The Hyundai Genesis, the brand's first luxury flagship, is awarded North American Car of the Year honors at the Detroit auto show on Jan. 11, 2009.
It was Hyundai Group's first win in the annual award program.
The Genesis sedan was built on a new rear-wheel-drive platform that also spawned a coupe. It was powered by 3.5-liter and 3.8-liter V-6 engines, as well as a new 4.6-liter V-8 with 375 hp. The engines were paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
While Hyundai introduced the Genesis during a major recession, it was counting on customers to be drawn to pricing far below Japanese and German rivals.
Runners-up for the 2009 North American Car of the Year were the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and Ford Flex.
Genesis has since become a separate luxury brand under Hyundai Group.