Hyundai launches new luxury car brand named Genesis

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From the humble beginnings of Hyundai in the U.S. to a new premium car line that abandons the Hyundai name altogether, Genesis is another brand choice for upscale buyers, with a brand new identity. (KABC)

There's a new luxury car brand in the automotive marketplace in 2017 -- Genesis has gone from a Hyundai model to greater things.

"We launched the brand and it's been absolutely amazing," said Erwin Raphael, Genesis' general manager. "We've been doing a tremendous amount of work here and around the world, launching this brand."

Hyundai is following the lead of Honda, Toyota and Nissan, which have each branched out with a separate premium brand (Acura, Lexus and Infiniti, respectively).

For Hyundai, the ball got rolling a few years ago with large upscale sedans sold under the Hyundai brand. Now they are Genesis models with a new naming scheme.

The flagship car is the new G90, replacing the Hyundai Equus. The mid-size sedan is named G80, which as a Hyundai was a model called Genesis. A third sedan, the G70, will soon join the lineup.

The G70 is a new rear-wheel drive car that will be the first model to originate under the Genesis brand name. It will compete with the BMW 3 Series and others in that size class.

The G70 has not been revealed yet, but Genesis has been displaying a concept car -- called New York -- on the auto show circuit that gives an idea of what the new sedan may look like.

"We already have full commitment for six models between now and 2021, and we're kind of keeping the rest close to the vest," Raphael said.

Luxury vehicles are necessary to launch an upscale automotive brand, but a company also has to offer a luxurious experience to lure potential buyers.

While other premium offshoot brands have separate dealerships, Genesis showrooms will be incorporated into Hyundai stores. Owners will not have to go there for service, however, as part of a high-end concierge treatment.

"We'll bring the service to them," Raphael said. "We'll send valets out, bring a service rental car and take care of those customers."

The Genesis name will be seen at high-profile events such as the upcoming PGA golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, now officially the Genesis Open.

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