Hyundai Genesis to Play Major Role in Fox’s ’24’

When Jack Bauer saves the world for the seventh time, he’ll do it from behind the wheel of a Hyundai.

The Korean automaker has committed to a season-long integration in Fox’s 24, taking up the slack from Ford, which until recently had enjoyed category exclusivity on the program. Per terms of the deal, the Hyundai Genesis will play a pivotal role throughout the season’s 26-episode arc, serving as the primary vehicle for rogue super-spy Bauer.

Although the integrations began in November, with the two-hour special 24: Redemption, Hyundai announced the buy only after it had trumpeted its January sales figures. According to internal data, last month Hyundai posted the industry’s highest year-to-year increase, selling 24,512 vehicles, a 14.3 percent improvement versus January 2008. (The only other manufacturer that actually boosted its sales was Subaru, which moved 12,194 cars and trucks in January, an increase of 8 percent.)

In addition to the product placement, the Hyundai Genesis brand is featured on News Corp.’s MySpace and Hulu.com, a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate and NBC Universal.

“Our partnership with . . . 24 provides a tremendous 360-degree platform to showcase our new flagship, the Genesis sedan,” said Chris Perry, director of marketing communications, Hyundai Motor America. “The unique in-show integration ensures exposure when the audience is most involved with the TV series . . . but the extensions allow us to build a relationship with consumers in the real world.”

With $80 million budgeted toward the launch of the 2009 Genesis sedan, the Korean automaker has been all over the dial of late, buying three Super Bowl spots and seven Academy Awards avails, including one 60-second ad. The marque has also enjoyed a great deal of exposure via TNT’s latest original drama series, Leverage.

While Ford’s presence will be reduced significantly, the automaker will still make regular appearances on 24 this season. Ford has been a major 24 backer since signing on as the exclusive sponsor of the second-season premiere back in October 2002.