Hyundai are going to take this opportunity to turn the Genesis nameplate into a stand-alone brand.
This is worrying. The last time someone tried this, the bottom fell out of the market for prestige cars. I am thinking here of the time Mazda tried to catch up with Honda and Toyota and launch the Xedos brand in the wake of Acura and Lexus. Hyundai bravely envisage a range of six models, with design supervised by Luc Donckerwolke. The cars will have their own sheetmetal and distinctive appearance to separate them from the Hyundai range.
Rather than add more features, Hyundai wish to focus on customer service as they feel more complexity is not the way forward. This doesn’t leave much room for manoeuvre in the sense that planning for changes in salespeople’s behaviour is not as easy to implement as getting engineers to build in gadgets and devise different mechanical solutions.
Here’s Hyundai’s proposition: “We have created this new Genesis brand with a complete focus on our customers who want smart ownership experiences that save time and effort, with practical innovations that enhance satisfaction. The Genesis brand will fulfil these expectations, becoming a market leader through our human-centred brand strategy,” said Euisun Chung, Hyundai Motor Company Vice Chairman.”
The astute among you may wonder that if Hyundai are aiming at centring their strategy on humans then what life-forms have Ford, Audi and Kia et alia being dealing with this last long time. A new benchmark in brand speak has been set, if nothing else.
In 1992 Mazda launched the Xedos 6 as a BMW fighter and among its special touches was a nice, small 2.0 litre six. The Xedos 9 came out in 1994 and had a Miller cycle engine. Nicely styled as they were, there was no demand and the brand died in 2000. Mazda’s problems were that the cars were not distinct enough to convince new customers to buy them. Worse, the timing was bad due to a global downturn that sapped demand for more expensive cars. I am rather concerned we’re facing such a situation now. The runes are not good: JCB is laying off staff and when there is less demand for construction machinery demand for other things usually falls, trailing in its wake.