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.