Home & Leisure

America's fourth most-popular automaker reveals its aggressive product plan

Larry Printz, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

NEW YORK — Call it a rite of spring, the New York International Auto Show, where the latest and greatest in automotive fashion is revealed in one of the fashion capitals of the world. Certainly, Hyundai Motor Group, which includes the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands, knows it, and uses it to great advantage.

And it works.

Need proof? Hyundai Motor Group is now America’s fourth-bestselling U.S. automaker with more than 10% U.S. market share. The Korean conglomerate now outsells Stellantis, Honda and Nissan, and its 2023 U.S. sales are topped only by Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Corporation and General Motors. Given the Korean automakers’ forthcoming products, one shouldn’t bet on their remaining fourth in the U.S. for very long.

Consider Genesis, which revealed its GV60 Magma Concept, the first of a line of Magma vehicles to reach Genesis showrooms shortly.

Magma is the name Genesis has chosen for its high-performance trim. For Genesis Chief Creative Officer Luc Donckerwolke, the name captures the essence of the Korean automaker. “Magma orange integrates the emotionality of a culture, which on the surface, looks extremely disciplined and organized. But there's a lot of emotion that makes everything what we do possible at Genesis,” Donckerwolke said after the GV60 Magma Concept’s unveiling. “And so, the magma color symbolizes that power and strength that we have, but keeping it controlled on the surface.”

To emphasize its commitment to endowing the Genesis brand with a performance veneer, the company has engaged six-time Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx as brand ambassador.

Nevertheless, Genesis did not release any details about the GV60 Magma, which was shown alongside the G8O Magma Special sedan, the GV80 SUV Coupe Concept and the stunning X Gran Berlinetta Concept, the latter laying bare Genesis’ ambitions to challenge the world’s luxury automakers in every segment.

As if to emphasize the point, the company went on to reveal the Genesis Neolun, its first full-size luxury SUV concept. The vehicle gets its name from the Greek word neo, or new, and the Latin word luna or moon.

For Genesis, the Neolun is the first vehicle in a new phase for the Genesis brand, as it makes a play to be among the world’s leading luxury automakers.


The Genesis Neolun is certainly an opulent SUV, with stunningly smooth coachwork lacking any seams where its body panels come together. Its lighting is integrated flush into the body, as is the roof rack, which rises when needed. Up front, the lighting forms a triangle seen on other Genesis concepts, while twin horizontal light lines visually distinguish its branding in the rear. Dual power-opening coach doors provide cabin access, with a step lowering to ease entry. Inside, four sizable captain’s chairs upholstered in leather rest on wood flooring. The front seats rotate 180 degrees to face rearward. Uniquely, the Neolun’s cabin employs a heating film on the dashboard, door trim, floor, seatbacks and console sides to warm the interior, a technology found in South Korean homes. As you might expect, there’s all sorts of ambient lighting and fold-down rear screens.

Don’t be surprised if this vehicle arrives in showrooms in a couple years as the Genesis GV90. Although execs have yet to confirm that, they indicated that, “we don't do show cars for the show business.”

Then there’s Hyundai, which unveiled its 2025 Santa Cruz and 2025 Tucson. Both share the same platform and benefit from mild front-end cosmetic updates, along with remodeled cabins anchored by a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment display. The center stack adds switchgear for frequently used items, while wireless use different drivetrains.

The Tucson starts with a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with front- or all-wheel drive. Hybrid models have all-wheel drive, with the standard hybrid 231 horsepower and the plug-in generating 268 horsepower. Meanwhile, the Santa Cruz’s engines remain unchanged, with a 191-horsepower 2.5-liter four or a turbocharged variant with 281 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard. Towing capacity of 3,500 pounds with the former engine, 5,000 pounds with the latter.

Not to be outdone, Kia unveiled the new K4 compact sedan, offering nearly 30 inches of digital instrumentation, in addition to standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and indulgent options like a digital key, Harman Kardon premium audio, heated and ventilated front seats, and a sunroof. Heady stuff for a mainstream compact.

The K4 is powered by a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission. A 190-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and 8-speed automatic will be optional. Notably, K4 GT-Line and GT-Line Turbo trims will come with a multi-link rear suspension, which should markedly improve handling. Expect the Kia K4, Hyundai Tucson and Santa Cruz to arrive later this year.

It all adds up to a remarkable showing of Hyundai Motor Group’s world-class design and engineering. And don’t think other automakers aren’t nervous.

“It's about the journey of creating future classics," said SangYup Lee, executive vice president and head of Hyundai and Genesis Global Design. "This is how we're going to move forward."

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC


blog comments powered by Disqus