Most people still have no idea that Hyundai is launching a luxury brand.
Even those that have been paying attention may have failed to realize that Hyundai has killed of the Genesis and Equus models. Both models will live on of course, but under a new luxury brand called Genesis and with new names. The Equus has become the G90, and the Genesis is now the G80. Hyundai hopes that this name change will silence the naysayers who would never compare a Hyundai to a BMW. Hopefully the Genesis brand can help Hyundai compete against Japanese brands like Lexus and Infiniti, and even the mighty German marques.
So far, the G80 will come in three different trims. The 3.8-liter V6 can be paired with RWD for $41,400, or AWD for $43,900. With either drivetrain, the V6 produces 311 horsepower. For $54,550, you can step up to the RWD-only 5.0-liter V8 which has 420 horsepower. All of these trims come with Hyundai's class-leading 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty as well as complimentary service and valet pickup. The G80 should be a nice alternative for people looking for something around the same size as a BMW 5 Series. The base 528i only has a 240 horsepower four cylinder, and still costs around $9,000 more than the new G80.
Even the Cadillac CTS, which also comes with a four-cylinder as standard, costs around $4,000 more than the more powerful Genesis G80. Clearly the Genesis brand will be able to beat other luxury automakers on price, but we don't think that enough people are excited for the launch of a new luxury brand from Hyundai. This may because, as we said earlier, that most people still don't know about it. By choosing the name Genesis, Hyundai created a bit of confusion surrounding these new models. For a while, we didn't know whether Hyundai was really launching a new brand, or just a sub-brand.
It isn't like Hyundai has gone out of its way to advertise its new luxury brand. Even during the last Superbowl, Hyundai showed commercials that featured the 2016 Hyundai Genesis, not the Genesis G80. If the company knew that this change was coming, why not advertise it better?
We really like the G80 and the G90 and are especially excited to see if any of Hyundai's Genesis concept cars end up making it to production as a sports car. However, there is still a big question mark on how these cars are going to be sold. It may sound silly, but when you're paying this kind of money for a car, you expect a certain buying experience. If you're sitting in a crowded Hyundai dealership surrounded by people getting credit checks to buy an Accent, you may feel a bit less willing to plunk down over $50,000 on a luxury car. Lexus, Infiniti and Acura all have separate dealerships from their Toyota, Nissan, and Honda counterparts, in order to make buyers feel more special.
These dealerships tend to have nicer amenities that reflect the extra money that customers spent on their cars. So far, Hyundai has not announced any plans to open stand-alone Genesis dealers, which we think may be a misstep. While we're excited to see what the Genesis brand has in store, we don't think that Hyundai has made the smartest moves (so far) to prove that it can be a true luxury contender.