By on January 13, 2020

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.

Genesis

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]

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18 Comments on “Genesis Boss Peers Into the Crystal Ball...”


  • avatar
    Mnemic

    They’re DOA in Canada. Sold a whopping 107 cars in December and were down 31% year over year. A few cheap pho-lux crossovers will help, but not that much. Its been proven time and time again that people buy the badge, not the content in that arena, even if the Genesis is RWD based and better than the 4cyl FWD based GLA/GLB or whatever Mercedes calls it now.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Not everybody buys the badge (says the guy driving a Buick that thinks it’s an either an Audi/Volvo/or the long lost Legacy GT wagon.) But not enough people are willing to look past the badge to sustain a brand. (This mostly applies to the premium/luxury class.)

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Yeah, agreed. I set up the web test drive of a G70 2.0t a year ago last September here in Canada. It was a $47K demo model with less than 4,000 km they wanted to sell for $39K. Impressed me not one iota. Free pickup and delivery of vehicle for service and what have you.

      This Bill Lee guy in the US has been sent out to raise morale for sales, I’d guess, and make various claims about the brand’s amazing non-legacy. Which is dead in Europe. Maybe the crossovers will win the day in the US. Who knows?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Oh really?

      For Canada, HYUNDAI Genesis sold 1,513 units in 2014.

      For the same year, only 480 Lexus GS were sold, 128 Infiniti Q70s and 1,113 Audi A6s.

      But when the Hyundai Genesis was rebadged to the Genesis G80, sales slipped to 433 in 2017 (still outsold the GS by multiples).

      The main reason for the decline was the switch-over to the direct-from-manufacturer sales distribution model where there were only a few boutiques for prospective buyers to see vehicles in the flesh (there are more on the way).

      Purchasing from dealer lots is still the preferred way of buying vehicles.

      And despite such a limitation, the F/L G90 sold (since its launch) 67 units (Aug. to Dec.) whereas the Lexus sold 18 LS 500s and Audi 53 A8s, which was good enough to outsell the GS and LS combined.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      But, it’s a winged badge, like Bentley, and Chrysler, and Aston Martin! In fact, give it a quick look and it’s impossible to tell which automaker’s badge is which. Of course, the Bentley, Chrysler, and Aston Martin winged badges go back decades, in the Bentley and Chrysler examples the 1920s. But you have to give them credit for trying. But then, the Mustang logo was a ripoff of Ferrari, wasn’t it?

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        It’s pretty easy to tell those winged badges from each other.

        And there are others – Austin Healey, Mini, Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera (an Italian coach-builder) as well as winged badges for specific models and such.

        The Ford Thunderbird having its own winged logo and the winged logo for Cadillacs equipped w/ the Blackwing engine.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    What’s the question here? Is it bad luck to predict that their SUVs are gonna sell a lot better than their cars? Uhhh, of course not. That’s literally happening in every brand right now. It would be stupid to predict otherwise, at least in the near future.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    Obviously crossovers will give the brand a huge boost. But they’re doing themselves no favors by following the oversized grille and touchscreen controls trends. Not crazy about the GV80’s silly rotary shifter, either. Give me tasteful and functional over trendy any day.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I was in the SF/Oakland Bay Area this weekend and made a effort to see a Genesis on the road. Didn’t see a single one. And, looking at the dealer map I see why, I’d guess about half as many as Audi or Lexus.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    When I drive by the second tier luxe stores (Infiniti, Genesis, Acura) they always look like lonely outposts of retail.

    My neighbor has a high end Genesis 90 model and while it’s been troublesome, the dealer treats him well with free pickup from home and drop-off loaners (the store is about 40 miles away). So he’s happy.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    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?

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      I’ve always wondered about this. Every manufacturer seems to be chasing young customers, as though there’s this army of 21-year-olds with 6-figure incomes who stubbornly refuse to buy the cars that have obviously been designed and marketed specifically for them. The problem is that there are precious few of those, and a large proportion of them live in urban areas where car ownership is not necessarily useful. I can’t tell you how many older people I know who would love to buy a quality vehicle without indecipherable (to them) technology and features they don’t know how to use. Luxury is quality to them, not screens and autonomous driving features. I can’t understand why nobody seems to want their money.

      • 0 avatar
        gasser

        +1 as to indecipherable technology. I have two cousins in their 80s. They have had a string of Mercedes for at least 30 years. The last go around of Mercedes technology did it for them. They both now drive Subarus. As a 72 year old who drives a 2019 GLC, the radio drives me insane!!!! I miss the Genesis interfaces.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Many years ago an industry marketing domo (Bunkie Knudson?) said: You can sell a young man’s car to an old man but you can’t sell an old man’s car to a young man. That pic is definitely selling a young man’s car to an old man.

    • 0 avatar
      thehyundaigarage

      Agreed 100 percent, with one exception..

      Surrey, British Columbia.

      20 somethings there drive mid level luxury, the dealers can’t stock enough Infiniti’s, Acura’s or Lexus products.

      Express checkout service at dealers helps them fly off the shelf. bills of sale are auto filled for customers last name (Sidhu or Gill) and all vehicles are painted in various shades of gold or brown, the only exception being if you wear a shiny track suit.

      Then there’s a whole section of pearl white Q50’s just for you.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      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.

  • avatar

    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.

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