Former Lamborghini exec to head Hyundai's Genesis brand

Manfred Fitzgerald previously served as Lamborghini\'s brand and design director.

Hyundai has appointed former Lamborghini executive Manfred Fitzgerald to lead its newly formed Genesis brand.

During more than a decade at Lamborghini, Fitzgerald served as the director of branding and design. He is credited with helping the Raging Bull transform from a "prototype car company" to an established luxury marque as sales increased by 10-fold.

The executive will help Hyundai achieve its goal of distinguishing a standalone luxury brand under the Genesis name. The division will receive a unique design identity, along with unique logos and a consistent naming structure as it prepares to take on German and Japanese rivals.

"Based in Hyundai Motor Headquarters Seoul, Mr. Fitzgerald will be in charge of establishing and executing strategies for the Genesis brand as the Senior Vice President," Hyundai said in a statement. "For the brand to set a strong foothold in the global luxury car market, he will take a core role in brand strategy, marketing and other business operations within the Genesis brand."

The Genesis brand will eventually encompass six new models by the end of the decade. Its first model, the G90 flagship sedan, will essentially serve as a successor to the Equus. Other planned models include several crossovers and an entry-level sedan, allowing the brand to compete with a spectrum of established competitors ranging from the BMW 3-Series to the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class.

Unlike most luxury brands operated by mainstream automakers, Hyundai will not establish a separate sales network for its Genesis lineup. The company will also be targeting 'new luxury' buyers, attempting to snag customers who are ready to take a step upmarket but have not yet decided on a particular brand. The strategy appears to acknowledge the difficulties in converting customers who already own a luxury vehicle from an established brand.

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