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.
Because Genesis chose to roll out its growing (yet shrunken) network of revamped dealers with only 2019 models in stock, the company stopped shipping 2018 models in March, allowing inventory to dry up over the summer. Sales, predictably, fell off a cliff.
American buyers purchased just 417 Genesis models in November — a 77 percent year-over-year decline, with volume through the end of November down 48 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. This fall, the original midsize G80 sedan and its full-size G90 stablemate gained a new sibling in the form of the well-regarded G70, which sharers its architecture with the Kia Stinger. Positioned as a rival to the BMW 3 Series and its ilk, the G70 has looks to spare and appropriate power on hand. till, it isn’t a crossover, fo which Genesis has three on the way.
Only when these models arrive can the brand expect to make it out of adolescence.
Speaking to Automotive News, Hyundai Motor America Chief Operating Officer Brian Smith explained the current state of affairs at Genesis. While planning its separation from Hyundai, Genesis quickly discovered that, in order to birth these standalone stores, it would take time to comply with varying state franchise guidelines. The brand had to apply in each state as a marque separate from Hyundai. Chosen dealers in select markets then had to seek a license to sell 2019 Genesis models. As you can imagine, the roll-out has been far from coordinated.
“Rather than have ’19 model year Genesis trickling out, we decided that was going to be the break,” Smith said. As AN notes, the brand gained licenses in 45 states by the end of September.
That’s good news, because Genesis allocated a fair bit of marketing cash towards the G70. The Korean sports sedan first appeared on Hyundai Motor sales sheets in September (the company sold one in the U.S. that month) and is slowly climbing in volume. 51 were sold in October, the Genesis brand’s worst sales month since its launch, with a further 128 finding buyers in November. Last month, as overall volume rose, the brand sold 217 G80s and 72 G90s.
By the end of the year, Genesis expects 100 to 200 dealers (an unusually broad estimate) will have G70s in stock.