“Luxury Evolved. Genesis.” Is the tagline when you head over to the Genesis Motors website. They are a completely new car company that was established in the fall of 2015, and is serving as the luxury version of the Hyundai Motor Company. Much like Acura is to Honda, Lexus is to Toyota, and Audi is to Volkswagen, the Korean brand built its own luxury wing, and it does so from the laurels it has earned through the Hyundai Genesis model nameplate.
The faux-Benz, Hyundai Genesis Sedan, garnered much attention by winning the 2009 North American Car Of The Year, the 2012 JD Power 1st place in Vehicle Dependability Study for mid-size luxury car, and also the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick for both 2009 and 2013. The smaller brother of the sedan, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, grabbed a lot of attention for its sporty nature, appealing engine options and performance upgrades, while also coming in at a decent price point. And for miserly buyers who looked for BMW 7-series proportions and Maybach style appointments, the Hyundai Equus was available at a FRACTION of the price, making those features that seem out of everyone’s reach more of an attainable goal. Hyundai looked a lot like an automotive Robin Hood, ready to provide luxurious features for the masses.
For this year’s New York International Auto Show, Hyundai’s newly minted Genesis Motors arrived with the intention of making a bold statement. Starting with the logo that resembles a more modern and evolved version of the Bentley badge. The design team must have looked to other luxury brand logos and thought: “We need something that is already luxurious… Bentley! Let’s just borrow them, sharpen the angles a bit, and let’s slap on the word ‘Genesis’ where the B usually goes. DONE! Let’s go to lunch!”
The booth design was simplistic but luxurious. The dark hickory wood flooring is complemented by the tan wooden-curtain like walls and a white concierge counter with a single Genesis badge, all reminiscent of a trendy two Michelin star restaurant. The booth presentation was well put together and capable of differentiating themselves from the neighboring Toyota booth, a car company that they were squarely positioned against not too long ago.
The staff attitude was similar in nature, cold, as if they were accustomed to only serving high end customers. In fact don’t you DARE mention the Hyundai brand. I asked them if there was an ounce of Hyundai in the cars, and proceeded to give me a look like I had stepped into a soirée I was not invited to. “We are not Hyundai, we are a separate company… Now go away and sit in a Camry.” That last part was not true, but I felt the sentiment, so I went ahead and complied.
Elegant design and a snooty attitude, perhaps the Genesis brand is starting their luxury brand off on the right foot!
Hyundai shall now be referenced to as “The Brand Who Shall Not Be Named.” This would only help Hyundai Motor Company in the long run because the Genesis cars are SERIOUSLY attractive and contains some high end materials and features. The nameplate used to making Elantras and Sonatas cannot be associated with something this elegant.
Following suit of other luxury brands, the old Genesis and Equus models have been given nondescript monikers and are now known as the G80 and the G90. The G90 sedan will come powered with a 420 horsepower 5.0 liter V-8 engine and come equipped with premium Nappa leather, genuine wood accents, and a 360 degree around view monitoring, just to name a few.
The most important part of the Genesis’ presence in the New York International Auto Show was the reveal of their New York Concept. The New York Concept is a sedan with four-door coupe proportions (similar to the Audi RS7 or the Porsche Panamera) donning big wheels and abnormally thin mirrors in typical concept car fashion. The baby blueish paint is complemented with a glimmer of copper in the front and rear fascias and is a good shade that accentuates the subtle design elements of the car, such as the fish scaled brake venting aft of the front axle and the side belt and upper and lower character lines.
The interior design of the New York Concept is further proof that concept cars is all about making bold statements about how human interface is supposed to be (in their eyes) before the engineers and accountants take over and make things more “lame,” or “producible,” or “safe.” The dashboard is a single curved piece of screen that provides real estate for the speedometer, GPS, and other bits of info that supposedly a future person that doesn’t use blinkers would want to know.
The Genesis Motors reveal and presence in the New York International Auto Show are steps in the right direction for the parent Hyundai Motor Company. It’s uncertain what the pricing structure will be for the G80 and the G90 sedans at this point, but since they’re not considered Hyundai anymore, it might behoove them to charge what the big boys (BMW, Audi, Cadillac, etc) do for their wares. If so, this automotive Robin Hood may not be an actual thing anymore.