Genesis - Where Equilibrium Is Progress
Have we mentioned that Genesis needs a crossover? Surely we have, again and again. It’s still true, and the fledgling brand is well aware of it.
While parent Hyundai has managed to climb back from a recent sales slump with the addition of new product, its three-model premium brand faces a harder task: growing sales while simultaneously adopting a new dealer strategy and selling just passenger cars. With this burden on its shoulders, getting back to where it was two years ago — a year after its inception — is a victory… for now.
Genesis has made the somewhat unusual choice to tout “ record” October sales, which indeed they were. The brand hadn’t sold 1,935 cars in a month starting with “Oct” before, so the statement stands. Fact check done. Fake news not detected.
You’ll recall that last year saw the sell-down of remaining stock in preparation for a dealer network launch tied to the introduction of 2019 model-year vehicles. As a result, October 2018 was the brand’s worst sales month in its brief history, with just 372 Genesis vehicles sold. So yes, Genesis can brag about its 420-percent year-over-year sales increase, but to do so without an asterisk seems a little misleading.
Along the way, Genesis picked up a third model to join the two offered since 2016: the compact, rear-drive G70. Well-regarded in the motoring press, the attractive G70 brought a gust of wind to the brand’s sails (sales?), but for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Since appearing in September 2018 (Genesis sold 1 G70 that month), the smallest of the brand’s lineup has become the best-seller, to the detriment of the midsize G80. The G70 is now selling like the G80 sold in 2017, while the G80 is selling like its G90 stablemate did that same year. The last time the G80 broke the thousand-unit-per-month mark was March of 2018; October’s volume of 625 units was its third-best showing this year. Meanwhile, the G70’s 1,021 sales was also that model’s third-best showing in 2019.
As one model rises, another sinks, and the G90 soldiers on in the background, value-packed but seldom seen on U.S. roads (not that it’s an upstart full-size sedan’s fault in a market like this). The end result of this? Genesis sales are, at the end of October, almost exactly where they were at the end of October 2017, one year after the brand’s, um, genesis.
Forty-four units ahead, to be specific.
“The positive sales momentum of the G70, G80 and G90 is a reflection of our efforts to bring attention to the Genesis brand,” said Mark Del Rosso, Genesis Motor North America CEO, in a (over)statement.
Momentum, but only really if you focus on the previous year. Again, it’s a temporary situation, as there’s a GV80 crossover arriving early next year that’s sure to boost volume, plus a refreshed G90 whose ability to draw extra buyers comes with a big question mark. The smaller GV70 follows a year later. Only when Genesis grows a full lineup of vehicles can we truly pit the brand against its long-established premium rivals, so for now the brand exists as something of a curiosity.
One thing’s for sure — in launching a brace of premium crossovers, Genesis has its work cut out for it. Getting noticed in a field that’s already bursting at the seams will be no small challenge.
[Images: Genesis, Chris Tonn/TTAC]
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