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South Korean automotive brands topped the ranks in one of the auto industry’s most closely watched quality surveys.
USA TODAY

Having shown that it can compete with midsize and large luxury cars in the U.S., Hyundai’s Genesis division is about to try to make a dent with smaller cars against some tough rivals.

The automaker unveiled the G70, a compact luxury car that will go up against BMW’s 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Lexus’ IS, to name a few. It joins the midsize G80, formerly the Hyundai Genesis, and the G90, which took over from the Hyundai Equus when the automaker split off its luxury vehicles into their own division nearly two years ago.

Little by little, Genesis is broadening its portfolio, but is sure to struggle as long as it goes without SUVs, which currently dominate new vehicle sales.

Partly because of the shift in consumer preference, sales of cars classed as “lower luxury” — mostly compacts and midsize premium models — were off 9.4% in the first eight months of the year, Autodata reports.

The G70 was unveiled in South Korea, where Hyundai is based and where it will go on sale this month, to be followed by other markets, including the U.S.

“G70 is the latest demonstration of our dedication to delivering innovative, customer-oriented vehicles,” said Woong-Chul Yang, vice chairman of the Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D Division, in a…