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What is Hyundai Doing with Genesis Overseas?

Hyundai’s luxury arm, Genesis, has gotten off to a good start in this country. But what’s going on with it elsewhere?
Posted: July 12, 2017 - 12:16PM
Author: Tim Healey

Well, in the U.K., the Genesis sedan, which we call the Genesis G80 here, is being killed off. Why?

“The Genesis was never built for the European market,” Hyundai U.K.director Tony Whitehorn said to AutoCar. “It was conceived for the Korean and American markets.”

Genesis Sedan Built for America, Korea

That’s a reference to the second-generation Hyundai Genesis sedan, not the Genesis brand, which Hyundai plans to launch in the U.K. at some point in the future. It was once rumored that the brand would launch there in 2018, but now the target date is unclear.

As for the second-gen Genesis sedan, well, it simply did not sell well in the old empire. Just 50 units were sold in two years. By contrast, Hyundai sells 8,300 cars a month in England. So while it’s a small market, it’s not that small, and 50 units is a low number in any market.

Sales numbers for one model are likely not the hold up, however. For one, the current Genesis lineup doesn’t offer any platforms that are easily setup for right-hand drive. For another, the current Genesis lineup doesn’t offer an SUV. That may be more of hindrance here in the States, but having at least one SUV option would certainly help boost sales across the pond, as well.

What Genesis Needs to Do to Succeed in the U.K.

Hyundai figures it needs to sell more than 5,000 Genesis units in a year to justify the expense of a dealer network, and it won’t risk tarnishing the image of its new luxury division by selling Genesis models. That’s especially true in the face of heavy competition from established German automakers like BMW and Audi – German luxury makes occupy places four through six on the list of best-selling automotive brands in the U.K.

Whitehorn is on record as saying the Genesis sedan is kind of an American car, and he’s correct. It’s a large sedan that fits large American roads a bit better. But that doesn’t mean that Genesis won’t find a way to sell well in the U.K. – even large luxury sedans will hold some appeal.

Once the lineup expands, Genesis will have a better shot at overseas success.

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