Hyundai HCD-14 Concept
The new V8-powered HCD-14 Genesis Concept was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show.
Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS, BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, Hyundai Genesis...?
The latter model may sound a misfit among its European luxury car compadres, but Hyundai's sleek precursor to its next-generation Genesis sedan is up there with them in terms of stylish design.
However, at the unveiling of the new V8-powered HCD-14 Genesis Concept at the Detroit motor show today, Hyundai North America president and CEO John Krafcik warned punters not to draw too many conclusions about the next-generation Genesis from the concept car's eye-catching form.
"I want to make one thing really clear to you guys - what you're about to see ... is not the next-generation Genesis sedan. We'll be showing you the production version of that car next year, right here," Krafcik says.
"This isn't [the next-generation Genesis] - it's the guiding light for a whole portfolio of premium products that we have coming," he says. "It explores new thinking about product design, and new possibilities for effortless interaction between man and machine."
The car features futuristic gesture-based technology which allows you to keep your fingers clear of the touch-screen and turn up the volume on the stereo by twisting your fingers in the air, or search for a new route via the sat-nav using hand movements. Krafcik says the brand is looking at implementing the gesture control systems into the production version of the Genesis.
The current-generation Genesis won't be sold in Australia, but the next-generation version could make it to our shores, says Hyundai Australia general manager of public relations, Bill Thomas.
"At the moment the business case for the Genesis is the focus - how that car could work for Australia," Thomas says. Hyundai's even larger luxury sedan, the Equus, is currently not under consideration.
Chris Chapman, head of design for Hyundai North America, told Drive that the HCD-14 concept gives Hyundai previews a more emotionally-driven design for the next Genesis, and said it could follow the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the other aforementioned European luxury models in being marketed as a "four-door coupe".
"I think [calling it a four-door coupe] is important. You need to register what's happening out there with the consumer - what they want, what they react to - and you need to respond with the right product," Chapman told Drive.
"People are starting to realise that proportions are super important, and it's stuff that designers have been saying for a really long time - but [customers] are willing to, more and more I feel, compromise things like rear headroom for the sake of the car looking low and cool," he says.
"We hit on an idea to make a car that looks beautifully dangerous," he says. "Like a cat with its ears pinned back. Like a handmade suit, it's tailored and slimming, while being muscular and flattering in all the right places."
Chapman wouldn't be drawn to comment on a potential smaller sedan to rival the likes of the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 as previewed by the Blue2 concept of 2011, although Krafcik did hint at another new model sometime after the Detroit 2014 debut of the next-generation Genesis.
However, Chapman did suggest Hyundai may be looking at a more luxury-focused SUV to sit alongside its Genesis and Equus sedans, neither of which are sold in Australia in their current guise, but the former of which may be launched locally when the replacement arrives in 2014.
"I don't think it's out of the grasp of Hyundai to be able to do that. They have a developing heritage in SUVs," he says. "The Santa Fe ... is definitely pointing to a direction that people could look at it and say that it gives a lot of respect and dignity to the owner, so I could imagine that [a premium SUV] could go that way.
"But I think this company is very smart in terms of the steps that it takes that it doesn't necessarily want to grow too fast," Chapman says. "[Hyundai] just wants to take the proper steps where it feels comfortable and it doesn't get out of whack or follow someone else's path."
Chapman also confirmed that work has commenced on the design of the next-generation Genesis coupe, but couldn't say too much about the plans for that car.
"We're beginning to work on that right now," he says. "It'll be in the next few years".