By on July 11, 2018

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.

2018 Genesis G80 3.3t Sport badge

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]

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41 Comments on “Genesis Sales Slip for Sixth Straight Month As Upstart Brand Readies Another Sedan...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    One of my neighbors has a Genesis, it’s a sweet ride. A sweet, expensive ride. It looks like an Aston Martin from the right angle, kinda.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      There are at least a couple of large black sedans doing livery duty lined up outside the downtown office building where I work when I leave each day. The Genesis G90 that’s sometimes sitting there made me look twice just to find out what it was. Handsome and well proportioned, it holds its own with the Continentals and XTSs that also wait.

    • 0 avatar

      You mean it looks like Ford Fusion? It is more appropriate comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      My union steward friend that does all the the concerts among other things, and he lives out in the country, and one day he saw a 2012 Genesis 3.8 with 20k miles and paid $10k cash on the hood.

      It’s a damn nice ride, I try to explain that he needs to go to the dealer and buy the latest disks for his navigation system, but other than that, we took it on a gambling trip and I spent time in the front passenger seat and slept in the back seat.

      For $10k, you can’t beat it!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Part of this is the Hyundai/Kia relationship, Stinger/G70 get to share development costs but each company makes changes based on their needs.

    One of the YouTube reviews I watched put the Stinger on a lift and compared the suspension design differences etc to a Genesis they had tested several months before.

    I doubt either company could make a business case for developing these lower volume platforms independently.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    I am starting to see 3-4 year old Hyundai/Genesis cars slammed, donked, stanced, sprayed and parading about with a large “GENESIS!!!” sticker in the rear window and windshield. This was largely the realm of used Infiniti cars previously. I have to wonder if this detracts from the brand image they are pushing…

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I saw one of those ‘customized’ cars last week and although I was completely put off by it, I had the same thought. I can’t imagine that’s how you build a brand.

      On another note, I rented a Genesis sedan a year ago. 24k on the odo, and the interior looked heavily worn. The leather seats looked like they had 80,000 miles on them. I came away pretty dissapointed. Granted it was a rental, but I still wonder about the long term wear on these cars…

    • 0 avatar
      b534202

      Its cheap V8 for those that can’t afford Mustangs, I think?

  • avatar
    threeer

    The needle won’t move until the CUVs/SUVs arrive. But I must say that the picture of the G70 makes the car appear to be rather attractive…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I think its one of the best looking cars in its segment, perhaps second to the Giulia.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Guess the G70 holds up pretty well in the sheetmetal dept. against the current competition (which isn’t saying much), but really doesn’t do much for me (unlike, say the New York or Essentia concepts).

      The current design will be relatively short-lived as it will get an Essentia-inspired make-over for its face-lift (the G90 is already undergoing that change for its face-lift).

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Good looking car and available with a stick. Win.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Great looking car, 3.3 turbo very quick. At least the 3rd sedan will likely be the volume leader by a long shot over the 2 vehicles that sit above it. But yeah, they need a crossover or three to really take off.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Different times for Hyundai that when Lexus took off. In 1990, Lexus offered a bigger car than the E class, a V8 and a nicer interior for $10K less than Mercedes. Now, every luxury maker has an assortment of sizes, and with the assortment of engines, there is only the lower price to differentiate Hyundai from others.
    I have a 2016 Hyundai Genesis. It’s a great car, comfortable, reliable, handles well for a big car used mostly in city traffic. What it doesn’t have is a BADGE. Therefore it has a horrible resale. Mine is a 3 year lease, priced out for a buy out of about 56% of MSRP. There are 2 year old (now G80s) on the market for about that price. Either Hyundai takes a real haircut on their leases, or the lease price goes up to what MBZ, BMW and Audi are asking. Hyundai no longer has the volume of Sonata/Elantra/Accet to produce the cash flow to support the Genesis line. At volumes of under 1,000 per month, I don’t see Hyundai making it as a stand alone Genesis line.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      With a few exceptions luxury/near luxury/premium sedan resales are terrible as a % of MSRP.

      The best argument against a new Genesis is a CPO Genesis – same with Mercedes or BMW or Cadillac or Lincoln or practically everybody but Lexus.

      • 0 avatar
        gasser

        You’re right on the CPO version. I considered a 2014 when I leased my 2016, but the difference between the new and old model (especially suspension) was vast. I would consider buying mine at the end of the lease, but it would cost Hyundai some $$$ to discount buy back to a number of about 45% of MSRP. Also, I am troubled by the concept that when a 3 year old Genesis becomes a 5 year old Genesis, it will look like I bought it at the BHPH lot. Also, there are no guarantees that if you buy a 3 year old Hyundai for $25K, that it might be worth only $15K at the end of year five. If you are going to eat $4K to $5K/ year for depreciation, there are better ways to go, including leasing.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Keep in mind the OG Genesis was a lower-priced vehicle compared to the G80.

          A 2009 Genesis 4.6L was $40K (Adjusts to $47K) and a 2012 5.0L R-spec was $47K (adjust to $52K).

          Now the prices start at $42K and to get a V8 costs $57K.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Actually, there is no Genesis CPO program as of yet. But I’d definitely be interested in a lightly used G80.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @FreedMike – you are right.

          Sorry, Hyundai CPO shows Genesis models (old Genesis) if you google Genesis CPO – you find a web page that asks you if you want to be kept up to date when the program debuts.

          My core argument that depreciation is a killer on luxury/premium sedans – that makes it hard to rationalize buying NEW unless you just have to have NEW.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            With you 100% on that one – used luxury cars are a STEAL. I’m seeing three-year-old CPO 328s, C300s, A3s, etc with 25-30,000 miles for low twenties around here. G80s go for a couple grand more, though there aren’t any CPO ones (yet).

            Just silly cheap.

  • avatar
    John Scott

    Does it really take that much work/time to “Genesis-ize” a Tucson or Santa Fe? Or will the new Genesis GVs be built on unique platforms?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Genesis isn’t going the route of “tarted up” Santa Fes and Tucsons.

      The GV80 and GV70 CUVs are underpinned by a new RWD platform.

      The G70, G80 and G90 all use an older RWD platform and eventually will make their way to the new one – which is not only lighter, but engineered at the start to incorporate hybrid/PHEV variants.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Only Hyundai marketers would pretend that these cars actually compete in the luxury space. The Hyundai brand isn’t just worthless, it actively subtracts value. The real world comparison of big pleasant sedans without snob appeal is Avalons and loaded Accords and the Genesis sells – or would if anybody bought them – for $10,000 more than that.

    Yeah the Genesis is nicer but the overlap between the people who’d be seen in a Hyundai and the people for whom an Accord isn’t already nice enough is narrow indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Take a look underneath a Genesis. For better or for worse (from a long term running costs perspective) these things are very credible luxury/performance vehicles. All the same alloy multi-link suspensions with a plethora of balljoints as the Germans, it’s quite impressive actually. I’d love to test drive one, the ’15 Genesis sedans (nee G80) are getting into the mid 20s for low mileage 3.8L cars. But frankly I couldn’t see myself buying one, for that much money I’d be buying a nice minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Must be why Car & Driver lists the G90 in its large luxury sedan class (same with the S Class, etc.) and why Motor Trend has pitted the G90 against the likes of the 7 Series, LS, etc.

      In terms of “luxury” – Genesis has already surpassed Acura.

  • avatar
    V16

    In June, Hyundai Motor America recorded 796 Genesis sales.
    That number is a rounding error for Lexus.
    G80 and G90 will be GREAT used car purchases in two years.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      And how many GS and LS sedans did Lexus sell?

      Or for that matter, Audi w/ the A6 and A8?

      Lexus has rapidly been losing marketshare when it comes to sales at the $60k+ price-point.

      • 0 avatar
        Lightspeed

        I like the Genesis cars I see, although I’ve yet to see a single G90 or a Stinger for that matter on the street here. I like the look of the Genesis, I like the idea that they consulted with Porsche on the V8 engine design. Yet, when I get in the big Genesis at the auto show, I get all Lexus-driver snobby about how the leather isn’t quite as good, how the switches aren’t quite as solid, how the plastics and chrome are not quite as good. I definitely see more Lexus GS than Genesis here. I’ve even thought of replacing my very old GS400 with a slightly used Genesis, but just can’t get there. I suspect a lot of Lexus and Merc/BMW/Audi owners feel the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky D

      “That number is a rounding error for Lexus.”

      True, and there was a time that Mercedes sales in the US were a rounding error for Cadillac.

      If Genesis is truly playing the long game, they will have a chance to succeed if they have the right product at the right time. Yes, they need the GVs ASAP, but also need think about their next product and make sure it is as well built as the current one.

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Funny that when the Genesis was a Hyundai model they flew off the lot (relatively speaking) and now they can’t give them away.

    And speaking of which where’s a new coupe?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Sedan sales in general have slacked off since then, so its a bit hard to say its simply because of branding. I don’t think removing the Hyundai badge hurt them in any way.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The coupe is still a few years away.

      The G70, GV80, GV70, new G80 and face-lifted G90 are all slated to launch before the coupe (which should launch around the time of the GV60).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    There is no brand awareness and there is no way to build brand awareness in today’s market by selling sedans. The GVs can’t get into showrooms fast enough, and sales will slip until they do.

  • avatar
    riggodeezil

    They are comparatively nice-looking and likely a great ride. They probably should have just gone with a different name for their “luxury” brand. When you say “Genesis” to an average goob, they think of the Hyundai coupe…or the Bible…or Phil Collins (and not in that order).

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    If Genesis made crossovers, my wife would drive one. We were both seriously impressed by the first gen sedan, but I needed something more dynamic.

    Oddly, Hyundai already had a Genesis crossover in drag in their lineup with the Veracruz. The exterior design language was there. All it needed was a luxury grade interior.

    An any case, 2020-2021 will be too late. Crossover markets are already fully saturated with competition, and a combination of factors speak to sales being down by that point, even in the red hot crossover segment. I get the sense Hyundai will make the mistake of killing the practicality by leveraging the RWD platform for these as well. Missed opportunity.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Veracruz wasn’t exactly “luxury” (even with an upgraded interior) and Genesis is not going the “tarted up” FWD-drive route like Lexus, Infiniti and Acura.

      Going RWD is a bit of gamble, but it’s a smart one – as it distinguishes itself from the Asian competition and the higher-end of the lux market increasingly separates itself with performance.

      Sales of MB’s AMG and BMW’s M have really taken off.

  • avatar

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

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      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.

  • avatar
    zipper69

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


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