You may be used to thinking of luxury cars as big and ultra-roomy, but Genesis, the luxury automaker spun off from South Korea's Hyundai a few years ago, unveiled something Tuesday night on a much smaller scale.
The Genesis Mint is a small electric concept car designed to go where long and wide luxury sedans are more of a pain than a comfort. It's a "city car" meant to squeeze through the narrow alleys and dense traffic of packed urban centers. The two-seat, two-door car has a shortened sedan-shaped body, but without a traditional trunk.
Instead of rear seats and a conventional trunk lid, the Mint has a deep shelf for cargo or luggage that's accessed by a set of Lamborghini-style scissor doors on the side. Since the cargo area is accessed from the side, people don't have to walk all the way around the back to get to their baggage.
The Mint is not just a fun design exercise, said Manfred Fitzgerald, the global head of Genesis. The brand is seriously considering producing a vehicle like this if parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, will approve it. It could potentially enter production around 2022, Fitzgerald said at a meeting with reporters before the unveiling.
Fitzgerald said he does not see the Mint as an "entry level" car for Genesis. Instead, it's simply an alternative product intended to be just as luxurious as any other Genesis model.
"I think this will be definitely an icon for the brand," he said.
Despite its dimensions, the Mint is not meant to be a sporty car. It is really intended for urban gridlock as opposed to sweeping country roads. The fact that the car is electric allowed designers to create more interior space since no room had to be carved out for an internal combustion engine or a transmission.
"I don't think that you need a lot of sports attributes for this," Fitzgerald said. "This is something which will be very pragmatic, but at the same time cool and stylish."