Some 1,000 dignitaries took part in the launching ceremony, including Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, National Assembly Vice Speaker Lee Byung-suk and Rep. Kang Chang-il of the Democratic Party.
The new Genesis is a full-size premium sedan which was revamped from the previous model that debuted in 2008, in terms of style, driving performance and safety.
“Genesis has been reborn with all of Hyundai’s state-of-the-art technologies and through tough performance tests and best quality control programs,” Chairman Chung said.
“It will rival the worlds’ top-class vehicles in overseas markets, including Europe, raising not only Hyundai Motor’s brand value but also the status of Korea’s motor industry.”
Noting that Hyundai has grown into a global auto company through endless innovation, Chung said the company will keep developing high quality cars and expanding research and investments to contribute to the nation’s economic development.
While the first-generation Genesis has raised Hyundai’s brand value in the U.S. market, the second-generation models are targeting the European market, where Hyundai is aiming to take on German rivals.
For achieving the goal, Hyundai worked on the new model for four years since 2009 with 500 billion won ($472 million) in investment. The automaker has applied high-end features for design and driving performance, saying the new Genesis will challenge the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The company emphasized the new vehicle’s driving performance.
“We used super high-tensile-strength steel sheets for 51 percent of the vehicle, far more than BMW or Mercedes-Benz series’ 20-30 percent,” a company official said.
The steel sheets are stronger and lighter than ordinary materials, increasing stability in cornering and fuel efficiency. They also improve safety, with the new vehicle obtaining good marks in a small overlap frontal crash test, the firm said.
“To improve driving performances, we tested the car at the Nurburgring Circuit in Germany, which is called the ‘Green Hell’ with the most difficult racing tracks,” the official said.
The new vehicle uses two types of an upgraded Lambda GDI engine, which shows better performance than previous ones at lower speeds. The Lambda 3.3 GDI engine produces 282 horsepower and a maximum torque of 35.4 kilograms-meters, and the Lambda 3.8 GDI engine, 315 horsepower and a torque of 40.5 kilograms-meters.
Its eight-speed automatic transmission has also improved fuel efficiency and accelerating performance as well as reduced noise.
For the first time as a Hyundai sedan, the new Genesis is equipped with HTRAC, a Hyundai-developed all-wheel drive system that electronically controls the torque split between the front and rear axles.
In terms of the outer design, the new Genesis has a higher-end appearance with the “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0,” an upgraded version of Fluidic Sculpture, a term used to describe the bodywork of Genesis.
For interior design, seats, switches and display panels are arranged to maximize spaciousness and driver’s convenience.
Eleven colors are available for the exterior and five for the interior.
The new vehicle with the Lambda 3.3 GDI engine will be priced at 46.6-52.6 million won, and that with the 3.8 engine 55.1-69.6 million won.
The sales of the new Genesis in the U.S. and Europe will begin in the first half of next year. Hyundai aims to sell 32,000 cars here and another 30,000 abroad in 2014.
“The all-new Genesis is the core of Hyundai Motor’s technology. It will set a new standard for the global premium sedan market,” the official said.