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A sporty Genesis for the price-conscious crowd

Hyundai’s G70 offers luxury performance at relatively lower cost
Sept 04,2017
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Left: A teaser image of the Genesis G70, which will be unveiled and begin sales on Sept. 15. Right: The G80, top, and G90, already on the market. [HYUNDAI MOTOR]
Hyundai Motor on Friday unveiled the latest model under its luxury Genesis brand, the G70, a midsize sporty sedan that’s expected to go head-to-head with BMW’s 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class and Audi’s A4 series.

The car is scheduled to hit the Korean market on Sept. 15 and the United States early next year.

“This completes the sedan lineup of Genesis,” Hwang Chung-yul, senior vice president of Genesis, said at the unveiling in southern Seoul. “The only way to do better than German sedans is to focus on making excellent vehicles. We added a dynamic and younger vibe to the G70, while previous models were more about offering a luxurious feeling.”

The G70, though a member of the Genesis family, comes with a more affordable price and more fuel-efficient engine. The lowest trim starts at 37.5 million won ($33,400). By comparison, BMW’s 3 Series starts at 47.4 million won and the Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class at 49.7 million won.

The G70 engine will come in three types: 2.0-liter and 3.3-liter gasoline turbo and 2.2-liter diesel. It’s the first time Genesis has offered a diesel option, suggesting the brand is trying to appeal more to the economically conscious. Hyundai Motor is considering a diesel option for the G80 as well, Hwang said.

Despite its relatively lower price, the G70’s design and driving performance are well above expectations. The rear-wheel drive car takes only 4.7 seconds to reach 100 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour), about 0.2 seconds faster than Kia Motors’ Stinger sports sedan.

Juh Byung-chul, head of Genesis’ prestige design department, noted the G70’s more dynamic parabolic line connecting the front and back of the car that separates itself from its predecessors.

“The hood has gotten longer and the overhang shorter,” he said. “The parabolic line, a signature design of Genesis, has leaned over to the front to give a more dynamic look.”

The G70 will be the first Hyundai car to come equipped with a voice recognition system developed by Kakao, the tech giant behind Korea’s most popular messaging app. The system will be able to call up addresses of nearby restaurants and other businesses on command. The Kakao system will only be available in Korean models, though Hyundai Motor plans to partner with tech companies in other markets.

Genesis has yet to enter the European market, and Hwang said more market research would be needed before shipping to European countries. “Europe is heavily dominated by three German carmakers,” he said, “so we should be more careful entering that market. It needs a more concrete strategy, and a different approach is required.”

Genesis entered the United States in August last year and has accumulated 20,689 sales as of July this year, with 17,206 G80 cars and 3,483 G90 cars sold. According to the company, Genesis models accounted for 8.2 percent of all luxury cars sold in the United States from January to July this year.

The launch of the G70 is expected to give the brand a reboot in Korea, where sales have slowed since the new car effect from the launch of the G80 Sport in October last year started to fade. In the first half of this year, Korean sales of the Genesis totaled 27,700, a 19.5 percent drop from last year.

In July, Hyundai Motor established a separate business division dedicated to the luxury Genesis brand in hopes of growing its presence abroad.

The division has four departments and seven teams led by former Lamborghini design director Manfred Fitzgerald, who has been with the brand since its start 2015.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]