Hyundai kills off Genesis in the UK

The UK says bye bye to the premium South Korean brand and our resident Brit, Automologist MAC, gives us the details. 

Like so many other manufacturers of mass market cars, Hyundai wanted to do something prestigious and so they invented the Genesis brand. Like Lexus and Infintiti before, Hyundai took its base models and made them more luxurious so that we would believe that the automaker was capable of delivering true performance cars. There is one big catch though; the new luxury brand must be sufficiently luxurious to shake off the identity of a budget car manufacturer.

American and European manufacturers have routinely bought more prestigious brands and held them at arm’s length, with a certain autonomy, such as VW’s Bugatti, Audi’s Lamborghini and BMW’s Rolls-Royce. Asian companies had previously tried to develop their own brands, such as Lexus and Infiniti, although of late there is definitely evidence that Asian brands have learnt a lesson, with takeovers of brands such as Jaguar by Tata, and Volvo by Geely.

Now, after fighting valiantly against the European giants, Hyundai has conceded that it has failed to shake off the brand identity of Korean budget manufacturer; well, at least in the UK where Hyundai has decided to pull the plug on the brand. A report in the UK’s Autocar magazine lists the sales of Genesis for the past two years at just 50 units of the Genesis sedan since its launch in 2015, which makes them just about as common as rocking horse poo.

 Not a common sight in the UK.

For a long time, Hyundai in the UK has been the butt of many Jeremy Clarkson tirades. According to Jeremy, a pogo stick is better than a Kia Rio, and the Hyundai Accent should be renamed Hyundai Accident. He has also compared their products as “worse than a cheap lunch” and “a refrigerator on wheels is a better ride”. Not so recently, though, with Hyundai being named “Automaker of the Year”, with the Hyundai i30 being picked as “Best Buy”. So, why can Hyundai not sell the Genesis?

Well, the Genesis was never built for the European market. It was conceived for the American market where large engine capacities still rule the roads. The Genesis sedan was fitted with a massive 3.8-litre engine that put out a rather wheezy 306hp. It is this singular failing that the manufacturer is marking out as the primary reason for failure. I am not sure that I buy it, though, as there are plenty of powerful sedans out there and they all seem to sell well, unless you want to get me started on the VW Phaeton, that is. So, for now I will stick to the failure of raising the brand image to the same level as the Beemers and Mercs and Audis and maybe even Lexuses.

Yes, sir, I see what the problem is……

I am sure that this is not the end of the Genesis brand, so I will leave you with a recent promotional tape for Genesis in the US of A. Pretty impressive stuff really.


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