NZ desired Genesis sports utility breaks cover

Hyundai’s high-brow Genesis brand has finally signalled interest in providing the sports utility the New Zealand distributor has been crying out for.
Tuesday April 18, 2017

By Richard Bosselman

THE seven-seat luxury SUV perceived to be more acceptable to the New Zealand tastes than the sedans and coupes that Genesis has already cited for Kiwi market release has been unveiled at last.

Officially the GV80 that has taken centre stand at the New York motor show is just a concept, a pointer not only toward a new design language called “Athletic Elegance” but also the brand’s interest in hydrogen drivetrain technology.

However already overseas’ commentators are being advised the other-worldly model here is the basis of a full-sized sports utility wagon coming from the Hyundai premier league outfit.

That’s great news for Hyundai New Zealand – though there’s a sobering twist.

As much as the Auckland operation would desire this big rig here right now, in order to tap into the massive swing toward SUV and crossover models, the signal from Seoul is that the production edition is unlikely to come out until 2019.

Still, the brand’s acknowledgement that it needs a car such as this to truly penetrate will be welcome news indeed for Hyundai NZ boss Andy Sinclair, who told MotoringNetwork in May of 2016 that will orthodox passenger cars bring a certain status, he needed an SUV to win significant sales for Genesis.

“Clearly the sports utility is going to be most important,” he said then.

“The fall of the passenger car and the rise of the SUV is obvious, this year the SUV will overtake the passenger car in sales. So clearly, if you have a segment that is growing like that, then you need to be in it.”

It had to be the top paydirt model with potential to be as dominant for Genesis as Santa Fe is for Hyundai, he said then.

“You just have to look at Santa Fe and Tucson – if you combine them then they comprise just over half our (Hyundai sales). So I would expect that if we had a Genesis SUV it might even take more than half of (Genesis volume). It makes sense.”

Genesis established four years ago as a luxury Hyundai sedan, at $99,990 the most expensive car Seoul sells here. It is set to relaunch this year as a standalone brand, as Lexus is to Toyota.

Genesis has always said it was going to include at least one SUV/crossover among the six new models it intends to produce before 2020. But until today it has chosen to reveal just the road-based cars on its agenda: Three sedans and a coupe.

The production GV80 will still be at the top of the eco-drive, with Genesis’ global brand chief saying the showroom equivalent will swap out its hydrogen fuel-cell setup for a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid.

Manfred Fitzgerald also revealed the model is based on the platform used by the Genesis G80 sedan, which is expected to land in New Zealand later this year.

Hyundai has also signalled the Genesis GV80 will be joined by a second, slightly smaller Genesis SUV model based on the platform for another NZ-bound sedan, the smaller G70.

Possibly named the GV70, the all-new Korean mid-sizer will rival the likes of the Mercedes GLC and BMW X3 prestige SUVs.