Sunday, 22 November 2015

Genesis – the beginning of a tricky car experiment

JUST the other day I spent rather too long looking longingly at wax jackets in a swanky shop in the Lake District.

Normally I have about as much interest in clothes as Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen does in launch control systems and the McLaren 650S but I have a soft spot for wax jackets. Specifically Barbour wax jackets – it just goes with the Range Rover-driving, real ale-swigging, fell walking lifestyle I’ve been brought up with. Which is why I was weighing up whether to throw £250 at what is basically a glorified coat for Countryfile viewers.

The car world has been onto this mawkish obsession with brands and lifestyle – and it knows people like me will happily fork out extra for something because it’s made by Land Rover or BMW rather than Skoda or Dacia.

It’s also why the market for big – but mass-market – cars has pretty much evaporated in the UK. The likes of the Vauxhall Omega and Peugeot 607 have quietly slipped off to the mortal coil while BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar and (increasingly over the last 15 years) Audi have lapped up the managing director money. So it was perhaps inevitable I declared back in February the chances of anyone buying a £48,000 Hyundai was virtually non-existent.

But it turns out Hyundai knew this all along – which is why it’s pulling off a trick Toyota managed 20 years ago. A Lexus LS600h is basically what happens when Asda makes its own wax jacket – you might sneer at Asda’s offering, but you might just be tempted by a George one if it’s cheap enough.

That’s why you can now buy a DS (quietly made by Citroën), an Infiniti (a Nissan in all but name), a Vignale (a rejigged, upmarket Mondeo) and if we’re being cruel, an Audi (the emissions scandal has reminded us how that Ingolstadt’s upmarket offerings are laced with cut-price Volkswagen meat).

Hyundai’s plan is to serve up six luxury models completely bereft of the H-word – they will all be sold here as Genesis (ideally with Phil Collins-branded drum brakes). A luxury Hyundai would flop spectacularly, but a luxury Genesis might just do a Lexus and pull it off.

You’ll need £47,995 to take part in Hyundai’s biggest experiment yet, although chances are – given my shopping habits at the moment - I’ll probably spend roughly the same on wax jackets and real ale.


  1. This car is super nice, almost as nice as a Lexus. I'm guessing it's pretty fast and more affordable.

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