Hyundai expects to sell just over fifty of its upscale Genesis executive cars in the UK but that has not stopped the South Korean manufacturer re-working the chassis and suspension for British drivers.
"It shows how highly the Koreans regard the market here," said Tony Whitehorn, president of Hyundai UK. "They view it as an iconic market and it is important to them that the car feels right. Ultimately, this is a car for Asia and the US where driving styles and roads are very different to Britain. Headquarters had no hesitation in sending over an engineer to make changes for our roads."
Despite the tiny number of expected sales, Genesis will also be available in the UK with right-hand-drive, but this has not been engineered specifically for the UK. Larger sales numbers are expected in other RHD markets such as South African, Ireland, New Zealand and particularly Australia.
Whitehorn said: "The market in Australia is similar to the US in that customers tend to like large sedans and big engines. That's where we can expect to see most sales."
The UK premium market is also dominated by diesel but that is something the Genesis will not get. It will only be available with the standard 3.8-litre, 6-cylinder petrol.
"I would love a diesel," said Whitehorn. "But we would have to have significantly more sales of the Genesis to justify that amount of re-engineering."
No plans either to market Genesis as an upscale brand - it will keep the Hyundai name. Whitehorn said the car was an important halo model and technology showcase. "Why would I want to disconnect that from the Hyundai brand which still suffers from a lack of awareness? How many people outside the industry know that a Lexus comes from Toyota or that an Infiniti comes from Nissan?"
Genesis is being sold through seven specialist Hyundai dealers across the UK and since going on sale at the beginning of April, priced at GBP48,000 (US$72,000), four have been sold already.
Whitehorn added: "People interested in the car are those looking for something different to the mainstream German brands and have also been looking at Lexus, Infiniti or Maserati. We can also offer a great deal more for their money in terms of specification."