New Genesis and Sonata are Hyundai’s hope to lift US sales image

Hyundai Motor has just unveiled the revamped version of its high-end Genesis sedan in South Korea and names it as a key model along with the upcoming Sonata family car, to revive momentum in its key home and U.S. markets.

Hyundai, the world’s fifth-biggest automaker along with Kia Motors, is looking to lift its total U.S. vehicle sales by 10 % next year on the back of the release of the new Genesis and, more importantly, the Sonata sedan.

The new Genesis will arrive in U.S. showrooms in the first half of next year, followed by the Sonata, Hyundai’s second best-selling car in the United States.

Hyundai aims to sell 32,000 new Genesis cars in South Korea and 30,000 in overseas markets next year. The Genesis will be sold in Europe for the first time.

“We will remain as a follower if we fail to make cars that can compete with top-notch models. The Genesis has a big significance for us, and at the same time marks a challenge,” Park Joon-hong, a research fellow at Hyundai’s Research & Development Division, told reporters last week.

The Genesis, which was first rolled out in 2008 and won the North American “Car of the Year” the next year, is not a high-volume model like the Sonata, but is designed to raise the company’s image.

“A higher brand value has a ripple effect on sales of small and mid-sized cars. If sales of the new Genesis falls short of expectations, it will hurt the brand, and dampen expectations of the new Sonata due next year,” said Lee Hyung-sil, an auto analyst at Shinyoung Securities.

Although it will come with a cheaper price-tag than its European premium rivals, Hyundai has raised the price of the main V-6 3.3-litre model by 2.3 million Korean won to 52.6 million Korean won ($49,500).

Via Reuters