Genesis Still Two Years Away From Adding Much-needed Utility Vehicles to Lineup, Essentia Under Consideration

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Despite producing comprehensively equipped and comfortable sedans with a nearly unbeatable price and warranty, Genesis Motors is in trouble. Sedans aren’t selling like they used to and the company doesn’t have anything else to offer customers right now. Its first utility model, the GV80, won’t appear on dealer lots until 2020. But, upon its arrival, the mid-sized crossover will still have to contend with brand snobbery.

The GV80 will be going toe-to-toe with everything from the Infiniti QX60 and Lincoln MKX to the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE. Genesis will need to do everything in its power to ensure the model stands out and brings everything to the table it can without going over budget. It will also need some company, which is why the brand is also planning on introducing the smaller GV70, some refreshed sedans, and at least one sports coupe.

Those units won’t be here until 2021 at the earliest. Genesis is planning a whole stable of crossover vehicles over the next five years. The first, as previously stated, will be the GV80 that debuted as a fuel-cell concept in 2017. Slated to launch alongside the revamped G80 sedan, the pair will share an all-new platform offering rear and all-wheel drive applications.

Erwin Raphael, executive director of Genesis Motor America, recently wrapped about Genesis’ product strategy with Car and Driver and confirmed that the brand’s first SUV will go on sale in early 2020. The outlet’s takeaway was that the model would utilize powertrains akin (or identical) to what’s currently offered on the G80 sedan. That means V6s, both with and without forced induction, and a reasonably sized V8.

Meanwhile, the GV70 will be based on the highly enjoyable G70 sedan. Raphael said that the debut of an entry-level SUV “could be a great time to introduce other powertrains.” While the small crossover may play host to a series of brand-new motors, there’s also a chance it’ll be forced to make do with updated versions of the existing turbo four-pot and twin-turbo V6 installed in the revamped G70. Raphael hinted that those new units could be hybrid and pure-electric systems.

The flagship G90 sedan is also slated to get a refresh for 2019, meaning the debut is probably right around the corner. If Genesis has one shortcoming it’s in the styling of its current lineup. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, it’s just slightly derivative. The Korean-born cars are plenty handsome but they also look like the bastard child of Audi and Mercedes-Benz attempting to go incognito at a family function.

Raphael also said Genesis was in midst of developing a sports coupe. However, that model will still be several years in the making. The automaker hasn’t even decided on the market segment, engine options, or pricing for the model.

While that vehicle won’t be the super-sexy Genesis Essentia grand tourer, Raphael said it may still enter into production eventually. Debuting as a concept model at the New York International Auto Show in the spring, the Essentia was a sleek, critically acclaimed EV that the company has been careful not to ignore. Numerous representatives have noted that it’s currently under consideration for production and could serve as the brand’s incubator for new ideas and cutting-edge technology. Think Mercedes-Benz S-Class if it were a limited run, performance-oriented coupe.

From Car and Driver:

While nothing has been approved for production yet, Raphael said that “we are very committed to the Essentia,” adding that, if produced, it would be “a statement car,” one built in limited quantities and priced higher than anything in the current lineup. Reception for the Essentia was overwhelmingly positive, and it’s clear that the brand really wants to make it happen. (There is a possibility that the Essentia would take the place of the planned sports coupe instead of supplementing it, but nothing has been set in stone.)

We’d love to see it but it’s a trivial concern compared to the upcoming crossovers. Genesis’ annual deliveries in the United States were 20,612 last year and 2018 is not on course to meet that figure. The brand desperately needs a couple of high-volume models and a pair of crossovers could help keep it afloat while consumers realize that there’s nothing wrong with sedans because Genesis builds some fine ones.

[Images: Genesis Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Bd2 Bd2 on Sep 13, 2018

    If TTAC is going to keep posting articles on Genesis, they need to get the story right. Sales of the G80 and G90 have fallen as much as they have b/c shipments of the 2018 G80's and G90's were halted in March - as production of the 2018MY ended and production of the 2019 models had begun to coincide w/ the launch of the 2019 G70, which was originally slated for April/May. But due to various issues w/ the establishment of the Genesis dealer network, the launch of the G70 and the other 2019 models have been delayed; the 2019 models have been on sale in Canada for months as they have a direct from manufacturer distribution model. So, not only has inventory been scarce, Genesis has stopped supporting sales (whether it be advertisement or incentives). Genesis has at least 3 CUVs in the pipeline - the GV80, GV70 and GV60. They are also developing 2 dedicated BEV platforms, so in all likelihood, will see at least 1 (maybe 2) BEV CUVs down the road. The GV70 CUV won't look much like the G70 sedan as it, like the GV80 and the next generation G80 are getting the Essentia design language. The facelifted G90 is getting some Essentia cues as well (mostly the light and grille treatment); so in due time, the G70 will undergo a similar change when it's time for ite refresh. As for powertrains - there will be a slew of new components, starting w/ a new 2.5T 4 cyl engine that will serve as the new base engine for the G80 (and filter on to other models). The 3.3T will get bumped up to a 3.5T and there has been talk of adding a 3.0T to the engine lineup as well (not yet confirmed). There has also been talk of implementing a 48V system as standard for the lineup. In addition, there will be a new 10 spd AT. W/ a 3.5T (400+ HP), likely won't see the NA Tau in the GV80; would not be surprised, however, if Genesis is working on a smaller displacement FI V8.

    • Aquaticko Aquaticko on Sep 13, 2018

      Seems like we're following the same news sites. I just hope that Genesis adopts some of the Korean ppalli ppalli to get these things to market; the window of opportunity is small.

  • RHD RHD on Sep 13, 2018

    Will there be trim variants of the Essentia, labeled "Essentia L" and Essentia LS"?

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.