HYUNDAI has revealed it wants to appeal to more Genesis buyers with premium models that could include a high-performance luxury SUV and a BMW 3 Series-rivalling small sedan.
“We’re looking at a lot of things,” Hyundai USA boss Dave Zuchowski told Wheels. “There is white space in the premium segment.”
Zuchowski highlighted a Porsche Cayenne-fighting seven-seat SUV and an entry-level 3 Series sedan rival as the types of luxury models the South Korean car maker would likely tackle next, to sit alongside its slow-selling Genesis that is popular in the US but so far has not been as well received in Australia.
“The two real spaces we’re looking at are [SUVs] … and entry-level luxury,” said Zuchowski. “We’re looking at all that stuff.”
He said the SUV, in particular, provided an opportunity to expand Hyundai into developing a more performance focused model.
“We love the idea of a premium [SUV],” said Zuchowski, adding that it may not be based on the Santa Fe, but could be an all-new model using the rear-drive platform of the Genesis.
“That’s not even determined yet,” he said. “We’re having discussions about whether you’d do a Genesis-based … even bigger … more performance-based, more [Porsche] Cayenne type of vehicle.”
He indicated the earliest any new model would break cover would be about 2017.
As to whether the new Hyundai luxury models would expand the Genesis family or usher in new names, he said it was undecided. But using the Genesis badge – with its winged logo – would make sense.
“There’s a nomenclature discussion that has to happen,” said Zuchowski. “If you’re going to add more premium products, dealers and the OEM themselves can only manage so many model names.
“If you are going to expand into premium it probably doesn’t make sense to come in with five new names.”
He also said Hyundai was conscious of expanding too quickly and with too many models.
“We’re trying to be very smart about that,” Zuchowski said.
Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.