When the Volkswagen Phaeton launched here in the States, nobody liked it. Well, that's not true. Every journalist we know who drove the mighty VW went on and on about how it's probably actually the greatest car in the world (especially all decked out with a W12 engine) and how the HVAC system is a full generation ahead of the competition (you can't beat in-car radiators!) and how the seats so awesomely massaged their fat butts. That said, it was still a terrible car in terms of branding, marketing, etc. And now we have no Phaeton.
Then came the Hyundai Genesis. The big sedan version with the Tau (whatever that means) 4.6-liter V8. "Hmmm," our motor-mouthed brethren chimed. "Hyundai might just be on to something here." Lots of good ink got spilled in the Genesis's general direction and the Mercedes-Benz lookalike Korean luxury car got picked as the 2009 North American Car of the Year. It even appears to be selling. How things change.
Well guess what? Kia wants in. AboutCAR caught a glimpse of the proposed Kia K9 at a design conference in Seoul. Standing next to the proposed super sedan is Peter Schreyer, best known for designing the original Audi TT, he is now Kia's chief of design. Should the K9 show up, expect it to arrive in the U.S. with a Genesis-sourced chassis and a big fat V8. Other parts of the world will get other engines. Will it work? As Hyundai America CEO and President John Krafcik told us at the LA Auto Show when he was asked which he liked better, the new Sonata or Tucson, "I just really love my Genesis." And there you have it.