Hyundai introduced their first car the Excel in 1984. The Excel was very inexpensive at $4995, and accordingly sold 168,000 cars in the U.S. in the first year. But, owners started uncovering substantial quality control problems and sales dropped substantially.
Hyundai has come a long way since the early Excel! Hyundai has increased their quality substantially and they have one of the best warranties in the auto business.
In 2008, Hyundai introduced the Genesis sedan. I am of the opinion that the Hyundai Genesis is a paradigm shift for Hyundai. It is probably equivalent to the Lexus LS 400 introduction in 1989. Lexus subsequently increased sales exponentially and become a household name in the process.
Now Hyundai did not introduce as separate new luxury line like Lexus. But they did introduce a substantial vehicle that is now the halo car for Hyundai. Now they have to overcome the stigma of being a lower tier auto producer.
With Genesis V6 base pricing starts at $33,000 plus options, add an additional $5,000 for the V8. The V8 was voted a 10 Best motor by Wards. Both cars are an exceptional buys. The Genesis looks and drives like a more expensive car than the direct competition based on price. The Genesis was named North American Car of the Year for 2009 at the North American Auto Auto Show in Detroit.
I am of the opinion that Hyundai is going to compete with much higher end cars. A Car and Driver Road Test compared the Genesis 4.6 V8 to some high end competition like the Audi A6 4.2, Infinity M45, Lexus GS460, and Mercedes E550.