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Hyundai unveils HCD-14 Genesis concept luxury sedan
[January 14, 2013]

Hyundai unveils HCD-14 Genesis concept luxury sedan

Jan 14, 2013 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Hyundai may expand its lineup of premium vehicles and wants to further differentiate them from mainstream models, John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, said today following the unveiling of a luxury concept.

The Korean automaker used the North American International Auto Show for the global unveil of the HCD-14 concept sedan that provides a first look at the design direction for future luxury sedans.

Elements will show up on the production model of the next-generation Genesis full-size that will be shown next year at the Detroit show, Krafcik said.

And cues will make it into the Equus in the future.

"Another premium model is coming as well." Krafcik called the concept a "guiding light for a whole portfolio of luxury vehicles we have coming." The CEO would not provide details on a third high-end vehicle but suggested it would not be a luxury crossover.

Additionally, there will be a greater divergence between luxury and mainstream models, he said. But there are no plans to spin off a luxury brand.

Krafcik said he likes the way current premium models transfer their halo to the full lineup and force dealers to learn to deal with the pickiest and wealthiest customers, a level of service that benefits all buyers.

The rear-drive HCD-14 concept has a bold front fascia with a deep grille on a car that is long and sleek with large wheels.

"We instilled HCD-14 Genesis with a premium-sport 4-door coupe road presence," said Christopher Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai Design North America.

The car has a rigid chassis, 5-liter direct-injection V8 and 8-speed transmission.

Inside the car, traditional buttons and knobs are replaced by eye-tracking, thumb controls and 3-D hand gestures to access the car's navigation and infotainment system. The windshield heads-up display is designed to minimize distraction and keep eyes on the road. The interface is Hyundai's vision for future vehicles.

The Korean automaker has had five straight years of growth for its two premium vehicles, the Genesis and top-of-the line Equus.

The company has mulled creating a luxury brand but has no plans to do so at this time.

"We've departed from industry convention in many of our premium product, marketing, sales and service approaches, and it's worked out pretty well, with Genesis and Equus now delivering a 9% retail market share in their premium segments, higher than the 5% retail share Hyundai brand achieves in the overall industry," Krafcik said.

Genesis sales in the U.S. have grown from 6,167 in 2008 to almost 34,000 four years later.

The Equus, which has been sold in other regions but not introduced to the U.S. market until 2010, sold almost 4,000 in 2012.

The automaker says its premium sedans are attracting wealthier buyers. Since the Genesis was introduced in 2008, the share of Hyundai buyers with household incomes above $100,000 has increased by 25%.

Krafcik said Hyundai remains capacity constrained but the third shift in Alabama has bolstered inventory of Sonatas and Elantras. He said he knows there will be shortages of the new 7-passenger Santa Fe.

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