Hyundai still considering a Genesis subbrand to further distinguish its upscale cars

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 7, 2012

Hyundai wants to create a more significant distinction between its upscale cars and its mainstream vehicles and to accomplish this, the automaker is considering a plan to market its premium vehicles under a Genesis subbrand. Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of sales for Hyundai Motor America, said that this proposed move would replace Hyundai's round "H" badge with a new badge on rear-wheel-drive premium vehicles, such as the Equus, Genesis sedan and Genesis Coupe.

These upscale vehicles would get the Genesis badge with an alphanumeric naming system.

Hyundai dealerships will sell these vehicles instead of through a separate dealership network. He added that the company is studying if using the Hyundai badge on premium vehicles would improve or reduce sales. He clarified that Hyundai hasn’t decided yet about the rebranding. In 2011, the combined Genesis and Genesis Coupe sales increased by 13% to 32,998 vehicles compared to 2010 sales.

In the car's first full year of sales, Hyundai sold 3,193 units of its $60,000 Equus luxury sedan. Zuchowski said that the company had hoped to sell 2,300 units last year. Zuchowski said that the luxury brand that Hyundai is considering won’t be a separate sales channel comparable to the Lexus, Infiniti and Acura lines.

He added that many Genesis buyers are replacing the Hyundai badge with a winged Genesis badge as a dealer-installed option. Hyundai doesn’t have a sold timetable on the creation of a Genesis subbrand. However, Zuchowski said that this will come at the same time as the redesigned versions of the Genesis and Equus, which are likely to arrive in 2013 as 2014 models.

Hyundai Genesis sedan continues to be the leader in its segment, with improvements to its exterior design, its Lambda V6 engine’s new direct injection technology, new 8-speed automatic transmissions, and an enhanced chassis tuning. A new 5-liter direct injection V8 engine is also exclusively available with the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec model, which also includes 19-inch alloy wheels, optional summer performance tires (Michelin Pilot Sport PS2), and sport-tuned transmission, as well as suspension and steering calibrations that give you exhilarating vehicle dynamics.

Powering the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec model is its new Tau V8 engine, which delivers 429 hp at 6,400 rpm and a torque of 376 lb. ft. at 5,000 rpm. The Tau V8 engine is Hyundai’s most powerful engine yet, with an 85.8 hp/liter output, higher than its normally aspirated premium luxury rivals. Moreover, this 2011, Tau V8 engine has been included in Ward's “Ten Best Engines,” now for the third consecutive year.

The sedan’s 5-liter cylinder bore increased from 92 millimeters to 96 millimeters over the 4.6-liter bore, producing a total displacement of 5 liters (5,038cc). Aside from the higher displacement, direct injection technology was also added. This high-pressure injection system (over 2200 psi) increases power and torque while also lessening fuel usage and emissions.

Additionally, the compression ratio increased from 10.4 to 11.5:1 to provide greater thermal efficiency as well as output. The Tau engine now has a revised bed plate, too, for better block rigidity, as well as lower NVH, camshaft carriers, and roller timing chain in order to improve valve train stability.

This new V8 offers all the premium engine technologies offered by the 4.6-liter V8. These technologies include Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing or the D-CVVT, which is a tuned variable induction system, as well as low-friction diamond-like coatings or DLC on piston skirts, tappets, and rings.

Even with these power increases, the new Tau V8’s fuel economy is estimated at 16 mpg for city driving and 25 mpg for highway driving, nearly matching the figures delivered by the 4.6-liter V8 (17 mpg for city driving/26 mpg for highway driving). Additionally, this same 5-liter Tau V8 with 8-speed transmission is replacing the current 4.6-liter as standard powertrain in the new Hyundai Equus luxury sedan, which will be available this summer.

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