Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Why the Hyundai Genesis is like Sheffield

BARCELONA’S balmy sunshine, the majestic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and the fine food of just about anywhere in Northern Italy are all front-runners in the contest to win over my carefully-earned cash.

As summer getaway options go they couldn’t be more different if I tried, but they do all share one thing in common. I’d rather enjoy a fortnight in any of these places then spend my summer holiday in Sheffield.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Sheffield – it’s a fine city that has made many fine contributions to the world, from steel and coal to The Human League and actors notorious for getting killed in every movie role they land. Sheffield is great for all sorts of reasons, but it’s just not somewhere where I’d go looking for a memorable holiday getaway.

Equally, if I got given £47,995 to spend on a luxury car I wouldn’t blow it on a Hyundai. Yet that’s exactly how much the Genesis, the manufacturer’s largest offering ever in the UK, is going to cost.

Let’s get one thing clear; Hyundai makes some great cars. It’s gone from being the makers of the Pony to one of the UK car market’s real success stories, with accomplished players like the i30 family hatchback helping to eat into an increasingly healthy share of the market. It’s a success story, however, founded on value for money. Hyundai is all about price, not prestige.

That’s why offering an executive express with a 3.8 litre V6 driving the rear wheels is either incredibly brave or monumentally misguided. Why, when you can have a BMW or a Mercedes or a Jaguar or an Audi or even – whisper it softly – a Lexus for the same sort of money, would you want to spend nearly fifty grand on a Hyundai?

Countless other car makers have tried – and failed – to crack this nut. Remember the Peugeot 607? Or the Vauxhall Omega, Ford Scorpio, Renault Vel Satis, Honda Legend and Rover 800, for that matter? They were all mass market attempts to break into the luxury motoring stratosphere, and all were defeated by people who want the pub brag factor of a three-pointed star or a leaping cat instead. We Brits are the worst for it – it’s not for nothing the nation that gave the world Keeping Up Appearances and Absolutely Fabulous is the single biggest Audi TT market on the planet.

I would love it if the Hyundai Genesis were so mind-blowingly brilliant it pulled off a Rocky-style underdog victory and gave the German luxury establishment a bloody nose, but I suspect we snobbish Brits will dismiss it simply because it’s an Aldi car with Audi pretentions.

Are you going on holiday to Sheffield this year? I rest my case.


  1. Nice analogy. Can you imagine what the depreciation would be like. Could be a serious bargain barge a couple of years old. Like a Citroen C6. Of course, that would require someone to buy them in the first place.

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