Seoul, South Korea - Hyundai officially launched its new rear-wheel drive Genesis luxury sedan Tuesday, setting a goal of selling 55 000 of the vehicles this year.
Hyundai Motor said in a statement it invested 500 billion won (US$533 million; 362 million) to develop the car over the past four years. The company sees Genesis as competitor to luxury brands such as Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus and similar products from Europe.
The car "symbolises our determination to enter the highly competitive arena of luxury cars now dominated by the Europeans," Hyundai Chairman and CEO Chung Mong-koo said in the statement.
"Genesis will consolidate our position as the leader of the Korean auto industry and will pave the way forward for our leap into the global market," he said.
Hyundai, which launched the vehicle Tuesday in South Korea, said it aims to sell 35 000 of the cars at home and another 20 000 overseas in 2008. It is targeting exports of 45 000 of the vehicles in 2009, the statement said.
Hyundai plans to begin shipping the high-end sedan to the U.S. in June.
The Genesis has a six-speed automatic transmission and options for a 3.3-liter, a 3.8-liter or a 4.6-liter engine.
It sells for between 40.5 million won (US$43,142; 29,330) and 52.8 million won (US$56,240; 38,240) in South Korea.