Hyundai U.S. CEO John Krafcik said that the automaker still wants to provide an all-wheel-drive version of its Genesis near-luxury sedan but he confirms that a premium brand is a non-starter. During a recent 2013 Genesis Coupe and 2012 Azera media event, Krafcik said that there should be AWD on the next Genesis platform.
Since the introduction of the Genesis sedan in 2008 and the debut of the coupe the following year, the only available configuration of the marquee has been rear-wheel drive.
Hyundai believes that AWD would raise its appeal to the U.S. market, particularly to those who live in cold climates. They match rivaling models that have RWD and AWD like the German and Japanese luxury makes. But Krafcik isn’t so keen on marketing the Genesis and other luxury-leaning Hyundai models, like the RWD Equus sedan, under a proposed Genesis premium brand.
He denies reports that state that this strategy is under way but a premium brand is included in the numerous ideas that they’re studying internally. Krafcik told WardsAuto that there is presently no plan to make a “Genesis sub-brand, full stop.” He said that there’s no plan to revise the Equus and Genesis retail approach since “it’s working.”
He boasted about the halo effect that the cars give to the Hyundai brand. He said that meeting the expectations of richer Genesis and Equus customers is another strategy the automaker hopes to “translate into better sales satisfaction for all Hyundai buyers.” The participating U.S. dealers allot space in their showrooms for the premium cars.
They also drive them to prospective buyers’ homes or offices to be demonstrated. As soon as this is sold, the dealership personnel pick up the cars for service instead of having owners move to the store. Genesis sales increased by 13% last year to a record 32,998 units. At a previous report, Hyundai said that the original plan to sell 50,000 Genesis models annually was based on better times, before light-vehicle sales were damaged by the 2008 economic downturn.
Hyundai didn’t specify the coupe sales figures but it said that 2-door and 4-door sales are typically split 50/50 each month. Last year, the coupe had lower fleet sales than rivals, including the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and Mazda RX-8. In addition, the coupe offered lower incentives than the Mustang, RX-8 and Infiniti G37. [source: Ward's Auto]