LAS VEGAS – Hyundai Motor America is showing drawings of a production model of its rear-wheel-drive Concept Genesis Coupe that officially will be unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show Nov. 14.

The street version reflects at least 90% of the concept vehicle and also will be shown at the New York auto show in March.

Production is expected to begin near the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009, John Krafcik, HMA’s vice president-product development and strategic planning, tells Ward’s at the Specialty Equipment Marketers Assn. show here.

The new coupe will come with a 3.8L engine making 300 hp and a 6-speed automatic transmission. It will be based on the same platform as the Genesis sedan, which Hyundai hopes will become its flagship vehicle when it goes on sale later in 2008.

Krafcik says he is happy with Hyundai’s current lineup, calling it the “freshest” in the industry, with every vehicle except the Tucson cross/utility vehicle new in the last 24 months.

However, talk of a pickup truck may be all but dead. “I can’t say we’re missing a pickup truck,” Krafcik says. “Right now, it’s probably good to not have a light pickup because the segment is so difficult.”

He does admit Hyundai dealers want more vehicles with 4-cyl. engines, specifically the Elantra compact sedan and Accent subcompact sedan and hatchback, which are in short supply due to worldwide demand.

Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. officials told journalists in April the auto maker wants to improve the fuel economy of all its vehicles by increasing the efficiency of its current engines and employing more lightweight materials in its cars and trucks.

“We are developing a Theta 2, an upgraded version of the (4-cyl.) Theta engine, just to enhance the horsepower at lower fuel consumption,” Hyundai CEO Kim Dong-jin said at a media event in Seoul.

A 2.0L version of the 4-cyl. Theta powers the Elantra in the U.S. and is part of the 4-cyl. “World Engine” family Hyundai developed with Chrysler LLC and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

A Hyundai official told Ward’s at this month’s Tokyo motor show the auto maker plans to debut a new 4-cyl. Theta gasoline engine in its midsize Sonata sedan in the U.S. in February.

cbanks@wardsauto.com