Genesis now has two studio stores in Australia, but breaking into the premium market isn’t an easy task. So despite a quality product offering, the big question remains, will it succeed?
Genesis, as many of you no doubt know, is the luxury arm of Hyundai, and soon after becoming an independent marque in 2015, it launched its first standalone vehicle overseas in the form of the G90. A vehicle that was, in fact, a successor to the Hyundai Equus.
I recently visited the Genesis studio store in Melbourne, which is located at the Emporium in the CBD. It’s certainly not what you picture when you think of a dealership, seeing as it’s in a shopping centre and purchases, even those made in-store, are actually made online.
After the visit I got to thinking about the Genesis brand. The store is decidedly luxe and edgy. I mean, it’s not as high-end as the Sydney studio, but I’m a fan of the Genesis philosophy. I appreciate what the brand is doing, I like its offerings and the fact that you can now see the cars in person at the studio can only be a good thing. Certainly in terms of market awareness and presence.
But, the big question is, will Genesis be around in ten years time? Is it a brand destined to head down the same path as Lexus or will we bid Genesis farewell in Oz, like we did Infiniti? Tough one to answer.
There’s no doubting that Genesis has seen the success of a brand like Lexus and wanted to emulate that success. Manufacturer beware, though. It’s a formula that took a long time and bucketloads of money. And let’s keep in mind that Lexus came into the market back in 1989 and really didn’t face the same intense competition.
Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury division didn’t have such success failing to take on the premium offerings of mainstays such as Mercedes Benz and BMW. In fact, between the brand’s second attempted Australian launch in 2012 and its withdrawal in 2019, Infiniti averaged just 570 sales per year.
You may remember its first attempt at a luxury sedan in 1989/1990, the Q45. Plenty of you though, probably won’t. It lacked kerbside appeal and while Lexus launched dedicated dealerships, the Q45 was on offer in a limited number of Nissan dealerships for a high price – $140,000 Australian dollars, which was quite a wedge back in the early 90s.
Imagine what buyers could spend that money on instead – BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus – for example. Or, in a more modern (current) context that outsider might now be Genesis. Other models you might remember were the bizarre Q30 and QX30 hatchbacks (pictured below). A vehicle based on the Mercedes Benz A-Class, that just looked old-world European and had very little market impact in Australia.
Meanwhile, in comparison Lexus sold 9612 cars in 2019. Solid numbers in a challenging market. So now we know what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, where does Genesis currently stand?
In the past year the brand has sold 392 vehicles – a huge increase on 2020 where it only shifted 99. The majority of sales were attributed to their GV80 SUV (200 in total there).
Genesis now has four models in the range in the form of the GV80 large SUV, the recently arrived GV70 medium SUV and two sedans – the G70 and G80. The brand predicts that the GV70 will be its strongest seller, only launching to the market last month.
Last month the GV70 sold 24 units. It doesn’t sound like a lot but to put it into context, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio moved 18 cars, while the all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQC managed 22 sales. So the numbers are relative. The GV70 is quite a handsome car, and priced at $71,800 plus on roads, it comes in cheaper than something like like the BMW X3. The price therefore, looks to be about perfect.
Genesis really is obviously only at the beginning of a long path, but what does it need to do next? For one, none of its vehicles can or should ever look like a Hyundai. That almost goes without saying.
And I hate to say this but the GV60 (below) almost looks like Genesis has headed in that direction. I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the upcoming electric offering, but I’m saddened to see the images as it could easily pass as a model in Hyundai’s electric line-up. Styling is personal though, so let’s see how the Australian public reacts.
Genesis also needs to ensure that it builds on its brand reputation. I am still telling people regularly what Genesis is, and unfortunately a lot of people still have absolutely no idea that the brand is linked to Hyundai – one of the most reliable and trusted brands in the automative industry in this country. Others do. And you often get sentiments like, ‘It’s just a Hyundai.’ Well, we know that it’s not. I’m of the belief that a Genesis is much more in the same way a Lexus takes a step forward from a Toyota. Take a look inside a Gensis. Take one for a test drive. You might be surprised, especially if you go in thinking it’s just a Hyundai.
It’s also worth mentioning that the man behind the brand’s current designs, Luc Donckerwolke, has been responsible for some iconic designs in the past. His portfolio includes the Lamborghini Murcielago, and Gallardo, along with a range of Audi, Skoda, Seat and Bentley vehicles.
Breaking into the premium end of the market is a huge challenge, that’s a given. But Hyundai’s record and success in Australia offers a solid platform. Genesis has huge potential and I’ll openly say that I am a fan and hope that the brand does work.
Genesis is, however, up against some big competition. Why would you buy a Genesis over a Mercedes-Benz, BMW or even a Lexus for that matter? While Genesis product isn’t ‘cheap’ in comparison, they are uniquely styled, and plenty of people like something different! Genesis also kept the same warranty as Hyundai (five years) along with a range of customer concierge services that mean owners never need set foot back in a dealership, or be without a car while the one they own is being serviced.
If Hyundai can continue to make that long-term commitment and inject cash into its luxury arm then there’s no reason why Genesis can’t be a success. But, we need to see Genesis push the brand into the market all around Australia. Genesis Studio stores are expanding to Brisbane and the Gold Coast in the near future, but further progression in Australia will be key to the brand establishing a lasting foothold Down Under.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Genesis will be a success?
Emma has been on our television screens for over a decade. Most of her time in the industry has been spent at racetracks reporting at major motorsport events in Australia – from TCR and Superbikes to Porsche Sprint Challenge and Supercars. Emma has also hosted various MotoGP and F1 events interviewing the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Jack Miller. Having previously presented on an automotive show, she made her move to the Drive family in 2020. Fiercely proud of her Italian heritage, Emma is a coffee loving, stylish-black wearing resident of Melbourne.