Click above for a high-res gallery of the Hyundai Genesis sedan.

Hyundai's first foray into the world of rear-wheel-drive needs to be a success in order to justify the development, manufacturing and launching costs. Hyundai's vice president for product development, John Krafcik, told reports that the automaker expects to sell 50,000 Genesis models annually in the U.S. – 20,000 sedans and 30,000 coupes.

But the Genesis is only part of Hyundai's image makeover. The Korean manufacturer intends to launch its first hybrid model by 2010, equipped with a next generation lithium-ion battery pack. According to Krafcik, "Our first U.S. hybrid is going to be the Sonata," however, Hyundai has no plans to offer the new sedan with a plug-in option. That's a strategy that's served Toyota well, and Hyundai is clearly trying to follow in the Japanese juggernaut's footsteps.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

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