Sunday 13 September 2009

Hyundai Genesis, Genesis Coupe and Equus under European consideration (EU)

U.S spec Genesis Coupe
Hyundai is putting its Genesis Coupe through the final stages of technical evaluation before deciding whether to put it into production for the European markets.

The rear-wheel drive coupe has long been awaited for a European launch but a final decision has yet to be taken. The mid-sized Genesis and large Equus sedans are also under consideration for a UK launch.

European vice president Allan Rushforth said: “The final stages of testing are currently being undertaken on the Genesis Coupe. We will be making a final decision on whether to launch it in Europe within the next month.”

Rushforth is keen for the Genesis Coupe to be properly suited to European driving tastes and, in particular, the UK’s.

“If you want to get noticed with a new product in Europe, the best way to do this is in the UK,” he said. “If the Genesis Coupe goes get launched then it would be left-hand drive markets getting it first, but never say never to a UK launch. There would be a big market for it over here.”

Rushforth said Hyundai is yet to test its cars on UK roads but this would change if more specialist vehicles such as the Genesis Coupe, Genesis saloon and Equus were launched.

“Hyundai recognises that it is important to set up a car properly for UK roads due to their general bad quality,” he said.

“I’m not worried about this for the i models as they are pretty durable but when you are talking more specialised rear-drive models such as the Genesis Coupe, then you have to pay close attention to ride and handling. UK buyers like big wheels and firm suspension, two factors which affect ride quality.

“Our technical team would make sure any specialist model would ride properly on UK roads.”

Rushforth said if the Genesis Coupe were given the go-ahead, it would potentially go into production by September 2010. After a decision is made on it, then the attention will turn to the Equus and Genesis saloon, which are at a less advanced stage of technical evaluation.

One Hyundai source said the case for a Genesis Coupe launch in the UK could be made stronger by similar demand for the car in Australia. Both are right-hand drive markets.

“Whereas Europe would get the 4 pot 2.0 litre petrol engine, Australia and the UK would be more interested in the 3.8 litre V6 petrol which suddenly gives the Genesis Coupe more of a market case,” said the source. However, Hyundai's current coupe, the Coupe III was sold with a 2.7 litre V6 engine which got axed earlier this year.

Lotus could be used to fine-tune the three car’s ride and handling should a European or UK launch be confirmed. Hyundai will also launch a replacement for the Coupe III, primarily for the European market.

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