Genesis Boss Peers Into the Crystal Ball

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
genesis boss peers into the crystal ball

A near-future of rapidly rising sales is a vision Genesis brand chief William Lee wants to see come true. It has to, if Hyundai’s premium marque wants to stick around.

With its American dealer strategy now up and running and the public debut of the brand’s first crossover vehicle just days away, Lee claims he’s confident great things lie ahead. Is it bad luck for a fledgling marque to issue sales predictions? If it is, Lee isn’t aware.

Genesis’ market is split between North America and its home base of South Korea; together, the two markets account for 30 and 70 percent of Genesis sales, respectively. More markets will follow, Lee said, mentioning Europe and China. But America, where 2019 brought a new sales high point for the brand, is key to marketing the growing lineup to others.

Those sales will have a halo effect on other markets. Success in the U.S. market is critically important for us,” Lee told Automotive News.

The public debut of the midsize GV80 crossover comes on Thursday, followed soon after by Korean deliveries. American shoppers will have to wait until summer to get their hands on one — and Lee thinks they’ll want to, at least until the smaller, G70-based GV70 crossover lands on U.S. shores in a year’s time. Debuting late this year, the GV70 will be the brand’s best-selling model in 2021, Lee predicts.

Joining the larger GV80 will be a new generation of its platform mate, the G80 sedan. Currently, Genesis suffers from a complete lack of utilities, offering only the G70, G80, and full-size, refreshed G90. Within two years, a sixth model will arrive: a fully electric vehicle, likely a crossover, riding on a dedicated EV platform.

“There is no reason we cannot grow significantly,” Lee said. “In two years, we will have a very strong six-vehicle portfolio.”

The CEO claims some sort of sports model, perhaps an attainable halo car in the same vein as Hyundai’s N models, could benefit the brand. “Eventually we need it, but it is too early,” he said. “We are much more focused on the next two years as a strong foundation for further, continuous growth.”

This year, Genesis expects to sell 116,000 vehicles worldwide. Meager volume, to be sure, but Genesis is not even four years old, possesses just three passenger car models, and has never broken the 100,000 mark. In the U.S. last year, its network of 350 dealers unloaded 21,233 vehicles, with sales ramping up towards the end of 2019.

Besides getting new crossovers into standalone Genesis dealers ASAP, Lee plans to boost the brand’s visibility via a heavy marketing push. Having a stable of good vehicles won’t do much for an automaker if the general public isn’t aware of them… or the brand.

[Image: Genesis]

Join the conversation
8 of 18 comments
  • R Henry R Henry on Jan 13, 2020

    The lede photo is nuts. The driver, a 20-something hipster, can't be the target demo for Genesis brand vehicles. Kids that age don't want, and can't afford, luxury vehicles. Why did the ad agency put that model in that picture?

    • See 5 previous
    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Jan 13, 2020

      R Henry, There is a disconnect between marketing staffs at OEM's and the bulk of real-world customers. There is a further disconnect (often huge) when you move to the creative types at the ad agencies. A perhaps-surprising percentage of the individuals putting ads together do not own a vehicle and rarely or never drive any vehicle.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jan 13, 2020

    If that Lee guy proves to be correct regarding sale numbers than Genesis will sell as many vehicles as 100 years old established Cadillac and Lincoln luxury brands. That's would be impressive achievement.

  • Michael Eck With those mods, I wonder if it's tuned...
  • Mike-NB2 I'm not a Jeep guy, but I really, really like the 1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe concept.
  • William I'm a big fan of 70s Lincolns. I really liked the 1980s Mark Vl. I thought it was very classy, and I never thought of it as a restyled Town Car. I did own a 1990 LSC, it was black over black leather interior. I loved the LSC as soon as they were introduced. I loved the sound of the duel exhaust, I thought it fit the car perfectly. I never had any problems with it. The 5.0 is a great engine, and never had any issues with the air suspension system. It had the the analog dash and I made good use of the message center. I highly recommend this Mark. The black paint and interior fit the car and me perfectly.
  • ChristianWimmer 1974 Dodge Monaco. I’m a nostalgic guy and want one of these so badly.
  • Zipper69 I got the form letter from Kia a few weeks ago and booked a time for the software update.Took around 1 hr 15 mn and you get free nifty stickers on the front door windows telling the thieves you are protected.