By on September 26, 2017

Kia Stinger Genesis G70 - Images: Genesis, Kia“It’s all about how you bring across to the customer that they don’t feel they are driving or seeing the same car.” — Manfred Fitzgerald, Genesis Motors Senior Vice President

The 2018 Kia Stinger and 2018 Genesis G70 are platform partners, two new sporty and luxurious four-doors from the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.

The timing of their release is synchronized. They utilize the same engine portfolio. They’ll compete in a similar price bracket. But there are differences. For starters, the styling is markedly different, the kind of difference one expects to find when one car, the Kia, is a hatchback and the other is a sedan. The Kia Stinger works harder to get noticed; the Genesis G70 is more subdued.

But while Hyundai’s Genesis spinoff will need to further differentiate the G70 from a marketing standpoint in order to provide a true luxury brand glow, it’s already been made clear by Albert Biermann, the former BMW chassis guru who’s now head of vehicle testing for Hyundai and Kia, that the cars are very similar. In terms of driving experience, “It’s not so easy maybe as with the styling, but I think we can find good tuning and calibration that set them a little bit apart,” Biermann said earlier this year.

A little bit.

Yet in a conversation with Manfred Fitzgerald, the senior vice president at the Genesis brand, Wards Auto received a strikingly different answer. Asked how the Genesis G70 differs from the Kia Stinger, Fitzgerald says, “You tell me. I don’t look at the Stinger. We’re focusing on something totally different.”

Your teenager calls this #shade.

2018 Genesis G70 - Image: GenesisAgain, the two cars are different, different enough that buyers who favor the Genesis G70 might not even like the look of the Kia Stinger. The Audi A7 has proven that consumers — even American consumers — are willing to overlook a liftback. (The A7 easily outsells the Mercedes-Benz CLS, for example.) But there’s no denying Kia’s market is limited both by a bodystyle Americans have often rejected and, at the Stinger’s lofty price point, the Kia badge. The K900 hasn’t exactly displayed a collective American willingness to spend big on Kias, what with its $50K MSRP and 40 sales per month.

Manfred Fitzgerald, U.S. Genesis boss Erwin Raphael, and the entire Genesis team would have you believe Genesis is different. Premium vehicles that proudly wear Made In Korea on their sleeves will be perceived as high-end luxury. Genesis won’t move any further downmarket than the G70 in order to protect the aspirations of the brand. Genesis is more interested in crafting the right kind of image than selling the right number of vehicles, they’ll say.2018 Kia Stinger - Image: KiaBut then, in America, you’ll go to buy a Genesis G70 and discover that it’s being sold alongside the Hyundai Accent in the very same showroom, and you’ll wonder just how strong this luxury image really is. 350 of Hyundai’s 800 dealers sell Genesis’ sedans. Raphael wants that number to shrink; he also wants to speed up the process of building standalone Genesis stores.

Until then, however, what’s the big difference between the Genesis G70 and Kia Stinger? Wards doubled down and asked Manfred Fitzgerald a second time, citing the shared platform and engine lineup. “That’s a stretch,” Fitzgerald says. “Other cars share the same platform, and you wouldn’t be asking that question. As a corporation, it is normal and makes economic sense to share platforms and components.”

Indeed, vehicles as distinct as the Audi A5 and Bentley Bentayga ride on variations of the same platform. But Hyundai and Kia, to be fair, are not Audi and Bentley. “It’s all about how you bring across to the customer that they don’t feel they are driving or seeing the same car,” Fitzgerald says.

And he’s right. So now, in America, Genesis must bring across to the G70 customer that the Genesis buying experience is superior to the Kia Stinger buying experience.

[Images: Hyundai, Kia Motors]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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55 Comments on “Genesis Motors Boss Pays No Attention to the Kia Stinger...”


  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    For one who hasn’t been following every moment the Stinger’s development and planned release, a number around the the “lofty price point” would be helpful.

  • avatar
    Eaststand

    I’ll tell you what, that G70 is stunning. Best looking car in its class. No joke.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The a$$ of the G70 is really overworked – to the point of pointless excess – which goes a long way to ruining the exterior design.

    The timeless, invaluable art/discipline of exercised restraint is something today’s designers could use a giant serving of in their central neural network…

    …they are beating aesthetics like an arsonist, red-headed stepchild (Exhibit A would be Civic Type-R) just to try and “one-up” (or “fifty-up”) the competition now, in terms of styling, to no rational end.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      It’s possibly due to modern tech, compared to olden days modern design has far more tools at it’s disposal, no longer do designers have to restrain themselves for practical reasons, this mixed with them being encourage d to over design everything.

      Yet, despite our insane conquest to dig up everything nostalgic, we can never dig up the principal’s that made said nostalgia item great.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “Indeed, vehicles as distinct as the Audi A5 and Bentley Bentayga ride on variations of the same [MLB] platform.”

    This is true. A platform means a lot less than people think it does. Things like the front-wheel-to-firewall ratio, windshield angle, engine layout and engine mounts and pedal box are common. From there, the cars often share things like basic floorpans, steering hardware and suspension—though definitely not in the case of a less-defined platform like the aforementioned MLB architecture.

    That the Stinger GT and the G70 share a platform isn’t a big deal. It’s not even corporate infighting, since Hyundai owns only 33.8% of Kia. In fact, since Ford and Mazda had a similar arrangement, the existence of both the Focus and the Mazda3 is a good comparison…although one could argue that there is less room for competition in the $30K – $40K range.

    As far as the K900’s lack of sales…well, that can be attributed to two things: First of all, Kia barely markets it. You’ll be lucky to catch one in the showroom of your local Kia dealer as you stroll past it to the Optima or Sorento you meant to buy…and chances are that the dealer will have been unable to unload it for several months. And second of all, the K900 just isn’t very good. It’s fine on smooth highway pavement, but as soon as the going gets rough or you throw some curves into its path, it bucks and wallows worse than my MKS, which is on an inferior architecture, and the styling is entirely derivative of the 7-Series. I don’t think that means people won’t pay for a premium Kia if it looks nice and drives well; the K900 is just a bad luxury car that makes a CPO German luxobarge look like a very enticing alternative.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The 2 don’t exactly share a platform as the Stinger’s platform is about 2.5 inches longer and hence, is more of a “tweener” in size.

      That, along with the Stinger being more of a GT and the G70 being more sport-oriented (in part due to the shorter wheelbase and lighter weight) are the biggest differentiators.

      Of the 2, personally like the Stinger better.

      While have a few quibbles with the sheetmetal, it’s more striking than the G70’s (that could change when the G70 eventually gets DNA from the New York concept) and like the interior design better as well.

      Also like having the versatility of a liftback.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “But then, in America, you’ll go to buy a Genesis G70 and discover that it’s being sold alongside the Hyundai Accent in the very same showroom, and you’ll wonder just how strong this luxury image really is.”

    or…

    “But then, in America, you’ll go to buy a Corvette and discover that it’s being sold alongside the Chevy Cruze in the very same showroom, and you’ll wonder just how strong this luxury image really is.”

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Covette has no “luxury image”. In fact, it’s got some reverse snob appeal as the Everyman American sports car that ISN’T a snooty European brand (read: Porsche). Corvette has never tried to cultivate any sort of luxury image, but the Genesis folks are trying to do exactly that. Completely different.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      A better comparison would Audi, the same dealer with a Lamborghini derived R8 can sell you an A4, a fancy VW Jetta. Yet no one questions the luxury or the badge.

      And if not-Hyundai’s styling and facial copy pasting is anything to go off of, they’re going after Audi hard.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The A3, TT and Q3 are the ones that are related to the Jetta. And since the A3 and TT have both moved over to the new MQB architecture but the Jetta has not yet, that’s not even technically true. The A4 and up (except the R8) are on the MLB (longitude-FWD) architecture, and are unrelated to the Golf and Jetta families.

        I also don’t think Genesis’ design language apes Audi. It’s really just another modern interpretation of the full-height grille. Audi started it, but plenty of other luxury brands are headed that way, including Lexus and BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      maui_zaui

      Hyundai definitely needs to better separate the Genesis brand away from Hyundai dealerships, since they’ve expressed desire to be part of the luxury market. Kia, on the other hand, has not made that distinction and doesn’t require that separation. I figure potential Stinger buyers know what they want and could care less if it sat next to a Rio on the dealer’s lot. Similar to someone who’s looking at a $90k Land Cruiser next to that $15k Yaris. Or better yet, the $109k GTR inside the Nissan showroom while an $11k Versa sits outside. Someone who’s going to buy a GTR likely does not care about any perceived image, beyond it being sporty, which I feel Kia wants to accomplish with the Stinger here. Otherwise, there are plenty of Optimas out there.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    This type of hollow design compromise must be anathemas to luxury automobile manufacturers. It can only setup an irrecoverable descent into mediocrity….which may provide some profitable fruits but is really the ultimate act of submission.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This time, I prefer the Hyundai over the Kia.

    To me – an owner of two Kias right now – I almost can’t tell the difference between an approaching Forte, Optima, Cadenza, K900, and now the Stinger. That pretty corporate face has been overused.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    When I first caught a Not-Hyundai G70 I honestly thought that it was a Chrysler 200, it’s a modern Hyundai Sonata but more shameful about it’s parents.

    The Stinger, as with many modern sedans, does a great job at mimicking the 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix, which makes the totally unrelated G70 a modern Regal.

    • 0 avatar
      maui_zaui

      The more I look at the G70’s front end, the more I see a gussied up Elantra Sport. I know it’s a different platform, but the family resemblance is too close for my tastes.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Not to get political, but this is about as realistic as those people who “don’t even see race”. Give me a break

  • avatar
    carguy

    I don’t get the Genesis product strategy. They are investing in the very competitive and declining sport sedan market yet they don’t have single SUV for sale?

    Also, I wouldn’t worry about the Kia Stinger either. In the MT track test the Stinger GT was beaten by a 4 cylinder Camaro.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Speaking as someone who has already voted with his pocket (I lease a 2016 Genesis), I like the new G 70. The worst part of the styling, to my eye, is that the back window is almost horizontal rather than vertical. I guess this is the problem of making a fastback/hatchback and a sedan out of the same body. To my analysis, putting one of these cars out at $35-$40k is more challenging than dropping a V-6 in an Altima/Camry and charging 35,000 for that.
    I’ll be at the Genesis dealer in 19 months, with my checkbook in hand.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Bold prediction: the Stinger’s not going to sell. Kia isn’t Audi.

    You heard it here first.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Stinger needs 6MT. What kind sports car is that? No, nothing will save the Kia besides $6500 cash on the hood :-)

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Our loss. I saw a few Stingers in Korea earlier this month. It’s a handsome car, and not as bland as most of the cars you’ll see in the segment. I guess we’d all be better off if people leased more 320s.

      What’s really unfortunate is that Kia is sticking their own badge on the front and rear of the car, rather than the unique model badge and Stinger script that the car gets in its home market. People say they want cars to have names, and the Korean Stinger lets you know exactly what it is.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Won’t sell compared to what?

      I don’t think anyone is expecting a best seller, but if it falls in somewhere around Regal/TLX/300 numbers then it’s likely okay.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      They’ll sell one to me :)

      Now if its successful beyond me, well, I’m not too concerned.. haha.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Not too bold a prediction.

      May not hit the sales mark of what the Genesis sedan did for Hyundai (did over 25k/yr at its sales height, but think it could hit the 20k sales mark.

      In addition, the Stinger should improve sales of the K900 replacement.

      What hurt K900 sales is not having that intermediate luxury sedan like the Equus had with the Genesis sedan.

  • avatar
    maui_zaui

    I like the G70, but would take a Stinger over it mainly because I prefer the wider stance of the Stinger with the quad exhausts and THAT hatchback. I’d love to make the Stinger my next family car, but Kia’s depreciation history tells me to never buy one brand new. A brief search through Autotrader shows you can get a CPO 2015 K900 for around $26k, this from an original MSRP of $63k+. That’s practically a 60% drop in just two years, which is just seriously “ouch”. Similar could probably be said of the Genesis, at least when comparing used prices of the old Hyundai Genesis sedan, prior to the G80 rebadge.

    In either case, there’s still that dirty feeling you get from dealing with some of the scummiest salesmen in the industry at either Kia or Hyundai stores.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I never had that experience at a Hyundai or Kia store. The worst for me have always been Ford, Chevy, and BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “an original MSRP of $63k+.”

      Are you claiming someone paid sticker for a K900? Hahahahahh. I was looking online a few months ago and you could still buy a brand new 2015 with 25K on the hood. Why would you ever use MSRP?

      • 0 avatar
        maui_zaui

        $63k was just an arbitrary number, median price if you will, for new 2017 models I saw on Autotrader as there are lower and higher priced models out there. Sure there’s cash on the hood for unsold 2015’s, but it’s still a 2 year old car. Speaking of, I agree nobody pays MSRP for these things, but that still doesn’t mean these things aren’t massively depreciating.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Kia can’t sell K900 because it sells next to Kia Soul and cheaper cars. While Genesis is no Mercedes, it is clearly a more premium brand with two other solid entries that have established the Genesis brand. The G70 is a premium luxury vehicle while Stinger comes across as boy racer. I predict they both will sell, but G70 will double or triple the sales Of Stinger.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Genesis sedan sold more than fine next to Elantra and Accents.

      The Equus had the benefit of an intermediate luxury sedan where buyers would step up from the Genesis to the Equus.

      The K900 had no such benefit.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    The Kia’s design language and frippery scream: it coulda’ had a V8. It oughtta be law: four exhaust tips shall be permissible only with a minimum of eight cylinders.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    In the end, they are still Kia/Hyundai and have a lower than luxury brand reputation. Not to mention the lousy, and many times disrespectful factory representatives that are overly concerned with saving the company money than fixing the warrantable items on their cars.


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