After months of lobbying by right-hand drive markets around the world — including Australia — Hyundai's head office has caved in to the pressure and will announce that a right-hand drive version of the Genesis Coupe, winner of the North American car of the year, will be made.
While nobody within Hyundai is willing to go on the record to confirm the move it is understood that the decision to give a right-hand drive program the go-ahead was made in Korea within the last couple of weeks with an intention of announcing the move either at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month or the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Hyundai Motor Company Australia this week declined to offer any comment on the news but is on the record as saying it would take the stylish coupe in a heartbeat as a replacement for the ageing Tiburon.
It is believed that production of a right-hand drive Genesis Coupe will begin early in 2011. It would be logical for the program to include the sedan derivative of the Genesis — although there has been no word out of Korea on plans to that effect.
A twin-pronged Genesis program would offer Hyundai Australia the opportunity to enter a modern, stylish large family car into the local market as an alternative to the Grandeur, for which there is no confirmed RHD program for the next generation.
The sleek Genesis styling was launched just on 18 months ago to rave reviews. But at the time Hyundai was adamant that it was for left-hand drive countries only, predominantly the huge North American and European markets.
Demand across the world increased when the Genesis became the first Korean-designed and manufactured car to win North America's hugely prestigious Car Of The Year award at the New York Motor Show late last year.
The Genesis, both Coupe and Sedan, came out of the company's California design studio under the stewardship of Joel Piaskowski who is credited as being almost single-handedly responsible for the improved styling language sweeping through the Hyundai model range. Unfortunately for Hyundai, Piaskowski was poached by Mercedes-Benz last December to head up its North American design operation.
Widely considered to be the logical replacement for the ageing Tiburon Coupe, the Genesis Coupe takes Hyundai into new territory with its rear-wheel-drive architecture and sports performance.
Powering the top end Coupe is an all-aluminium 231kW 3.8-litre DOHC V6, while at the entry level the engine is a 166kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four. The V6 features dual continuously variable valve timing and with 361Nm of torque on tap the car will set behind a 0-100km/h sprint 6.3 seconds.
The V6 is mated to a six-speed ZF automatic. A six-speed manual is also available and features a short-stroke shifter, optimised gear ratios and triple cone synchronisers.
The optimised chassis makes for dynamic handling and more accurate steering. Dual MacPherson struts control the front and the rear has a five-link set-up. High strength steel gives a stiffer, lighter body structure.
Safety fare is likely to include anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, six airbags and active headrests.