Genesis Sales Slip for Sixth Straight Month As Upstart Brand Readies Another Sedan

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The Genesis premium brand is a good idea cursed with unfortunate timing. Hyundai’s luxury arm launched just as U.S. passenger car sales gunned the throttles and pushed forward on the yoke.

Despite the glowing reviews, up-front value, and attractive looks enjoyed by both the G80 midsize sedan and G90 full-sizer, the American buying public has never been more averse to the thought of a sedan purchase. A two-sedan lineup in this environment? That’s collar-tugging stuff.

As the Genesis brand approaches its second birthday, U.S. sales have now slipped into three-digit territory for the first time in its brief history. And what’s that on the horizon? Oh, it’s another sedan.

In June, Hyundai Motor America recorded 796 Genesis sales — a 50.7 percent year-over-year fall. May brought a 38.6 percent drop. The last time Genesis recorded a year-over-year sales increase was last December, meaning the brand’s trajectory has been headed towards the ground for a full half-year.

Over the first six months of 2018, Genesis volume sank 36.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

We can’t fault Genesis for kicking off the brand with a vehicle already in production — the G80, formerly the Hyundai Genesis, and obviously populating a stable isn’t an overnight process. Three passenger car lines used to be a must-have before anyone talked about utility vehicles. But today’s market isn’t that not-too-long-ago world, and the missing crossovers ensure big volume remains out of reach until the cargo-heavy crowd makes its way to showrooms.

Will the addition of the smaller G70 sports sedan budge the needle when it launches this summer? For sure — it’s an attractive vehicle that combines some features (like a manual transmission and trunk) that can’t be found in its Kia Stinger platform mate. It’s possible new car shoppers might think back to J.D. Power’s 2018 initial quality rankings, where Genesis took first place. Surely, despite declining volume across the passenger car space, the G70’s arrival will stabilize the brand until the GV80 crossover shows up next year. No one expects 3 Series-like volume from the compact rear-driver.

Two more crossovers should follow: a GV70 arriving in 2020 and a smaller CUV destined for a 2021 launch. Genesis has trademarked the GV60 name.

It’s a long game Genesis is playing, and these are early days. Last year, brand boss Manfred Fitzgerald spoke of the need to familiarize the public with the brand as it readied its full lineup. “We’re nowhere in terms of awareness,” he said.

There also needs to be a dealer network in place for brand visibility and foot traffic, but the process of getting that up and running hasn’t been a smooth one. Since its launch, Genesis has gone through dealership plans like tissue, recently deciding on a third strategy for how buyers come into contact with Hyundai’s standalone luxury division.

[Image: Genesis Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Mjz Mjz on Jul 12, 2018

    You know things are bad when Alfa Romeo outsold you nearly 3 to 1 for the month.

    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jul 12, 2018

      Aside from the 4C, Alfa Romeo has 2 entry-level/compact models (1 being a CUV). whereas Genesis America presently only has a mid-entry and flagship sedan. Kia's entry-level lux model, the Stinger, handily outsells the Giulia.

  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Jul 12, 2018

    A G70 wagon would look pretty sweet, maybe an alternative to buyers that don't want a tall SUV...

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