Hyundai import has premium aspirations

Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe could arrive in Australia as early as next year.
Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe could arrive in Australia as early as next year.

HYUNDAI will target driving enthusiasts rather than budget buyers for the first time in Australia, after confirming it will import the company’s rear-wheel drive Genesis Coupe.

The sporty two-door could go on sale locally as early as 2012, as the brand seeks to attract younger buyers with a more aspirational product.

The boss of Hyundai Motor Company Steve S Yang seems to have ruled out the rear-wheel drive Genesis sedan for Australia, which has V6 and V8 variants and is part of the brand’s experiment to see if it can appeal to buyers of luxury cars, such as BMWs and Audis.

“The right-hand drive coupe will be available for Australia and other RHD countries. But at the moment we don’t have any plans for the RHD Genesis sedan (for Australia),” he said.

“We are trying our best to meet the customers’ needs all over the world – but we have to think about profitability. Yes, we know there is a market for the RHD sedan for Australia – and maybe Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa. In total, how many of the RHD do you think we can sell? Maybe we can sell 1000 to 2000 to Australia.”

He concedes the niche coupe version of the Genesis will probably sell even fewer cars but emphasised Hyundai’s desire to appeal to younger buyers.

“We know there are customers looking for this segment. Total volume will be very small but we are very interested in developing the RHD coupe.”

The Genesis Coupe is the spiritual successor to the Tiburon coupe that sold in Australia until last year – though the Tiburon was smaller and front-wheel drive. The Genesis Coupe sells in the US and Korean markets with a choice of a turbocharged four-cylinder or 3.3-litre V6 engines.

Drive tested the Coupe in South Korea last year, with mixed impressions.

Yang’s support for a right-hand drive version of the Genesis coupe gives Hyundai’s Australian arm an opportunity to install a halo performance car in its range, to complement the smaller Veloster coupe that will comes to Australia later this year.

“We’ve been pushing for a Genesis product for some time, so it’s good news that we’re going to be getting a Genesis model in Australia,” said Hyundai Australia spokesman Ben Hershman.

“It’s been a desirable element because Genesis represents the progression of the brand.”

Topics:  lifestyle motoring

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