Hyundai Genesis to Be At Detroit Auto Show
By Brendan Moore
The other shoe has finally dropped at Hyundai, and that shoe is the Hyundai Genesis, Hyundai’s entry into the large rear-wheel-drive V8 luxury market. The production-model Genesis will be shown at the NAIAS on January 13.
The Genesis is the first RWD car from Hyundai ever. It’s also the first Hyundai available with a V8 engine. The base engine is a V6.
There are three engines available: The base vehicle has a 3.3-liter V6 producing 264 hp and 233 pounds-feet of torque. A 3.8-liter V6 and the 4.6-liter V8 produce 290 hp and 368 hp respectively, with the V8 going to the flagship of the Genesis lineup.
It is not hyperbole to state that the introduction of the Genesis is the current culmination of years of desire within Hyundai to be somebody respected and important within the ranks of automakers worldwide. Hyundai officials say that the Genesis will compete with cars like the forthcoming Pontiac G8 and the Chrysler 300, but they engineered the car to meet or exceed the specifications and performance parameters of cars like the Lexus GS, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Infiniti M and the BMW 5-Series.
Of course, it bears pointing out that the moment may not be as perfect for introducing a new luxury car as Hyundai might hope. New car sales in the U.S. are expected to drop in 2008 and there is the specter of ever-higher gasoline prices as well. Hyundai’s retail challenge with the Genesis may also be compounded by the fact that it will be sold alongside their low-priced entry-level cars like the Accent instead of in a stand-alone dealership like other luxury cars. And that’s not all – even those Hyundai dealerships are rarely by themselves, often sharing lot space as one of three or four dealerships within the same street address, thereby making it even tougher for the Genesis to get the attention it needs from salespeople and prospective buyers.
Nonetheless, most auto industry analysts agree that Hyundai needs to start moving upmarket, even if that move is not met with immediate success. The Chinese auto companies are looking hungrily at the low-end market worldwide, including the U.S., and the Indians will not be far behind the Chinese.
Every trim level in the Genesis model line comes with a six-speed automatic transmission that can also be shifted manually. The six-speed auto in the V8 model is made by ZF Friedrichshafen AG, the German manufacturer that supplies transmissions for many German luxury makes.
All trim levels also come standard with the following safety equipment: stability control, eight airbags and an electronic active head restraint system.
The car also comes standard with a leather and wood dash with inputs for iPod and Bluetooth, a Lexicon 500-watt stereo with 17 speakers and standard XM radio that up until now, you could only enjoy if you were sitting in a Rolls-Royce.
Hyundai says the base model of the Genesis will come in under $30,000 USD and the V8 model will sticker for less than $40,000 USD.
I believe this is what economists call a “disruptive market force”.
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