epa05010048 Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun speaks about the automaker's future plans at a launching ceremony of the Genesis global brand in Seoul, South Korea, 04 November 2015. Chung said the independent brand will target the growing high-end vehicle market and expand its lineup to six by 2020. EPA/YONHAP SOUTH KOREA OUT

Seoul, South Korea - Hyundai has launched a global luxury nameplate, to compete with Toyota's Lexus, Nissan's Infiniti and Honda's Acura sub-brands.

From now on Genesis will no longer be the model name for Hyundai's flagship sedan, but a whole line-up of 'human-centred' luxury cars and SUVs, starting with an all-new luxury sedan in December 2015.

Making the announcement on Wednesday in Seoul, Hyundai vice-chairman Euisun Chung the range would be extended to six models - including a sports coupé and a premium SUV - by 2020, intended to attract 'new luxury' customers with a combination of user-friendly technology, refined performance and styling, and a hassle-free customer experience.

Chung said Genesis would "distance itself from the traditional technological overload of brand-focused competitors", concentrating instead on a personalised service.

To give the brand a distinct identity of its own, Hyundai has appointed Luc Donckerwolke, previously head of design for Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Seat and Skoda models at Volkswagen, has been appointed to lead the new division.

NEW LOGO

Genesis models will wear a fancier version of the winged shield logo used on the current Genesis sedan, rather than Hyundai's offset 'H', and will have their own alphanumeric naming structure, based on the letter G followed by a two-digit code.

The new Equus will apparently be badged as the G90, the current Genesis will be renamed G80, and so on, to denote the segment. Local media report that a midsized, rear-wheel drive sedan, the G70, is due to debut late in 2017, with a premium SUV and a sports coupé to follow.

While Genesis cars will feature the latest proactive safety tech, convenience features and, of course, IT connectivity, everybody at the announcement mentioned that a key facet of the brief was to simplify the interaction between driver and car.

Given that Hyundai originally carved a foothold in Western markets by packing in more gizmotronics than anything in its price range, this shows a new level of maturity in the Hyundai boardroom - or at least its Genesis division.

The Genesis brand will initially be launched in the Korean, Chinese, North American and Middle Eastern luxury car markets, and will roll out to Europe and other parts of Asia as the model range grows.

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