MUNICH -- Hyundai is holding off on the launch its Genesis premium brand in Europe until the end of the decade at the earliest when it will have more powertrains in its lineup beyond gasoline engines.
"To launch a premium brand in Europe is a challenge and it's an even bigger challenge if you don’t have the products you need for the market," Hyundai Europe Chief Operating Officer Thomas Schmid told the Automotive News Europe Congress here Wednesday. "Europe won't see it before 2019. The main reason is we need different powertrains."
Initially Genesis cars will only be sold in North America, China, the Middle East and Hyundai's domestic market of South Korea, which is rapidly becoming an important market for premium carmakers and one that is currently dominated by European upmarket brands.
Schmid said Genesis's European launch will come later because without a wide range of powertrains and without SUVs "we don't yet see the right moment to do it because at the end, we want to be successful, and successful also means profitable."
The first Genesis brand vehicles will go on sale this year and will include sedans such as G90, formerly known as the Equus, and the G80 that was the original Genesis. By 2020 the lineup will be expanded to six nameplates including a pair of crossovers. In the past few weeks Hyundai executives have also confirmed the brand was developing alternative powertrains such as plug-in hybrids and full electric cars.
"We will see at least five different models," Schmid said, referring to Genesis in Europe.
While he wouldn't be specific about when the core Hyundai brand would enter the booming small SUV/crossover segment in Europe with a model positioned below its Tucson, he said it was coming "very soon, within two years."