of Hyundai Australia, admitted the second-gen Genesis sedan is due to be unveiled before the end of the year. It will probably be at September’s Frankfurt show.

Pricing and specification remain the big issue. John Elsworth, Hyundai Australia sales and marketing boss says, “People are happy to pay $55K for a Santa Fe, so Hyundai can stretch.”

The question is: how far?

In the US, Hyundai has priced the Genesis against the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4, although in size, specification and equipment, it’s far closer to the 5 Series, E-Class and A6.

Expect Hyundai to follow a similar policy here, although standard equipment levels are expected to exceed those of the establishment brands.

Hyundai plans both V6 and V8 versions of the new Genesis with rear- and all-wheel drive, although speculation suggests that the AWD models – and possibly even the V8 – are left-hand-drive only.

Initially, Genesis gets an eight-speed auto with a 10-speeder in the model’s five-year life cycle.

An uprated version of Hyundai’s 3.8-litre V6 will be standard, with the possibility of the upcoming twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6, especially if the 5.0-litre V8 doesn’t make it here. Hyundai has previously only confirmed the smaller V6-only Genesis Coupe for Australia.

The sedan’s fastback, three-window styling is derivative – BMW surfacing with Audi-like surround LED headlights – and only loosely borrows from Hyundai’s radical HCD-14 sedan concept four-door, shown in Detroit (below).

The interior also looks very German, with an auto gear selector that could come from Munich.

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