Category Archives: Genesis

Hyundai Genesis Received J.D. Power Highest Initial Quality Segment Ranking

Hyundai Nameplate Improves in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study;
Finishes in the Top 10 Overall

COSTA MESA, Calif., June 19, 2013 – J.D. Power announced today that the Hyundai Genesis received the trophy for the highest initial quality in the midsize premium car segment. The award comes from the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). The Initial Quality Study, now in its 27th year, serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality measured at 90 days of ownership. According to the study Hyundai Genesis owners reported fewer problems with their vehicles than any premium midsize car.

“Outperforming all of our competitors in the premium midsize car segment is a reflection of the dedication of all Hyundai team members,” said Erwin Raphael, director of engineering and quality, Hyundai Motor America. “Awards like this demonstrate we’re succeeding in connecting with our customers through an unprecedented combination of premium performance, technology, safety and quality.”

In addition to Genesis’s victory, the Hyundai brand substantially reduced problems per 100 vehicles and finished tenth overall, gaining eight rank positions. The Hyundai overall score was 106 problems per 100 vehicles, seven problems fewer than the industry average. Accent, Sonata and Azera ranked second in their respective segments. The all-new Santa Fe ranked third in its segment.


The 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 83,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2013 model-year cars, trucks and multi-activity vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2013. The study is used by manufacturers worldwide to improve quality and by consumers to help them make more informed purchasing decisions. Throughout the years, initial quality has been shown to be a leading indicator of long-term durability, which directly impacts customer loyalty and purchase decisions.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 820 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. Hyundai Assurance includes Assurance Connected Care that provides Hyundai owners with proactive safety and car care services made possible by the Hyundai Blue Link telematics platform, complimentary for three years. These services include Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Diagnostic Alert, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and in-vehicle service scheduling.

2011 Hyundai Sonata and Genesis Sedan Awarded an Automotive Best Buy Award from Consumers Digest

Consumers Digest Magazine named both the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and 2011 Hyundai Genesis sedan a “Best Buy.” The ratings are based on behind-the-wheel assessment, safety ratings, ownership costs, warranty, price, comfort, ergonomics, styling and amenities. The Sonata is a Best Buy in the Family Car category and the Genesis sedan is a Best Buy in the Luxury Car segment.

“Value, as we see it, is based on purchase price and ownership costs relative to quality, performance and subjective factors like comfort and design,” said Randy Weber, publisher, Consumers Digest. “Few purchases are more important, or require more research, than buying a new vehicle. Our analyses ensure that consumers are as satisfied with their auto purchase years after making it as they were on the day they drove off the lot.”

The Automotive Best Buy Awards reflect Consumers Digest’s view of which 2011 vehicles offer exceptional value for the money. A panel of six automotive experts evaluates the vehicles from behind-the-wheel on an ongoing basis, both under real-world conditions in their own test-drives and at manufacturers’ new-model introductions. They assess design factors including styling, accessories and amenities, cargo space, and fit and finish, as well as performance characteristics including starting and acceleration, steering and handling, ride quality and fuel economy.

“The Genesis has provided ground-breaking value among its luxury competition with lavish appointments and impressive driving performance,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, Product and Corporate Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “The all-new Sonata also upholds Hyundai’s legacy of value with exciting design, best-in-class fuel economy and outstanding residual value. Both cars continue to exceed expectations for consumers in their respective segments.”

For more information and a complete list of award winners, visit


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through about 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.

Genesis Named ‘Best Deal for the Boss’ by

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 02/11/2010 The Genesis Sedan was named “Best Deal for the Boss” in the annual Best Lifestyle Vehicle Awards. This award recognizes the Hyundai Genesis as the vehicle best suited to meet the lifestyle needs of “the boss” including luxury features, driving refinement, styling and prestige all in an affordable package.

“It’s a rear-wheel-drive full-size sedan that offers a luxurious, spacious cabin and V-6 and V-8 drivetrains that are notable for their efficiency and performance,” said editors. “The Genesis comes standard with eight airbags and a stability system to help protect occupants, and it’s available with convenience features like a 17-speaker audio system. On the whole, the Genesis does a remarkable job at delivering the experience of a high-end luxury sedan at a much lower price.”

The Lifestyle Awards recognize new vehicles that best suit the lifestyles of today’s car shoppers, and acknowledge the best cars across a number of categories that car shoppers can identify with based on their personal vehicle needs.

The North American Car of the Year-winning Genesis is built on Hyundai’s performance-driven rear-wheel drive architecture. Genesis offers an array of luxury convenience features including Smart Cruise Control, touch-screen navigation, electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFLS), Lexicon® audio systems and electronic active head restraints.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition from as it reinforces the Genesis ability to compete with the world’s best luxury sedans,” said Derek Joyce, Genesis product manager. “Genesis is the ideal model for car buyers looking for the power, comfort and sophisticated design of a luxury brand, without the expensive price tag.” is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.

Launched in June 1998, is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through almost 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program which now includes the 5-year/60,000 mile fully transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty and 5-year complimentary Roadside Assistance in addition to the highly acclaimed vehicle return policy introduced in early 2009. For more details on Hyundai Assurance, please visit

Genesis and Genesis Coupe Make CarsDirect’s Top Ten Cars of the Decade

CarsDirect Recognizes the Genesis and Genesis Coupe at Number Five on its Top Ten Cars of the Decade Countdown

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 01/08/2010 Hyundai’s Genesis sedan and sportier sibling Genesis Coupe rang in at number five on CarsDirect’s Top Ten Cars of the Decade Countdown. CarsDirect is one of the leading multi-brand online car buying services, providing new and pre-owned automobiles and related products and services. Other cars that made the Top Ten Cars of the Decade Countdown include the Honda S2000, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Corvette, Nissan 350Z, Ford Fusion, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, MINI Cooper, BMW 3 Series and Toyota Prius.

“Even though the Hyundai Genesis didn’t enter the market until late in the decade, it was a game-changer nonetheless. When introduced in 2008, the Genesis marked a huge change for Hyundai,” said Armaan Almeida, automotive editor, CarsDirect. “While the Genesis sedan tackles the full-size luxury segment, its sibling Genesis Coupe takes on sporty two-door cars like the G37 and 370Z. And like its sedan counterpart, it has yet to fail.”

Hyundai’s Genesis sedan, the 2009 North American Car of the Year, sets a new benchmark in the premium car category. With a starting price of just $33,000, Genesis includes performance and luxury features typically found on vehicles costing thousands of dollars more. Using the same flexible rear-wheel drive architecture, Genesis Coupe is Hyundai’s most dynamic performance car ever designed to appeal to true driving enthusiasts. The Genesis Coupe offers a 2.0-liter intercooled four-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 210 horsepower, and a 3.8-liter V6 with 306 horsepower.

“2009 has been a remarkable year for Hyundai and having the Genesis and Genesis Coupe recognized by CarsDirect on its Top Ten Cars of the Decade helps us carry the momentum into 2010,” said Scott Margason, director, Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “The Genesis and Genesis Coupe have proven Hyundai is a brand capable of creating game-changing vehicles and we look forward delivering more quality, stylish and affordable cars in the new year.”


CarsDirect ( is a leading online automotive shopping service and research portal, providing new and used automobiles and related products and services, such as loan and lease financing. CarsDirect is a division of Los Angeles-based Internet Brands (, a leading operator of community and e-commerce consumer websites.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through almost 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program which now includes the 5-year/60,000 mile fully transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty and 5-year complimentary Roadside Assistance in addition to the highly acclaimed vehicle return policy introduced in early 2009. For more details on Hyundai Assurance, please visit

Hyundai smokes the competition

(Fortune Magazine) — On the second floor of the 21-story Hyundai Motor headquarters in the south of Seoul is a 24-hour operations hub, the Global Command and Control Center (GCCC). Modeled after the CNN newsroom in Atlanta with dozens of computer screens relaying video and data, it keeps watch on Hyundai operations around the world.

Parts shipments are tracked from the time they leave the supplier until they reach a plant. Cameras peer into assembly lines from Beijing to Montgomery and keep a close watch on Hyundai’s giant Ulsan, Korea, plant, the world’s largest integrated auto factory and the scene of frequent labor unrest.

Are competitors’ spies lurking? The GCCC watches over Hyundai R&D activities in Europe, Japan, and North America, as well as its sprawling, 4,300-acre test facility in California’s Mojave Desert, with its 6.4-mile oval track.

Almost no outsiders, and certainly no visitors from Fortune, are allowed inside the GCCC to view the operation firsthand. Hyundai employees aren’t even supposed to talk about it. But its existence says volumes about how Hyundai views itself and the rest of the world.

Hyundai is a confident, hyperaggressive company that not only wants to win, it expects to win. By monitoring operations in real time, Hyundai can identify problems in an instant and react quickly. It is a different philosophy for an auto company. Whereas Toyota (TM) thrives on consistency and Honda (HMC) on innovation, Hyundai is all about aggressiveness and speed.

These days Hyundai (rhymes with “Sunday”) could get ticketed for exceeding the limit. Powered by a weak Korean won and a revitalized product line, it is ramping up volumes in major markets around the world.

Along with sister company Kia, of which it owns 39%, Hyundai has a hammerlock on Korea, with 80% of sales this year. In the U.S. generous incentives for retail customers and fleet purchases have pushed sales up a strong 7% in a market down 24%. November was a spectacular month: Hyundai brand sales jumped 46% from the previous year, and Kia rose 18%.

In China, where auto sales have skyrocketed this year thanks to government stimulus, Hyundai leaped 150% in September, leaving the company in second place, behind Volkswagen, among international automakers.

Behind the scenes at Hyundai

To take advantage of its momentum, Hyundai is pushing new models out of its factories faster and faster. American customers got to see the slick new 2011 Sonata in December, two months ahead of schedule, because, in an unusual move, Hyundai sped up the start of production.

Automakers hate to interfere with factory schedules because it is expensive, disrupts the flow of parts, and invites assembly problems. But Hyundai decided to move ahead. It was receiving good reads on early quality checks, suppliers showed ample stocks of parts, and engineers had prepped its Alabama plant. Speed became a competitive advantage.

Moving quickly and boldly has made Hyundai Motor Co. the fastest-growing major automaker in the world. Amid the global sales slump, it made a record $832 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30. Analysts expect its net profits to rise almost 40% this year.

Despite its relative youth — it is only 43 years old — Hyundai already ranks fifth in volume among the world’s auto producers, according to IHS Global Insight, and passed 107-year-old Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) in 2009 to move into fourth place. Years ago Toyota used to say that Hyundai was the company it feared most. Today those fears have grown into a nightmare.

Despite their success, Hyundai executives keep pushing for more. Hyundai and Kia currently have capacity for 5.8 million cars and trucks. “We want to grow to 6.5 million units in two years,” says Steve Yang, president and CEO, over a traditional multicourse Korean lunch at a small restaurant in Seoul.

Since Hyundai was expected to produce 5.2 million vehicles in 2009, that means a steep ramp-up if it wants to operate at full capacity. Western auto experts cringe at such a notion, because a big increase in volume can compromise quality and dilute brand equity. But Yang made the pledge with a smile as if he were merely exchanging polite chitchat. At Hyundai, it is understood that impossible targets are part of its way of doing business.

Sometimes speeding leads to accidents. Hyundai entered the U.S. market in 1986 with a single model, the Excel, which sold for $4,995 — a price that so captivated bargain-minded Americans that Hyundai set a first-year record by selling 126,000 cars.

Its second year in business, Hyundai adopted the slogan “Cars that make sense” and set another record, selling 264,000 Excels. In its haste to grow, Hyundai made two near-fatal errors. It made fragile cars and sold them to noncreditworthy customers. When the cars were repossessed, their quality was so poor that they were worth less than the outstanding loans.

Hyundai is making another big gamble this year by introducing a premium luxury car called the Equus that is priced thousands of dollars higher than any car Hyundai has sold before. The Equus (Latin for “horse”), expected to cost around $60,000, will cost more than most Cadillacs and is designed to compete with top-of-the-line models marketed by Mercedes, BMW, and Audi that sell for $20,000 more.

Depending on your point of view, the introduction of the Equus is either ambitious, arrogant, or ignorant. Popular brands like Hyundai are not supposed to stretch into premium luxury territory; consumers want a prestige label when they pay a prestige price. Volkswagen found that out a couple of years ago when it tried to sell a $70,000 car called the Phaeton. Despite its technical excellence, potential buyers didn’t associate the people’s car with a high-priced sedan.

Test-driving the Equus

Judged on its merits, not its image, the Equus is a winner. Fortune had an opportunity to test one in Korea and found it surprisingly competitive with German luxury sedans under normal driving conditions.

The exterior could go on a chrome diet, but otherwise the Equus adheres to the conservative design standards required for luxury cars. The interior is best in class, intelligently crafted from fine materials and smartly laid out. The spacious rear seat, where many Asian buyers will spend their time, is equipped with a variety of diversionary devices, including one that provides a back massage.

Powered by a smooth, quiet, 4.6-liter V-8, the Equus should appeal to customers for whom value is a higher priority than association with a three-pointed star or dual-kidney grille.

No such identity crisis faces Kia, which got its start as a bicycle manufacturer and has become a power in its own right with a line of smaller, sportier cars. In the U.S. it markets six passenger cars and five crossovers with idiosyncratic names like Borrego, Rondo, and Soul, and has built its own U.S. plant in West Point, Ga.

Kias are typically priced below competing models and, loaded with options and carrying a strong warranty, represent an attractive value. From its U.S. market debut in February 1994, Kia has expanded methodically to become the eighth-most-popular brand in the U.S., outselling such stalwarts as Jeep, Subaru, and Lexus. Through November its sales had risen 8%.

How do the Koreans do it? In addition to getting big, Hyundai has gotten good. Once known as a cheap and cheerful brand that offered a comprehensive warranty to make up for mechanical shortcomings, Hyundai has become a respected name and a smart buy.

“Hyundai is a brand that is on the verge of being aspirational,” says New York–based consultant and investor John Casesa. “People are saying they are proud to own it, not just to settle for it.”

The evidence can be seen in the strengthening demographics of Hyundai owners. Last year some 49% were college graduates, compared with just 36% in 1999. By comparison, Toyota has a higher percentage of college grads — 57% — but the number hasn’t grown much, up only two percentage points in 10 years.

New leadership, new focus

Hyundai’s success reflects a shift in attitude that occurred nearly a decade ago. In the 1990s the company was more interested in how many cars it could build than in how good it could make them. That changed in 1999 when founder Ju-Yung Chung passed corporate leadership to his son, Mong-Koo Chung.

According to company lore, the younger Chung decreed that Hyundai would henceforth concentrate on quality, not volume. With the chairman behind the push, and with its characteristic intensity, Hyundai went after quality improvements with a vengeance.

Hyundai benchmarked Toyota, then the industry’s quality leader, to understand its processes. It installed Six Sigma at its engineering center to measure its improvement. It made quality a cross-functional responsibility, with involvement from procurement, finance, and sales and marketing. It enlisted outside suppliers and put them together with designers and engineers to work out problems before they occurred. Quality oversight meetings, which had been poorly attended, became must-go events after chairman Chung began to show up for twice-monthly gatherings.

Three years ago legal problems diverted Chung from his quality push. In May 2006 he was indicted on charges of embezzling some $100 million from Hyundai and its subsidiaries for a political slush fund. He was detained by authorities for two months before being released on bail. The following February he was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison. But an appeals court decided that he was too valuable to the Korean economy to be incarcerated and suspended his sentence.

At 71, Chung still takes an active role in the company. He typically arrives in the office by 6:30 a.m. and gets frequent briefings from the CEOs of Hyundai and Kia, as well as their subsidiaries. He has taken a particular interest in a new $5 billion mill being built by Hyundai Steel to make lightweight, high-tensile steel for automobiles, and travels to the construction site by helicopter as often as four times a week.

Chung, who rarely gives interviews to English-language publications, spoke with Fortune through an interpreter from his penthouse office in the Hyundai tower. Chung attributes his company’s success to the investment it has made in improving its products. He believes that Hyundai’s quality, as well as its technology, “are head to head with Toyota at this moment,” a statement he makes with some confidence since “we are monitoring what is going on with Toyota all the time.”

Asked what scares Hyundai the most, he replied, “The thing we fear is uncertainty. There are many announcements about demand shrinking, and all the numbers are different.”

Hyundai’s quality success is a testament to the power of focused management and aggressive goals. In 2001 Hyundai ranked 32nd out of 37 brands in J.D. Power’s study of new vehicle quality after 90 days of ownership — close to the bottom. As its quality efforts took hold, it began moving up the list, and it achieved a breakthrough in 2004 when it reached seventh place. Since then, Hyundai has placed third in 2006 and then fourth in 2009, displacing Toyota as the highest- ranked mass-market brand in the world. (Three luxury brands — Lexus, Porsche, and Cadillac — finished ahead of it.)

Characteristically, Hyundai is aiming yet higher. It has developed a two-part quality target it calls GQ 3-3-5-5, as Joon-Sang Kim, executive vice president of Hyundai-Kia’s Quality Division, explained in an interview. Hyundai aims to finish in the top three in actual quality within three years as measured by Power’s dependability survey — and to finish in the top five in perceived quality in five years.

The first goal seems achievable. Hyundai has had solid, if unspectacular, success in the Power study, which measures problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old vehicles. From a rank of 35th out of 38 in 2001, it moved up to 20th by 2006 and kept climbing, finishing in 14th place in 2009.

Moving into the top five in perceived quality will be more difficult. That’s because the rankings are based on the way outsiders perceive Hyundai. This year Hyundai ranked 11th in the brand-evaluation analysis performed by ALG (Automotive Lease Guide), which determines the residual value of cars for lease purposes.

At Hyundai Motor America’s headquarters in Fountain Valley, Calif., the managers are learning they have to run fast to keep up with their Korean bosses. “Hyundai is an ambitious company that looks for boldness and leadership,” says John Krafcik, president and CEO, who once referred to his employer as the “hardest-working company on the planet.”

Having toiled under Jac Nasser at Ford, Krafcik, 48, is an expert on boldness and hard work, and he knows the industry from the inside out. Trained at MIT, he visited assembly plants around the world for the 1989 study “The Machine That Changed the World,” about the Toyota manufacturing system, and he coined the term “lean production.”

Krafcik joined Hyundai after 14 years at Ford overseeing development of SUVs, and he ascended to the top job at Hyundai America after one of its periodic management shakeups, the fifth in six years.

After working in Detroit’s belt-and-suspenders culture, the boyish Krafcik delights in the challenges presented by Hyundai’s determination to break rules. “One of the reasons we move fast is fewer people,” says Krafcik. “Speed doesn’t suffer bureaucrats well.”

A willingness to take risks also keeps things moving. “Typically,” adds Krafcik, “when we set targets, we haven’t yet made a plan for how to get there.” Krafcik says that when the company vowed to achieve a corporate fleet average fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon by 2015, a year ahead of the government deadline, it wasn’t sure how it would do it.

Hyundai also likes to wait until the last possible moment to make decisions. “When developing a new model,” says Krafcik, “companies typically sign off on the characteristics of the powertrain 4 1/2 months before production. Hyundai waits until a month ahead so that it can incorporate the most recent performance data.” It’s a technique that allows it to stay close to its customers, but it also increases the likelihood of mistakes.

Nothing shows off Hyundai’s opportunistic culture better than its U.S. marketing team. Headed by Joel Ewanick, who joined Hyundai in February 2007 after stints at Porsche, Yamaha, and Hinckley Yachts, it operates like the war room of a political campaign, making lightning strikes when it sees an opportunity.

A year ago it noticed growing fears among customers about unemployment, so it developed a program that allowed them to return their new Hyundais risk-free if they lose their jobs. Pulling together such a program — which included production of a TV commercial shown during the 2009 Super Bowl — would take several months at other companies, but Hyundai marketers got the job done in 37 days. The campaign, called “Assurance,” won Hyundai enormous amounts of attention and goodwill, even though only about 100 customers returned their cars.

Ewanick, 49, says programs like that are vital because buyers no longer respond to traditional cash and interest-rate promotions. He is looking for new ways to create showroom traffic. Last summer he devised the “Assurance Gas Lock,” which guaranteed customers $1.49-a-gallon gasoline for a year.

Then Hyundai beat the government’s Cash for Clunkers program to the punch by offering tax credits to buyers several weeks before the program started. “Customers want to be involved with the brand,” says Ewanick. “Incentives aren’t enough. We want to break away and have Hyundai be considered as more than a car company.”

That doesn’t mean that Hyundai doesn’t use incentives — and use them very effectively. It just does so where the consumer can’t see them but where they drive down the transaction price.

Consultant Kimberly Rodriguez of Grant Thornton in Detroit cites data showing that Hyundai was spending $2,825 per car on incentives for the first 10 months of 2009 — more than any other Asian manufacturer — and selling lots of excess production into rental-car fleets. “They are clearly taking advantage of a lull in the action,” says Rodriguez, “and with currency in their favor, they can afford to do it.”

Whatever the attraction, customers seem to be getting a new message about Hyundai. Five years ago Hyundai was known for its low prices, so-so quality, and a 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Today, Ewanick says, Hyundai stands for softer, more positive qualities like smart, fresh, and high-tech. “Consumers,” he says, “want brands that feel the same way they do about society and the environment. But they don’t want to pay for it.”

Labor union disputes to Genesis’ success

The automaker’s origins date back to the Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. (Hyundai means “modernity” in Korean), which was founded after World War II and created Hyundai Motor in 1967. Thanks to high tariffs that rebuffed foreign manufacturers, the motor company thrived and was spun off as a separate enterprise in 1998.

That same year it acquired a controlling stake in rival Kia, which was struggling from the Asian financial crisis. Gradually the two companies are consolidating around common functions for economies of scale, but they are keeping the Hyundai and Kia brands separate for marketing and distribution purposes: Hyundai is positioned as the responsible adult, while Kia is the mischievous adolescent.

Hyundai’s growth was accompanied by a decade of labor union disputes that produced paralyzing strikes. Labor rights in South Korea had been long suppressed, and a series of healthy pay increases kept its militant labor unions at bay until the mid-1990s.

But the financial crisis as well as an industry slump brought the strikers out in force, and Hyundai was hit by a seemingly endless number of work stoppages. A 47-day walkout in 2003 cost Hyundai an estimated $1.2 billion in exports. Since then a measure of labor peace has been restored. The strikes haven’t become a thing of the past — there is usually one a year — but the level of vitriol has been reduced.

In the U.S., Hyundai spun its wheels for a decade after the Excel fiasco, selling inexpensive cars to lower-income customers as it churned through a succession of U.S. sales executives who failed to meet its aggressive targets. But along with improved quality, Hyundai began to pay attention to international designs with greater market appeal. Its cars developed cleaner lines with more elegant details as Hyundai moved away from traditional Korean styles, which tend to be baroque and fussy.

The two trends — better quality, sharper designs — came vividly together in 2008 with the launch of the Genesis sedan. A step up from the midsize Sonata, Hyundai’s best U.S. seller, the Genesis is powered by a V-6 engine (with an optional V-8) and is designed to compete in the so-called entry luxe segment with cars like the Lexus ES 350.

The journalists who judge the North American Car of the Year competition made it the surprise winner in 2009, an award Ewanick and his team promptly made a centerpiece of their advertising. With a starting price of $32,250, the Genesis was recognized by customers as an attractive value, and they have been buying more than 1,500 units a month. The success of the Genesis in such a highly competitive segment signaled Hyundai’s arrival as a top-tier manufacturer.

Speedy in most matters, Hyundai has been a laggard when it comes to developing alternative-fuel vehicles. It didn’t introduce its first fuel-saving hybrid until last summer, a decade after Toyota started selling the Prius. Typically, Hyundai’s ambitions remain huge. Despite its late start, it has stated its intention to sell 500,000 hybrids a year by 2018. Hyundai has developed a lithium-polymer battery that is 40% smaller and weighs 35% less than conventional nickel-metal-hydride ones used in the Toyota Prius.

A wave of new models should keep both Hyundai and Kia hustling over the next few years. The two companies are due to turn over their entire U.S. product line in the course of the next four years, the highest replacement rate in the industry, according to a forecast by Merrill Lynch/Bank of America’s John Lynch. He sees Hyundai and Kia gaining 3 1/2 points of market share over the span. That would be enough to vault the Koreans past Chrysler and Nissan into fifth place in the U.S., with a share of 10.8% by 2013.

The old bumper sticker used to preach that speed kills, but Hyundai shows no signs of slowing down — and so far has no need to report any casualties.

By Alex Taylor III

Hyundai Genesis sedan earns top billing

After just a few miles behind the wheel of the Hyundai Genesis sedan, it was easy to understand why this vehicle was named the 2009 North American Car of the Year — the first such honor for any product from this South Korean automaker.

It was also easy to forget I was driving a Hyundai, because it felt more like I was behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz. I kid you not.

The company that made the mistake of introducing itself to the U.S. market in 1985 by introducing the miserable little Excel hatchback has graduated into a full-line automaker with a stable of vehicles designed to fit almost anyone’s tastes.

But there is more Hyundai magic on the way. While the Genesis has a base price range of $32,250-$37,250 (plus $800 freight), the automaker plans to bring an even more-expensive luxury car to the United States late next year — its Equus sedan, which it displayed at the recent Pebble Beach, Calif., luxury-car show.

The Equus is already on sale in South Korea, competed head-to-head against such vehicles as the BMW 7-series and Mercedes S-class. No U.S. prices have been announced yet for the Equus, and it might even get a different name for this market, but it probably will push into the $50,000 range when it arrives.

For now, though, people who want BMW, Lexus or Mercedes-style luxury — but without the prestigious name, mind you — can be happy with the Genesis sedan.

This car is not to be confused with the Genesis Coupe, which arrived this year as a 2010 model. The coupe, which I also tested recently, starts at $22,000 and is much-less luxurious than the larger and roomier sedan by the same name.

Hyundai’s U.S. sales have held remarkably strong during this year of historically depressed overall industry totals, a credit not only to cars such as the Genesis sedan and coupe, but the strength and value of the entire Hyundai lineup — which begins with the under-$10,000 Accent subcompact.

The company’s success this year, while other automakers have been struggling to survive, has been helped by its value-pricing strategy, and, perhaps most of all, its “Hyundai Assurance” plan. Under that program, the automaker pledges to buy back any new Hyundai during the first year of ownership if the buyer becomes unemployed or can’t work because of health problems.

The new luxury sedan, which was introduced to Super Bowl TV viewers in January, also was honored by the Web site as the “Best New Car of 2009,” and named a “Top 5 Luxury Car for 2009” by, the consumer Web site operated by the National Automobile Dealers Association.”

Genesis also earned five-star safety ratings for both front and side impacts in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Michael Deitz, Hyundai Motor America’s product planning manager, contends that the Genesis “has the technology and features comparable to the world’s leading premium sports sedans at a value Mercedes and BMW can’t beat.”

The car has the look and feel of a large, premium European sedan such as the BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-class, but at a much-lower cost. The styling is quite Mercedes-like — not flashy, just classy.

The $32,250 starting price is for the base 3.8 model, which comes with a 290-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 engine.

On the top end, there is the 4.6-liter V-8 model, with an impressive 375 horsepower, beginning at $37,250.

Our tester was the model that most consumers are choosing – the 3.8 V-6. With extras such as a Premium Plus package ($3,000) and Technology package ($4,000), our tester rang up at $40,050 with freight.

With the Premium Plus package came 18-inch alloy wheels, leather-wrapped door and dash, power sunroof, power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, rain-sensing wipers, and more.

The Technology package added a 528-watt Lexicon audio system, integrated with a navigation system, with HD radio, XM satellite radio, and XM NavTraffic; a rear backup camera; adaptive headlights; front and rear parking assist; and cooled front seats.

Hyundai said it expected the Genesis to compete for customers with cars such as the Lexus ES, Chrysler 300 and Cadillac CTS, but added that it has performance capabilities and luxury features “comparable to sedans costing tens of thousands of dollars more.”

The Genesis rides on a new rear-wheel-drive vehicle platform that Hyundai developed specifically for a luxury car, and it has an advanced five-link suspension at all four corners to give it both the ride and handling that consumers expect in a premium sedan.

Both engines come with six-speed automatic transmissions, although the gearboxes are different for each model.

With premium fuel, the V-8 has the 375 horsepower, but it’s also designed to run on regular gas. The horsepower drops just slightly, to 368, with regular, but Hyundai says the car still outperforms all competitors in the amount of horsepower produced per liter of engine displacement.

While I haven’t tested the V-8 model, I can tell you that the V-6 offered more power than I would ever need either in town or on the highway. The accelerator pedal takes a little getting used to, as just a small push gives the car a quick forward jolt — bringing groans from my passengers, who said they though I was trying to snap their necks.

But once I got the hang of it, I heard no more complaints. It reminded me of the way my flight instructor taught me to handle the control wheel in the airplane — “You don’t turn the wheel,” he said. “You just add pressure.”

The ride was smooth and quiet, even at top freeway speeds, yet during spirited driving on twisty roads, the Genesis performed quite well, with no squishiness at all. Steering was more precise than I expected, as well, although not quite as crisp as that of a comparably sized BMW.

The Genesis has impressive EPA fuel economy numbers for a car with this much power — 17 mpg city/25 highway for the V-8 and 18/27 for the V-6. Hyundai notes that this is better than many V-6 engines in smaller midsize cars.

Standard on the V-6 model are electronic stability control with traction control, antilock brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear seat-mounted side air bags, roof-mounted side-curtain air bags, the electronic front head restraints, fog lights, automatic headlights, dual power/heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, heated leather seats with power adjustment up front, cruise control, white and blue interior lighting, keyless entry with push-button start, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with audio controls, dual front fully automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror with universal garage opener and compass, AM/FM/CD/MP3/XM audio system with iPod/USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth and floor mats.

The V-8 models come with most of the features of the V-6, plus 18-inch silver alloy wheels, chrome lower body side moldings, upgraded leather seats, leather-wrapped dash and door trim inserts, power glass sunroof with tilt and slide, power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, integrated memory system, Lexicon 15-speaker surround -sound audio system, six-disc CD changer, illuminated scuff plates, wood-trimmed leather steering wheel, power rear sunshade and rain-sensing wipers with auto-defogger windshield.

The car seats five, and as a full-size sedan, it’s quite roomy for both front and rear passengers, with lots of rear legroom even when the front bucket seats are pushed all the way back on their tracks.

But my 11-year-old twin grandkids were much more comfortable in the back seat by themselves. With no one sitting in the middle, the center armrest can be pulled down, and it provides two decent cup holders.

The car comes with Hyundai’s great warranty, which includes five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection, along with 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain coverage, seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation protection, and 24-hour roadside assistance for five years with no mileage limit.

Towing, lockout service and trip-interruption expenses are included.

G. Chambers Williams

San Antonio Express-New

Hyundai Genesis is Class of the 2009 Model Year With Most Top-Car Honors

Headlined by the 2009 North American Car of the Year award, Hyundai’s new flagship earns more top recognition than any other 2009 introduction

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 08/27/2009 Hyundai’s all-new flagship, the Genesis sedan, launched to significant anticipation culminating with its coronation as the 2009 North American Car of the Year – the first time a Korean brand has ever achieved the honor. But Genesis didn’t stop there, accumulating honor after prestigious honor to become the most decorated new car launch of the 2009 model year. At last count, Genesis tallied more than 20 top honors from the most prominent media outlets and automotive organizations in North America.

Genesis’ trophy case includes awards and accolades from the likes of J.D. Power and Associates, Motor Trend, AutoPacific, and leading consumer publications. Genesis is built on Hyundai’s all-new, performance-driven rear-wheel-drive architecture. It offers two powertrains, the Lambda 3.8-liter V6 engine producing 290 hp, and Hyundai’s all-new Tau 4.6-liter V8 engine producing 375 hp. With technology rivaling more expensive luxury sedans, convenience features like push-button start and navigation system, and five-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s clear that Genesis is among the best new cars of 2009. But at a starting MSRP of just $32,250 and max price of just $42,000 for a fully loaded Genesis, it’s no surprise the competition was left in Hyundai’s rear-view mirror.

“Genesis was developed to rival the world’s best luxury sedans so we knew it would be a great car, but we didn’t know how it would be received by the automotive community,” said Scott Margason, director of Product & Strategic Planning for Hyundai. “As the awards accumulated, we realized not only how well designed the Genesis was, but how far the Hyundai brand had come. Consumers and automotive industry influencers really embraced the idea of Hyundai producing a luxury product.”

Genesis Sedan Awards

1. 2009 North America Car of the Year
2. Motor Trend – America’s Top 40 New Cars
3. J.D. Power and Associates – Automotive, Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) – Most appealing midsize premium car
4. J.D. Power and Associates – Vehicle Launch Index (VLI) – Highest ranked 2009 all-new or redesigned vehicle
5. The Car Book 2009 – Best Bet (intermediate category)
6. – Best New Car
7. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance – Best New Model (sedans $30,000-$45,000)
8. – Car of the Month (April)
9. – Top 5 Luxury Cars
10. – Best Car Buy – Top luxury cars under $35,000
11. – Car of the Year
12. – Car of the Year
13. On Wheels – Car of the Year
14. AutoPacific – Ideal Vehicle Awards – Aspirational Luxury Category
15. AutoPacific –Vehicle Satisfaction Awards – Aspirational Luxury Category
16. Consumer Reports – Top-Rated Vehicle (upscale sedan category)
17. Consumer Digest – Best Buy (luxury segment)
18. MyRide/Autobytel – Car of the Year
19. Ward’s Auto World – 10 Best Engines (4.6 liter Tau V8)
20. Automobile Journalists Association of Canada – Canadian Car of the Year
21. Automobile Journalists Association of Canada – Best New Luxury Vehicle Under $50,000


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 780 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America’s Best Warranty. In addition, Hyundai Assurance is now offered on all new vehicles leased or purchased from a certified Hyundai dealer. The program is available to any consumer, regardless of age, health, employment record or financed amount of the vehicle. The program is complimentary for the first 12 months.

North American Car of the Year Hyundai Genesis Earns Highest Ranking Among New or Redesigned 2008 and 2009 Vehicles

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 07/22/2009 J.D. Power and Associates announced today that the Hyundai Genesis is the highest ranked 2009 all-new or redesigned vehicle in the inaugural Vehicle Launch Index(SM) (VLI). This result comes after the Hyundai Genesis significantly contributed to Hyundai’s high marks in the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2009 Initial Quality Study(SM) (IQS) announced in June in which Hyundai was the highest ranked non-premium nameplate. On July 16, 2009, Genesis was also designated J.D. Power’s most appealing midsize premium car in the 2009 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study(SM).

The Vehicle Launch Index quantifies how well 2009 new vehicles–including new entries to the market, all-new and redesigned models–perform during the first eight months after launch. Genesis’ performance in the IQS and APEAL studies is significant because VLI includes the key factors of vehicle quality and design, included in both studies. The VLI also examines various factors that are critical to the financial success of a launch, including turn rate, vehicle revenue, dealer gross profit, incentive spend, credit quality and residual value.

“Genesis represents everything Hyundai knows about engineering, building, and launching great automobiles,” said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and chief executive officer. “Awards like VLI help reaffirm what we’re hearing from the marketplace – that Genesis has been a tremendous success in generating incremental sales, building the Hyundai brand, and satisfying our most demanding consumers.”.”

The J.D. Power and Associates VLI recognition will join the growing number of Genesis honors and accolades including North American Car of the Year, Kiplinger’s Best New Model for 2009, AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award, and more. Hyundai’s Genesis sedan sets a new benchmark in the premium car category. With a starting price of just $33,000, Genesis includes performance and luxury features typically found on vehicles costing thousands of dollars more.

The VLI looks at 2008 and 2009 model-year vehicles first sold between January and October 2008. Vehicles must be all-new or major redesigns and must sell at least 5,000 units during the first eight months to be included.

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif. is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai cars and sport utility vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 790 Hyundai dealerships nationwide.

Business Week Review: 2009 Hyundai Genesis

The sporty, well-designed Genesis is a reasonably priced, stylish, entry-level luxury car—and a big step up for Hyundai

Up Front
There’s nothing on the market quite like the new Hyundai Genesis. The Korean carmaker’s rear-wheel-drive Genesis Sedan, which is all new for ’09, is an entry-level luxury car that competes with the likes of BMW, Lexus, and Infiniti. And for 2010, there’s the new Genesis Coupe, a smaller, less expensive, sportier, two-door version of the car that’s so different from the sedan it almost seems like a separate model. The Genesis Coupe competes with everything from General Motors’ new 2010 Chevy Camaro Coupe to the Infiniti G37 and Nissan 370Z.

If you’re thinking it’s crazy that a Hyundai could challenge such varied and excellent rivals, think again. The Genesis is a sophisticated, well-engineered car with a tight feel, close tolerances around the doors and hood, and a co-efficient of drag of a mere 0.27, making the car’s exterior slipperier than most more expensive competitors’. The Genesis Sedan is extremely quiet inside and gobbles up potholes, yet has plenty of verve. And it sells at a much lower price than most of its rivals.

The entry-level Genesis Sedan, which I test-drove, probably has the broadest appeal. It’s powered by a fuel-efficient 3.8 liter, 290-hpV6. There’s also a V8-powered Genesis Sedan, with a muscle-car-style 4.6-liter, 375 hp engine, but it doesn’t seem worth the extra money. The V6-powered Genesis Sedan is as quick as a BMW 328i, which is plenty of get-up-and-go for me. However, the Genesis lacks an all-wheel-drive option, something that’s available on rivals such as the Audi A5, Acura TL, and BMW 328xi.

The Genesis Sedan comes only with a six-speed automatic with a manual shifting function. A six-speed stick shift is standard on the Coupe, with a five-speed automatic available with the small engine and a six-speed automatic with the V6. The Coupe’s automatics have steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

With V6 power, the Genesis Sedan starts out at $33,000 (compared with $38,000 for the V8-powered Genesis) and comes crammed with standard equipment, including leather upholstery, power accessories, a seven-CD sound system that includes satellite radio and an iPod hookup, dual-zone climate controls, and power-adjustable and heated front seats. The V8 Genesis has even more standard equipment, including rain-sensing wipers, leather dash and door trim, seat memory, and an upgraded sound system.

However, you can load up the V6 Genesis relatively inexpensively. A $2,000 package includes such options as a power sunroof, a better sound system with a six-CD changer, seat and mirror memory, stylish leather inserts on the doors and dash, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. A $3,000 package includes all that plus 18-inch alloy wheels. A $7,000 package adds such amenities as a backup camera, parking alerts, self-leveling headlights, a hard-drive-based sound system, a navigation system with traffic alerts, and Bluetooth capability.

Only one $4,000 option package is offered on the V8-powered Genesis. Among other things, it includes a navigation system with traffic alerts, a hard-drive-based 17-speaker sound system, self-leveling headlights, and Bluetooth.

The Genesis is very fuel-efficient. With the V6 engine, the Sedan is rated to get 18 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway (and in 382 miles of mixed driving, I averaged 22.6 mpg).

Among six-cylinder rivals, Toyota’s Lexus ES 350 gets 19/27, Honda’s Acura TL 18/26, the BMW 328i 18/38, and the Infiniti M35 to 17/25. The Genesis’s mileage drops slightly, to 17/25, with the V8 engine.

The Genesis Coupe, which I also briefly test-drove, does even better. It gets as much as 21 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway with a stick shift and a 2.0-liter, 210-horsepower turbo-charged four-cylinder engine (neither of which is offered on the Sedan). The Coupe also is available with a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 306 hp. The V6 powered Coupe gets 17 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.

Safety is another strong point. Standard gear on the Genesis includes antilock brakes and front, side, and head-protecting side-curtain airbags. The Genesis earned the U.S. government’s top, five-star crash-test rating in all categories.

The Genesis isn’t a big seller, but it’s off to a decent start considering how weak the car market is. Sales totaled 8,100 units in the first five months of 2009.

Behind the Wheel
Composed, is how I would describe the Genesis Sedan’s ride. It’s tuned much more for comfort than sport. The ride remains smooth whether on bumpy back roads or on the Interstate, and the cabin is extremely quiet. Even the smaller engine is powerful enough to inspire confidence. If you need a burst of power, the Genesis performs with no apparent strain.

One of the surprising things about the Genesis is how quick it is. Hyundai says the Sedan will jump from 0 to 60 in 6.2 seconds with V6 power (a time I easily matched in my test car) and 5.7 seconds with the V8. The company rates the V6-powered Genesis Coupe at under six seconds. The Sedan’s six-speed automatic has the usual manual mode. Unfortunately, there’s no sport mode to quicken shifting response, a feature offered by many of the Hyundai’s competitors.

The Genesis’ cabin is tasteful and upscale. Designers took a risk by offering leather inserts on the doors and dash in the place of the usual wood veneer, but the two-tone leather (coffee on black in my test car) looks good and sets the Genesis apart from its many rivals. Touches of wood trim are available on the gearshift, center console and armrests, combining elegantly with the two-tone leather.

Everything in the Genesis seems sturdy and well-made. The glovebox is double-walled and closes solidly, and the sunroof door has a solid, heavy feel. Trunk space, at 15.9 cu. ft., is ample. But a significant negative is that the rear seats don’t fold down, limiting the car’s hauling capacity. There’s only a small pass-through from the trunk to accommodate long objects.

As in other vehicles in this class, leg, head and shoulder space is adequate for most adults, but legroom may be cramped for long-legged drivers. I’m only 5 ft. 10 in. tall, and I could comfortably reach the pedals with the seat set all the way back. I also found the front seats surprisingly uncomfortable. They’re too flat for my taste, with inadequate side-bolsters.

One design touch I like: You can crack the Genesis’ rear windows a few inches without any of the horrible wind buffeting you get in most cars.

Buy it or Bag It?
For $40,000, a loaded V6-powered Genesis Sedan has almost every gee-gaw available on models in its class, and you can get the V8 engine for only $2,000 extra on a loaded-up model. Either version of the Genesis is a bargain if you factor in all the standard and optional equipment that’s included.

The ’09 Genesis Sedan sells for an average of $36,610, according to the Power Information Network (PIN), vs. $37,938 for the ’09 BMW 328i sedan, $40,875 for Ford’s Lincoln MKS, $47,566 for the Lexus GS 350, $48,260 for the Infiniti M35, and $49,356 for the Mercedes E350 sedan.

If you can get by with a smaller car, the Genesis Coupe is an incredible bargain. It’s 14 inches shorter than the Sedan (and, obviously, lacks rear doors), so it’s less practical. But it’s even tighter and sportier than the Sedan, starts at only $22,750 with a stick shift and the four-cylinder engine, and sells for an average of just $27,170, according to PIN (which, like BusinessWeek, is a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies)

I know, I know. It’s still a Hyundai. The Genesis doesn’t have the cachet and history of a BMW, Lexus or Infiniti, and many shoppers will be reluctant to pay so much for a Korean car. But check it out. The Genesis is a big step up for Hyundai.

Business Week

2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6: Shocking competence

We were out taking some photos of the Hyundai Genesis early one morning. A woman passing by asked, “What kind of car is that? I don’t see a name badge on the front?”

My response was that, “It’s a Hyundai Genesis. They didn’t put a badge on front intentionally. They want you to see the car and do what you just did; that is, ask ‘What is it?’ “

Some of Hyundai’s earlier large-sedans bore resemblances to Jaguars (the XG 350), but the Genesis definitely causes you to pause a moment and notice resemblances to Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

Hyundai designed the Genesis sedan to be in the image of BMW’s 5-Series, the Lexus GS, Infiniti M cars and Mercedes E-Class. However, it’s priced and sized to compete with Chrysler’s 300C, the Lexus ES, Cadillac CTS, and Mercedes C-Class.

There’s no question that today’s test car, the 2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6, is an intriguing vehicle.

It’s a full-sized rear-wheel-drive sedan with a 4.6 liter, 375 horsepower V-8. That V-8, with 333 lb.-ft. of pulling power, is relatively fuel efficient, being rated at 17 miles per gallon city and 25 highway. It may have been a filling quirk, but we pulled 27 on a highway trip, perhaps thanks to the steep overdrive sixth gear in the six-speed automatic transmission.

After people find out that this vehicle is a Hyundai, and a very nice looking one at that, they generally ask how much it costs.

Our test car – the more expensive 4.6 V-8 – has a sticker price of $37,250. Ours didn’t have the only option, a $4,000 technical package, that turns out to be aptly named and well thought out. It adds xenon headlights, a trip computer, navigation, front and rear park assist, a cooled driver’s seat, rear view camera, Bluetooth and upgraded Logic 7 sound system.

Then they have a sticker-shock reaction. “Thirty-seven thou for a Hyundai! That’s a lot of money. Are they kidding?”

It is. And they aren’t kidding in the least. Hyundai is making a run at the upscale market, starting with this sedan and continuing with the coupe version.

Hyundai came into the North American market with a terrible small car. They were so bad that most observers (me included) concluded that the brand was finished in this country.

To its credit, Hyundai’s Pooh-Bahs went back to the drawing board – and did some serious marketing planning while they were at it. They knew they had one more shot at best and the only way they could convince American consumers that they had a worthy product was to make it long on quality. The result was the company’s then-amazing 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty, and a lineup of cars that could compete in the small and mid-sized segments.

And their big cars – the XG 350 and Azera – weren’t so bad, either. Now comes the Genesis. It’s a serious bid by Hyundai at expanding its market reach.

If you’re a brand snob, the Hyundai logo doesn’t have that cachet yet; however, if you buy one now, it may have that cachet by the time – many miles down the road – when you’re ready to trade it.

You’re starting to see buyers’ comments mentioning that the Genesis is a “value proposition” and has an amazing “price point.”

Sales of the Genesis (8,100 to date) are encouraging. Overall, Hyundai sales were up nine percent in May (over April’s numbers) as the auto industry starts to show signs of a modest rally.

Want to go fast? The V-8 will get you from 0-to-60 m.p.h. in just under six seconds. Handling? It’s fine. Hyundai has a five-link system, front and back, that gives you a comfortable ride. While not a sports sedan, it does OK when pushed to an avoidance maneuver.

I generally prefer to travel in the driver’s seat and really avoid rear-seat time; however, this is one vehicle I’d make an exception for. The rear seats and legroom are fine.

The two-tone leather treatment on the Hyundai dash – a feature that carries over to the door panels – is distinctively nice.

Hyundai used a distinguished award – the North American Car of the Year – as a jumping-off point for my favorite commercial from the last Super Bowl: The Angry Bosses. The spot showed furious executives at Lexus and BMW seeing the headlines that Hyundai (“It’s Hyun-Day, like Sun-Day”) had won the award.

A decade ago, members of the New England Motor Press Association generally agreed that the early Acura TL was dollar-for-dollar as good a buy as you could find. I’ve got no problem transferring that badge to this Genesis. After all, it needs something on that grille.