Birth of a New Car Brand
by Sue Baker
Everyone loves the upper-crust cachet of a prestige brand. So now Hyundai is the latest mainstream car maker to add a posh up-scale brand to its repertoire. Get ready to welcome the new Genesis range, which its Korean owners say will deliver ‘human-centred’ luxury, whatever that means.
Genesis is the latest addition to a growing trend for added glamour, higher profit car brands. Toyota already has its Lexus halo marque , dating back to the 1980s. Nissan has Infiniti, born in the same era. Citroen came later to the prestige party, with its DS line only recently established as a separate brand in its own right. So did Ford, with its newly-formed Vignale. So now Genesis joins the list.
There are going to be six models arriving in rapid succession to form the new Genesis range, with the first one appearing next month and the others arriving from next year until 2020. They will be named by combining the letter G (for … oh you’ve guessed) with a number, so G 90, 80, 70 or whatever.
They are intended to compete with ‘the world’s most renowned luxury car brands’. That’s a tough call. It means wooing drivers out of their BMWs, Mercedes, Audis and Jaguars – which won’t be an easy task – into something that will either remind you of the first chapter of the Bible or a 1960s pop group. Will Phil Collins buy one, you might well ask.
It’s just as well that there is some high-end talent behind the formation of the new brand. Design of the Genesis range is going steered by the Hyundai Motor group’s newly-formed Prestige Design Division, overseen by Peter Schreyer.
German-born Mr Schreyer has raced up the management ladder in Korea. He also has a pretty impressive track record of past successes. He is the man largely responsible for the iconic look of the original Audi TT, and more recently has been known as the design chief who has transformed the look of modern Kia cars, with their distinctive ‘tiger nose’ grilles.
Heading the new division, and the key hand on the steering wheel of Genesis styling, will be another highly-regarded design visionary: Luc Donckerwolke. Dutch-born Mr Donckerwolke is leaving his current job at the Volkswagen Group, where he has had responsibility for the design of Audi Bentley, Lamborghini, SEAT and Skoda models, to spearhead the future look of Genesis models.
So how will Genesis fare in the executive car park over the years ahead? Watch this space …
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