While it’s not scheduled to make any public appearances until the United Kingdom’s Goodwood Festival of Speed kicks off in July, Genesis is dropping photos of the G70 Shooting Brake like it’s just days away from hitting the market.
Not our market, of course. The manufacturer shrewdly decided to leave the wagon in Europe, angering thousands of North American drivers who beg for vehicles like this with no intention of ever buying one. But it sure looks nice, with Genesis managing to stretch the bold design of the G70 sedan while adding a substantial amount of cargo capacity.
Korea’s answer to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class earned accolades upon its launch, with some kudos reserved for the availability of a six-speed manual transmission paired with the base 2.0-liter turbo four.
You know what’s coming next. Due for a refresh for the 2022 model year, the G70 is in line for an automatic-only future.
The G70 has thus far proven to be the most popular model in the Genesis lineup, attracting new buyers in the premium compact passenger car space since its late-2018 introduction.
Last year, the brand drew 56 percent of its volume from the G70. Through the first half of 2020, the G70 boasted more than double the sales of the next closest model, the G80. With quality awards adorning its trophy shelf, a pleasing design that fits its role as a rear-drive sports-luxury sedan, a window sticker capable of luring customers from German and Japanese brands, and power to spare, the G70 has a lot going for it.
But perhaps there’s a way for Genesis to boost its margins…
Introduced last year, Genesis’ third — and newest — model is the G70, a value-packed rear- or all-wheel-drive sports sedan aimed at BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class intenders. We could throw the Jaguar XE in there, too, but no one buys that car.
Like its Kia Stinger platform mate, the G70 kicks up its feet with the help of a base 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four or uplevel 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. However, on the horizon looms a larger, more potent entry-level powerplant.
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.
Take a good look at the state of the sports sedan. Once defined as four doors, compact dimensions, rear-wheel drive, and a manual transmission, there are precious few new cars sold today that fit that narrow criteria. The German manufacturers who made their names in this segment have abandoned the third pedal.
The only choice left is this 2019 Genesis G70 Sport – fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a six-speed manual transmission, and rear wheel drive. Does it win by default as the last car standing in a shrinking market, or is it worthy of accolades on its own merits?
Earlier this month, we reported on industry rumblings that suggested Genesis is keen on building a hotter G70. While the brand has issued no official announcement on upcoming products, such a model seems likely. At least, once the fledgling brand gets a high-volume crossover (or two) to market.
Erwin Raphael, Executive Director of Genesis Motor America, recently added fuel to those rumors while putting his own twist on things. Whereas product planner Mike O’Brien hinted at an upgraded G70, Raphael brought up something more purpose built for performance.
As bargain luxury brands go, Genesis Motors is aiming high — seemingly fixated on taking down its German competitors at a fraction of the price. However, while Genesis is capable of rumbling with its rivals’ base models with total confidence, it doesn’t have the hardware necessary to bash in the heads of most models wearing AMG or M badges.
That could soon change.
As we explained earlier this year, the fledgling Genesis brand is going through puberty. The brand’s constantly evolving dealer strategy is now set in stone, or what passes for it in the world of Genesis, but the process of separating the brand from its Hyundai parent won’t take place overnight. There’s dealers to whittle down, licenses to gain, standalone stores to build, and inventory to stock.
It’s a work in progress, but the 2019 models — which now total three — are beginning to find their way to more buyers, Genesis claims. Be patient.
Everyone who spends the majority of their time obsessing about cars seems to low-key adore the Genesis G70. It’s handsome, comfortable, and apparently handles like a sports sedan should. The dealership will even sell it to you with a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive if you can live without the 365-horsepower twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6. It also undercuts the starting price of its self-selected rival, the BMW 3 Series, by a full ten grand — softening the blow of any shortcomings it may possess.
However, there is one aspect that puts it a step behind its more-expensive competition. The G70 still uses analog instrumentation in conjunction with its digital interfaces. While this is a non-issue for many enthusiasts, as most electronic gauges simply mimic traditional clusters (and sometimes rather poorly), the general public expects premium autos to have the most-flashy tech available.
Genesis is remedying the situation in South Korea as read this. But, rather than than simply bringing the G70’s display up to the bar, it has decided to do a front flip over the status quo by offering what it claims is the world’s first 12.3-inch 3D instrument cluster.
Genesis Still Two Years Away From Adding Much-needed Utility Vehicles to Lineup, Essentia Under Consideration
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.
The Genesis premium brand is a good idea cursed with unfortunate timing. Hyundai’s luxury arm launched just as U.S. passenger car sales gunned the throttles and pushed forward on the yoke.
Despite the glowing reviews, up-front value, and attractive looks enjoyed by both the G80 midsize sedan and G90 full-sizer, the American buying public has never been more averse to the thought of a sedan purchase. A two-sedan lineup in this environment? That’s collar-tugging stuff.
As the Genesis brand approaches its second birthday, U.S. sales have now slipped into three-digit territory for the first time in its brief history. And what’s that on the horizon? Oh, it’s another sedan.
Considering how the popularity of crossover vehicles resulted in the industry-wide genocide of passenger cars, it is both strange and exciting to discuss a new sedan. While we haven’t reached the point where one could describe the situation as a blending of Children of Men and Disney’s Cars franchise, new models with a low center of gravity are becoming increasingly difficult to come by.
That’s why we’re glad Hyundai’s luxury Genesis division built the G70 and saw fit to allow the ability to option it with a manual transmission. You read that correctly; there is an automaker that builds a competitively priced luxury sedan that can be had with a manual transmission. However, buyers need to actually purchase these vehicles for the brand to rationalize that decision in the years to come.
The two models share a platform and a pair of engines, but the upcoming Genesis G70 sport sedan gains something its Kia Stinger cousin lacks: a manual transmission.
Given that we’re talking about a rear-drive Korean sedan sold under a fledgling marque in a market that couldn’t love SUVs more if the damn things dispensed free cash from the dash vents, we’re expecting big, big demand for the stick-shift variant.
Hyundai’s Genesis Motors offshoot intends to finalize its transition into an entirely separate U.S. dealer network within the next three years.
The process of building an undetermined number of distinct Genesis outlets has not yet begun, but it’s clear the brand is well aware of the limitations with which it’s currently operating.
“The reality is, many, many luxury customers tell us they love our products, they’re amazing, but I’m not going into a Hyundai store to buy it,” U.S. Genesis boss Erwin Raphael tells Automotive News.
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