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Hyundai plots UK imports of Genesis Coupe

Published: 17 August 2008

Spurred on by massive interest in its Genesis Coupe Concept at the British International Motor Show, Hyundai UK is seriously considering importing a small number of the muscular 306bhp V6-engined coupes in left-hand drive format to sate local demand.

When will Hyundai decided to import the Genesis Coupe?

At the moment, test engineers from Hyundai’s UK headquarters are undertaking evaluation drives in the American and Korean versions of the Genesis Coupe to determine which models are best suited to the UK’s driving conditions, and studying the homologation issues such a import decision would raise.

‘We took the Genesis Coupe to the Show in order to gauge reaction from an enthusiast audience – the response was overwhelmingly positive and has encouraged us to begin building a business plan around bringing this car to the UK,’ Hyundai’s marketing director Andrew Cullis told CAR. ‘There are still many financial and type-approval hoops to jump through, but we hope to be able to satisfy the demand in Britain for a high-quality, exceptionally stylish and sophisticated coupe.’

If Hyundai jumps through enough hoops we could see the 2+2 coupe arrive in left-hand drive within the next 18 months, priced around £27,000 – low enough to undercut Nissan’s 350Z and make it a proper performance bargain.

Click ‘Next’ below to read about all the problems Hyundai UK will face trying to import the Genesis Coupe

Why 18 months? Does it take that long to import a car? 

Because the Coupe was designed and developed for the American, Chinese and Korean markets, it doesn’t meet European pedestrian impact regulations – which in turn suggests that the development and installation of a costly pyrotechnical pop-up bonnet might be the only way for the car to pass type approval tests.

As well as looking at a low-volume import process, Hyundai UK is also looking at demand from other right-hand drive markets such as Japan, Australia and South Africa, and if the numbers add up, it will piling the pressure on Hyundai in Korea to finance production of a right-hand drive model.

Whether it be in left- or right-hand drive format, the Genesis Coupe would then be followed in late 2010 by a smaller coupe – said to draw inspiration from the Veloster – that would replace the current coupe. Expect that car to sit on modified i30 architecture and powered by Hyundai’s new 210bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot.

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By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars