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Hyundai to launch new Genesis sedan at Detroit motor show

Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest carmaker, will debut its all new Genesis premium sedan in the U.S. at the upcoming Detroit auto show, industry sources said Thursday.

The planned unveiling of the sedan, which is the second iteration of Hyundai’s upscale model, reflects the steady popularity of the first generation Genesis.

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit will kick off Monday and run through Jan. 26 with 30 carmakers from around the world displaying 50 vehicles.

The new model is slightly longer but effectively has the same footprint of the outgoing car, and is the first Hyundai sedan to have all-wheel drive. The original Genesis was a rear-wheel drive vehicle.

Hyundai said it aims to sell 62,000 units of the premium car in 2014, with at least half of all sales coming from overseas markets.

The car already went on sale in Hyundai’s home market with 12,000 preorders being secured a little over a month after its unveiling in late November.

The company’s aggressive marketing goal reflects its confidence in the car that it hopes will take on top-of-the-line German carmakers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

“The original Genesis seems to have given Hyundai confidence that the new model will be well received in foreign markets, particularly since it has improved driving dynamics and safety features,” a industry insider said.

Hyundai is expected to sell the V6 3.8-liter Lambda engine model as well as the more powerful V8 5.0-liter Tau engine model in the United States. Both engines are mated to an in-house eight-speed automatic transmission.

The original Genesis won the North American Car of the Year award in January 2009, the first time that a Hyundai vehicle won the prestigious award and helped secure a positive image of the car in the minds of consumers.

In the past, Hyundai has been known as a “value” brand that made compact and mid-size cars, causing some to question whether the company had the skills to enter the premium segment.

Since it started sales in 2008, the car has made steady gains with more than 16,000 Genesis sedans being sold in 2010 alone. Hyundai said accumulated sales will likely top the 100,000 mark in the near future.

The carmaker has not been forthcoming with the exact date of the car’s release but judging from the fact that the car is being called the Genesis 2015, it should start reaching U.S. consumers before the middle of the year.

Besides the Genesis, Hyundai’s sister brand, Kia Motors Corp., said it will show its concept “Stinger,” or KCD-10, coup for the first time at the NAIAS.

The concept vehicle designed to generate public interest and show the direction of Kia’s design language will feature the company’s distinctive “tiger nose” grill, vertical LED headlamps, 20-inch alloy wheels and carbon fiber front splitters.

The carmaker has already showcased the K900 premium sedan at last year’s LA auto show, as it is moving to capitalize on the popularity of the Cadenza near-luxury sedan.

Hyundai and Kia, meanwhile, expect the global car market to make a recovery in 2014. Industry experts said demand for new vehicles in the U.S. could go up around 3.2 percent this year.

The two carmakers said they aim to sell 7.86 million cars in the new year, with 4.9 million being made by Hyundai. Last year, they sold a combined 7.56 million units worldwide. (Yonhap News)