The former Lamborghini executive running Hyundai’s luxury brand says straight-line performance is meaningless.
Hyundai’s fledgling Genesis luxury brand is taking something of a radical approach to marketing its line of premium vehicles. According to Genesis boss Manfred Fitzgerald, the company will ditch the idea of having a sizzling-fast halo car and instead focus on just building vehicles that customers want. Speaking to Motoring at the 2017 New York Auto Show, Fitzgerald was downright critical of the whole halo car concept, at least in terms of attention-getting performance stats.
“Alternative propulsion systems are at the core of this brand,” Fitzgerald said. “We truly believe in that. If you look at what’s happening with electrification, performance will not have that dominant role anymore. If you can accelerate to 100km/h in under three seconds it’s meaningless. Whether its 2.6 or 2.7 seconds who cares? Our customer doesn’t. That’s not going to be your competence anymore.”
Those are some mighty strong words coming from a man who used to be the director of brand and design at Lamborghini, but then again, Lamborghini is pretty much a builder of nothing but high-performance halo cars. Still, it’s a tried-and-true tactic that has brought people into dealerships for decades – get people through the door to see the sexy supercar, then sell them on the high-volume model. According to Fitzgerald, however, Genesis customers are simply interested in, well, Genesis.
“So the customer will be compelled by other things — the brand, the design, connectivity, interior looks. Those will be the future hallmarks of brands,” he said.
While flat-out performance doesn’t appear to be on the marketing agenda at Genesis, the company is planning a two-door GT coupe that would likely fall into the halo-car category, even if it doesn’t offer blistering performance compared to offerings from Audi, Mercedes, or BMW. The automaker’s head of design Luk Donckerwolke confirmed the GT at the New York show, though we probably won’t see it until 2021.