Hyundai Oz chasing Genesis sedan

Hyundai’s Genesis sedan has been launched in Korea, and it may not be too long before we see it on Australian roads — just as our home-grown rear-drive heroes commence their fall into oblivion.

Hyundai Australia spokesman Bill Thomas reconfirmed the local arm’s interest in the Euro-inspired Genesis, though he declined to comment on the effect the move away from large, local rear-drive sedans has on the business case. “We’re currently in several rounds of research on the Genesis Sedan…to establish where we should position the car, both in terms of branding/marketing and pricing/competition,” he said.

As previously reported, Wheels understands that Hyundai Oz will favour a pricing strategy that apes its North American counterpart, where the current Genesis has been on-sale since 2008. In the US, Genesis is priced as a 3 Series, C-Class and A4 rival, but has size and specification to rival 5 Series, E-Class and A6.

Thomas is confident the Genesis would compete with the prestige establishment locally, as it has in the US. “It’s worth noting that of all Santa Fe SUV sales in Australia, 42 percent consist of the most expensive Highlander version [$49,990 MLP], so people are prepared to pay fifty grand for a Hyundai at a price that they consider good value,” he explained.

Responding to speculation that Genesis could come to Australia as a luxury standalone brand — as Infiniti has for Nissan — Thomas was adamant: “No. As in other markets, Genesis is a Hyundai and would be sold in Hyundai dealerships. The car has been very successful in the United States, with more people turning to the brand as time goes on.”

The figures bear this out. Full-year US Genesis sales grew from a full-year 21,889 in 2009 (both Sedan and Coupe models) to 33,973 by 2012.

Four engines were announced at the Korean launch, ranging from a 3.0-litre direct-injection V6 to a 313kW 5.0-litre V8. An eight-speed auto is standard across the board. Rear and all-wheel drive options are offered, with the AWD versions getting a sport mode to divert more drive to the rear.

What Australia gets — if anything — remains to be seen.

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