New Delhi: Hyundai Motor Co. will launch its luxury brand Genesis in the Indian market after 2020 and will test the acceptance of its models in the premium segment by first introducing its Kona electric SUV in July, three people aware of the development said.

For Genesis, Hyundai will open company-owned experience centres and small showrooms in select locations across the country. Hyundai is also expected to display its luxury products under the Genesis brand at Auto Expo 2020.

Hyundai’s affiliate Kia Motors Corp. is scheduled to launch its first car in India this year.

For its premium Kona Electric SUV launch, Hyundai had hired consulting firm Deloitte Haskins to work on the strategy of launching an electric vehicle at a premium price point and the viability of this approach three years back.

For electric vehicles Hyundai will have a top-down approach, wherein products in the premium segment will be introduced first and then gradually at lower price points.

According to the first person cited earlier, Hyundai India has been studying the possibility of launching its Genesis brand for some time in India and has been given a go-ahead finally. This may help the company attract a different segment of customers in India.

“The launch of Kona electric vehicle will also help Hyundai understand what customers in the premium segment expect from electric vehicles," added the person, requesting anonymity.

An email sent to Hyundai Motor India Ltd on Tuesday remained unanswered.

Among leading vehicle makers in India, only Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd has launched electric vehicles in the affordable range. With the Kona SUV, Hyundai will be the first among foreign carmakers to launch an electric vehicle in the premium segment.

With the launch of Genesis, Hyundai will have three different brands in India to cater to different segments. Genesis will compete with the likes of Lexus of Toyota Motor Corp. Hyundai has already invested more than a billion dollars in India for its second brand, Kia, and the first product is expected before Diwali in October.

Genesis is already sold in some developed markets.

According to the second person cited earlier, Hyundai has been trying to make a mark in the premium segment in India for quite some time. Also, for the Kona SUV the company is taking a reasonable risk as the investment is not very high, but it will get to know how the premium customers view brand Hyundai.

“For manufacturers like Hyundai, quality is very important. Hence they choose to launch their first electric vehicle at a high price point," said the second person, requesting anonymity.

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