Hyundai Finally Pins Down the Right Number of Genesis Stores

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

While there’s a new, smaller G70 sedan waiting in the New Year, and crossovers and a coupe after that, the news surrounding the fledgling Genesis brand lately seems to revolve around its dealers. Parent company Hyundai wants separate stores for its luxury marque in the interest of exclusivity, but it can’t have too many of them (in the interest of profitability).

The automaker’s decision to pare down the number of locations where consumers can buy a Genesis-badged vehicle hasn’t gone over well with some Hyundai dealers, but the new division’s long-term growth is Hyundai’s top priority, not dealer acrimony.

As Genesis finds its feet, Hyundai feels it now knows just how many stores the brand can sustain.

That number is 85 to 90 in the U.S., according to Hyundai Motor America’s chief operating officer, Brian Smith. Speaking to Automotive News, Smith confirmed the eventual tally of Genesis dealers — not all of which will be of the standalone variety.

“The dealers are very aware of the fact that in some markets, there may not be a Hyundai dealer who wants to build a stand-alone, separate facility with significant customer service amenities that are required in a luxury brand,” Smith said recently.

Dealers will find out by year’s end which markets the automaker will create standalone stores in. Then comes the selection of which dealers get a new store. Surely, many existing dealers will be disappointed to find themselves not among the chosen few. There’s currently 350 Hyundai dealers in the U.S. selling Genesis products, but Hyundai HQ doesn’t like the idea of vehicles like the G90 sharing showroom space with the Elantra.

Late last month, tensions arose at a meeting between dealers and company executives. Issues raised by dealers included the amount of compensation for those retailers losing the Genesis brand, as well as the earlier decision to physically separate the brands.

“It could grow beyond that,” Smith said of the initial estimate of Genesis stores, “or it may be that we find out that we’re servicing the market really well at 85 to 90.”

Genesis sales began in August 2016 with the midsize G80 sedan, followed soon after by the flagship G90. Given the ramp-up late last year, comparing year-over-year sales of the brand doesn’t tell us much. Still, Genesis brand sales are up 36 percent, year-over-year, in the United States, for an 11-month tally of 18,664 vehicles.

Of that number, some 14,672 were G80s. That’s a 40.1-percent sales increase, year-over-year.

[Image: Genesis]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Lesa Touger Lesa Touger on Dec 11, 2017

    I recently traded in my Cadillac CTS all wheel drive for a Genesis G80. I am very happy with my car. It has more luxuries then my Cadillac ever did and rides much better. Regardless of how many Genesis standalones there might be, the car sells itself. Just as with Lexus and Infiniti, it takes time for a new car like this to gain traction in the market. If my car is any indication, Genesis is right on track to compete with any of the other luxury brands.

    • Peter Gazis Peter Gazis on Dec 12, 2017

      @Lesa Touger Was that the CTS 4matic or the CTS xdrive. If your going to use a line right out of Hyundai's marketing play book. You should find out what Cadillac calls its all wheel drive cars before improvising.

  • Tonygrantony Tonygrantony on Dec 15, 2017

    Does anyone know what the translucent plate-looking rectangle on every Genesis grille is? I always thought it was just something I was seeing in photos but then I saw a G80 the other day and there it was.

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