Hyundai Motor revealed the first sport-utility vehicle (SUV) under its Genesis brand on Wednesday, move analysts stated was an important move for the automaker’s expansion in overseas markets.
The brand spun off in 2015, is an initiative of Hyundai Motor Group heir-apparent Euisun Chung is dedicated to revamping the image of the value-for-money automaker.
However, its sedan-only lineup has limited its appearance in the United States – its biggest overseas market – where consumer preference has moved to SUVs, and where Hyundai has been entangled in disputes with dealerships.
The automaker prepares to release the GV80 SUV in North America in the first quarter of 2020. It expects the model to be part of an empowered lineup that will also head the brand’s expansion in China and Europe where it has yet to make inroads, William Lee, Global Head of Genesis, informed a news conference.
Genesis’ lineup presently comprises only three sedans, which experts stated limits its appeal, particularly with the increased demand for SUVs among younger drivers in recent times.
“Genesis owners are among the oldest in the U.S. market. With a median age of 62, only Cadillac and Lincoln owners are older,” stated Ed Kim, vice president at California-based consultancy AutoPacific, in his interview with Reuters.
“It (the GV80) will … have the role of bringing younger buyers to the brand,” he added.
The brand made progress renovating its U.S. retail network in 2019 after flip-flopping on strategy for independent dealerships to those of Hyundai-branded vehicles which led to legal conflicts with Hyundai dealers.
About 350 Hyundai dealerships in the United States include Genesis showrooms, with about a dozen in the early stages of developing strategies for separate Genesis retail facilities, U.S.-based Genesis spokesman Kevin Smith stated according to Reuters.
More than 70% of Genesis vehicles were sold in South Korea in January-November 2019, and the rest were sold mainly in the United States.