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New star on the track
Hyundai shoots TV commercial at Road Atlanta
Hyundai Motor Co. shoots a commercial featuring its new car, Genesis, last week at Road Atlanta. The commercial will air in early 2009 and the Genesis model will be sold starting in the spring. - photo by KATIE DUNN |

BRASELTON  The sleek yellow car sped around the corner of the track in the early morning light. Then the driver rounded the same corner again and again, with cameras capturing every movement.

This was the scene Nov. 25-27 at Road Atlanta, as a 40-member crew descended upon the multi-purpose motor sports facility to shoot footage for a new Hyundai commercial.

Hyundai Motor Co., in conjunction with advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, scouted out several locations across the country before deciding on Road Atlanta's 2.5-mile course to shoot a commercial for the 2009 Hyundai Genesis.

"For one thing, the topography of the track is incredible," said Patricia Romero, Hyundai's national advertising manager. "There's a lot of turns, hairpin turns, hills; you can really show it (the car) off. And there's so much landscape out here to choose from."

The Hyundai Genesis is the car company's "first true performance vehicle," as Daanesh Chanduwadia, the ad agency's product strategist, put it.

"This is bringing back rear-wheel drive at an affordable price," Chanduwadia said. "For people who can't afford an Aston Martin, a James Bond car ... this shows Hyundai can create a performance car."

The four-door vehicle, which can reach more than 130 miles per hour, has received some buzz already from car enthusiasts and has been reviewed in publications like USA Today and Motor Trend Magazine, Romero said.

With 24 cameras, 12 microphones and three Hyundais on set, the crew diligently worked through the day before Thanksgiving because they were truly dedicated to the car and the shoot, Romero said.

"The director and others on the shoot are huge car fans," she said. "The director has driven it (the car) umpteen times."

The commercial is set to air in 2009. The car will officially launch in April or May of next year.
The Hyundai Genesis was among contenders for Motor Trend's 2009 car of the year, an honor that was bestowed on the 2009 Nissan GT-R.

Last week, a top Hyundai executive said the automaker plans to focus on developing countries and the small-car market next year as the global downturn weakens demand, according to the Associated Press.

"We are afraid 2009 will be very tough year for automakers," Mong Hyun Yoon, director for business strategy, said at a media briefing in Hong Kong.

The company, which along with affiliate Kia Motors Corp. forms the world's fifth-largest automotive group, said last month that third-quarter net profit fell 37.8 percent.

In addition to the Genesis, next year, the company plans to roll out a hybrid Elantra small car for the South Korean market, and bring a gas-electric hybrid version of its Sonata sedan to the U.S. in 2010.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.