Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc. has launched a standalone brand of premium vehicles named after its Genesis luxury sedan.

The Genesis line will operate side-by-side with Hyundai's existing offering of economy sedans and SUVs—similar to Honda's approach with the Acura nameplate or Nissan's with Infiniti. Hyundai Chief Executive David Zuchowski will add oversight of the new line, which will be based at the automaker's North American headquarters here.

“Genesis once was only a product but from now on it is ... a new separate brand,” said Euisun Chung, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Co. in South Korea.

Luc Donckerwolke—whose resume includes stints at Bentley, Audi and Lamborghini—will lead the design direction for the newly formed Prestige Design Division which will work on the Genesis line.

The Genesis brand will develop six new models by 2021. Vehicles will feature a wing-type emblem, a change from the current one on the Genesis sedan, and adopt a alphanumeric naming protocol with the letter "G" and a number—90, 80, 70—to represent the segment—sedan, coupe or SUV.

Hyundai's Equus luxury sedan will be rebranded as the G90. Dealers that currently sell it will be able to offer the new version, but it's unclear if they'll get the rest of the Genesis line. Hyundai did not provide details on whether the Genesis brand will be sold as a separate dealership franchise.