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Detroit Auto Show: Hyundai Genesis concept hints at design direction

January 14, 2013|By David Undercoffler
  • Hyundai used its news conference at the North American International Auto Show to unveil the HCD-14 Genesis concept.
Hyundai used its news conference at the North American International Auto… (Hyundai Motor America )

DETROIT -- It’s named like R2-D2's cousin, uses rear-hinged doors like a Rolls Royce and touts a cabin that needs only gestures to turn on the air conditioning.

But look past all the gimmickry on the Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis concept and you'll see elements of reality that are headed to the company's next vehicle.

Hyundai used its news conference Monday afternoon at the North American International Auto Show to unveil the four-door coupe concept, which it says teases the next chapter in the company's aesthetic.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Detroit Auto Show

"The HCD-14 Genesis gives a hint of the design direction we'll be taking, and an indication of the focus we're placing on driving dynamics and technology," John Krafcik, president and chief executive of Hyundai Motors America, said in a statement ahead of the event.

As evident in the concept's name, the HCD-14 Genesis provides a preview of what the new Hyundai Genesis will look like. The second generation of this rear-wheel-drive premium sedan is currently in development, with a production version likely shown at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show in November, or the 2014 Detroit Auto Show next January.

Exact powertrain details haven't been released for the production Genesis, but the South Korean automaker says the concept has a 5.0-liter, direct-injected V-8 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

This pairing is similar to that on the current Genesis 5.0 R-Spec, which has 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque.

Though Hyundai hasn't said which of the concept's styling cues will make it to the production Genesis, recent spy photos indicate that it will have the same four-door coupe profile.

Other features from the concept likely won't make it into the next Genesis.

PHOTOS: Highlights of the Detroit Auto Show

Hyundai says the HCD-14 concept eliminates the need for conventional buttons and knobs for functions such as climate control, the stereo and the navigation system.

Instead, it tracks the driver's eye movements and hand gestures and works with a heads-up display to keep the driver's eyes on the road at all times.

No word yet on which functions are controlled by a high-five or an eye-roll.

In addition to hinting at future design and technology, Hyundai also used the HCD-14 to tout the recent success it's had in the premium segment.

Hyundai said it's sold more than 124,000 Genesis sedans since introducing the car in 2008. Together with the full-size Equus, the automaker says it has a 9% market share in the premium segment. This compares with the 5% market share Hyundai has overall.

"This success paves the way for a new generation of rear-wheel-drive premium products," Krafcik said.

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