Hyundai received the 2008 "Production Preview Vehicle of the Year" award for its Concept Genesis Coupe at the seventh annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards today. Concept Genesis Coupe closely resembles the production model which will join Hyundai's lineup in the spring of 2009.  The awards, organized by the South East Automotive Media Organization (SEAMO), recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. Winners were honored in a ceremony at the Automotive Hall of Fame.

According to juror Kevin Kelly of Automotive Design & Production, the Concept Genesis Coupe is "sporty, aggressive and modern – not words you commonly associate with Hyundai design, with the exception of this car. The Concept Genesis Coupe doesn't try to be a muscle car in the vein of the American concept, it busts through those doors to create something that's a combination of sport and a bit of luxury that will still appeal to those who want power."

"It's rewarding that SEAMO recognized how closely Concept Genesis Coupe foreshadowed the production model's breakthrough design," said Joel Piaskowski, chief designer, Hyundai Design, North American Design Center. "Our design objective for the concept was to create a ‘Tuner' version of the production car.  This allowed us to exaggerate the front and rear fascia designs as well as introduce more aftermarket design details in keeping with a tuner image."

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Some of these items include the carbon fiber hood, roof panels and lower valence panels to the larger, more aggressive front air intake and dual exhaust ports in the rear.

"The production Genesis Coupe will be another excellent example of Hyundai's commitment to outstanding quality, value, safety and forward-looking design" Piaskowski added.

A jury of more than two dozen professional automotive journalists from throughout North America selected the concept award winners from the 40 concept vehicles and 12 production preview vehicles that made a North American debut during the 2008 auto show season. The Concept Award panel is assembled by peer selection, and the jurors do not pay or get paid to participate.

The "Production Preview" category is for those vehicles based on a model that has already been announced or planned for production. As a "reality check" between the design and production stages of development, production preview concepts continue to grow in importance.

The Hyundai Genesis Coupe, which debuted at the 2007 Los Angeles International Auto Show, is a new benchmark for affordable 300-horsepower sports coupes.  The Genesis Coupe is a purpose-built rear-wheel drive sports coupe featuring two performance-focused engines – a 212-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a range-topping all-aluminum 306-horsepower, DOHC 3.8-liter V6 engine.

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea.  Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by almost 800 Hyundai dealerships nationwide.