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Hyundai Considers Rear-Drive BMW 3 Series Competitor

Just the Facts:
  • Hyundai is considering the development of a BMW 3 Series challenger, Edmunds has learned.
  • The higher-priced 2015 Hyundai Genesis creates space for a smaller, lower-priced rear-drive sedan.
  • But Hyundai worries it could end up with too many sedans.

PARADISE VALLEY, Arizona — Hyundai is in the process of determining whether it should develop a premium rear-drive compact sedan that would be aimed at BMW's 3 Series sedan.

With the redesigned 2015 Genesis sedan moving upmarket, carrying a base sticker price that is $2,830 higher than the 2014 model, "it creates a little space" for a new model below it, Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America CEO, told Edmunds.

"If you just look at a pricing ladder, it opens up some opportunities," he said during an interview at the 2015 Genesis press event here. "We think there is an opportunity for us in the BMW 3 Series space."

The base 2015 Genesis carries a $38,950 sticker price including $950 for shipping, up from $38,120 for the 2014 model. It competes with the 2014 Acura RLX, Infiniti Q50 and BMW 5 Series.

The base 2014 BMW 320i stickers for $33,675 including $925 for transportation, a pricing area that likely would be targeted by Hyundai.

The rear-wheel-drive Hyundai sedan could be on the road in four or five years if approval is given, Zuchowski said.

Hyundai's premium cars are the Equus sedan, Genesis and the Genesis coupe. The BMW 3 Series competitor would be Hyundai's fourth premium model. Today, rear-drive and all-wheel drive separate the automaker's premium cars from such mass-market front-drive models as the Hyundai Elantra, Sonata and Azera.

Zuchowski said an issue to be resolved is the wide range of sedans the automaker currently offers, such as the Sonata, Azera and the Genesis.

 "You don't want to have too many sedans out there," he said. "We are balancing it all out. We are not going to move quickly" in making this decision.

Edmunds says: A compact rear-drive sedan would be a logical next step for Hyundai.

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