Genesis Draws Ever Closer to Desperately Needed Crossover
A mainstream brand in 2019 without a crossover? It’s almost unthinkable, though not in the context of a fledgling marque and a rapidly changing automotive landscape.
Genesis Motors, the luxury ying to Hyundai’s everyman yang, is still recovering from a tumultuous 2018 in which its confused dealer strategy gradually became clearer. And it’s still taking shape, with some 318 U.S. dealers at last count amid rising, albeit modest, sales volumes. With more standalone stores on the way and a trio of models now in the stable, Genesis’ work has only just begun. It next needs to break into the all-too-important crossover market.
It looks like the first CUV salvo is almost ready to fire.
Spy photos sourced from Europe and published by Motor1 shows the brand’s first entry in the absolutely essential crossover field: the midsized GV80, cargo-conscious partner to the G80 sedan. Bearing a profile and grille pattern that strongly echoes the concept vehicle of two years ago, the three-row GV80’s unveiling should come later this year, with sales beginning either close to New Year’s or shortly thereafter.
Following on its heels by nearly a year will be a GV70 compact CUV, compatriot of the G70 sedan that makes up most of Genesis’ sales volume these days. A third, even smaller CUV may follow the GV70, and earlier this year the brand’s global executive VP spoke of an electric sedan and utility vehicle poised to land in 2021. With luxury automakers quickly going green, Genesis can’t be without a salve for environmental concerns.
So, you could definitely say Genesis is poised for growth, though exactly how much growth remains to be seen. Certainly, the brand boasted last month of a 38 percent sales gain over the first half of 2019 — a figure that would normally have champagne corks popping at any automaker. For Genesis, the growth reveals the marque’s fledgling status. The end of the first half of 2018 marked the beginning of a lengthy selldown of 2018 models in preparation for the new dealer strategy. The company wanted its crop of new, carefully chosen stores to open with only 2019 models on hand. Sales reached an all-time low in October of last year.
As well, the appearance of the G70 sedan in the fall of 2018 meant the model was coming into its own at the dawn of this year, boosting overall volume significantly — to the detriment of the preexisting G80 and G90 midsize and full-size sedans. Through the end of June, G80 and G90 sales fell 40.6 percent and 41.9 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the G70 accounted for 5,715 sales to the G80 and G90’s combined 4,292.
Stable volume in July (May represents the brand’s high-water mark, thus far), when combined with last year’s dwindling sales, made for an even loftier 47.2 percent year-to-date gain. Compared to 2017, however, that equates to a 1,251-unit loss.
Regardless, it’s small numbers when compared to other mainstream premium brands, to be sure. It will be interesting to see whether the brand’s upcoming crossovers can make themselves noticed in such a crowded and competitive field. Remember the all-new Infiniti QX50 crossover flopping onto the market not too long ago?
One thing that will help is good PR, and lately Genesis has plenty of it. Accolades from the motoring press and assurances of vehicle quality and brand appeal from consumer ratings publications are just the thing an upstart company needs to wave in front of buyers.
[Images: Genesis Motors]
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Paging Captain Ahab.
"The company wanted its crop of new, carefully chosen stores to open with only 2019 models on hand. Sales reached an all-time low in October of last year." - While it's true the 2019MY were to only be available at Genesis stores (hence, the drop in sales as shipments of the 2018 models were last made in March), they weren't "carefully chosen." The initial plan of 200 Genesis stores had the carefully chosen approach, but due to varying state franchise laws, Genesis had to open the ability to obtain a franchise to all Hyundai dealerships (things were further delayed when Genesis USA botched things when it came to state licensing - which took months to work out on a state-by-state basis). While the addition of CUVs should improve sales, sales should also improve when the new G80 and facelifted G90 hit the lots (Canada is getting the refreshed G90 now, but the US launch is delayed as everything has been moved back w/ regards to the timetable).