Hyundai / Kia group's top-tier Genesis brand has really shaken things in the luxury car space over the past few years. The new global luxury brand is being developed primarily for the U.S., the Middle East, and China, with plans to expand to Europe. So how exactly did Genesis get here within such a short span of time? Let's dig a little deeper to find out.
The Roots Of Genesis
The Genesis name itself traces to the early 2000s and Hyundai's intent from the start was to launch it as their luxury arm. Genesis was supposed to become a standalone brand, but the 2008 financial crisis/recession held up its growth in those early days.
The first car under the Genesis name, a luxury sedan, was showcased in 2007 for the 2008 model year. In 2009, John Krafcik, then the head of Hyundai Motors of America, pushed the Hyundai Genesis as a premium, reasonably priced sedan, appealing to consumers who wanted a luxury car, but who also wanted one that was not as flashy, not ostentatious, especially during a difficult time of recession affecting millions of people. Subsequently, a smaller two-door coupe also called the Hyundai Genesis was introduced.
The Birth Of The Genesis Brand
Having looked at the potential and popularity of the Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan, Chris Hosford, spokesman for the U.S. division of Hyundai, decided it was time the brand became a standalone company. There was some debate internally over whether it should have its first models sold under Hyundai, or start its own new brand, either through its own dealer network or Hyundai’s dealerships. Fast forward a few years and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe was eventually discontinued.
In 2015, Hyundai Motor Group formally announced that the Genesis brand would be becoming Genesis Motors, their new luxury brand of vehicles. Because of its popularity, Chris Hosford, the spokesman for the U.S. arm of Hyundai, decided that the time had come for the brand to become its own company. There was an internal debate about whether its first models should be sold under Hyundai, or launch a new brand for it, either through its own retail chain or via Hyundai dealers.
The Speed Of Execution
So, how did Genesis’ humble beginnings spiral so rapidly into the realm of luxury? Well, Hyundai’s strategy of calling on experts of course. Albert Biermann joined the team 2015, who had spent the previous three decades years making BMW M-cars amongst the best driver’s cars on the planet. Another prominent figure to join Genesis was Luc Donckerwolke, the former design director at Bentley, and Manfred Fitzgerald who had previously been with Lamborghini for over a decade became Genisis’ chief executive and there was no looking back. The Korean brand has gone from strength to strength.
The first stand-alone model, the Genesis G90, was released in 2017. From concept cars to production models, it is hard to believe that in just five years, the brand has gone from having just one model to today having over six.
Proof That Design Sells
Despite being a relative newcomer to the market, Genesis has not backpedaled in competing against the most established luxury brands in the U.S. market, such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus. One of the biggest reasons for the Genesis brand's success has got to be exterior design and Korean automotive design really has come a long way.
Among the bevy of new models that have hit the market over the past few years from Genesis, there isn't a single one that looks odd. Genesis is looking to tap into every product category be it with SUVs like the full-size GV80 and mid-size GV70, full-size luxury sedans like the G80 (now available as an EV) and G90 sedans, the G70 shooting brake, or compact EV crossovers like the GV60, they really are a force to be reckoned with in the Luxury car space now.
Into The Realm Of Luxury
Another aspect that Genesis has taken very seriously of course: is the level of onboard tech and Luxury. For instance, on their new flagship G90 sedan, the suspension looks ahead on the road using a camera. When the car sees that it is about to hit a bump, it can lift the front end of the vehicle up to a half-inch just before the collision, giving the extra suspension travel. If a road is rough, the whole vehicle can be raised an inch.
As for tech, you've got the fully integrated surround sound features a Bang+Olufsen sound system with 26 speakers, powered by a 1400-watt amp. A second amplifier, rated at 300 watts, is used for 3-D audio. The touchscreens and massage seats add to the G90 state-of-the-art experience. G90 uses advanced technology to cater to each passenger’s needs and comfort.
The Genesis Experience
Despite the growing product line, Genesis has struggled with many of its Hyundai dealership networks across the U.S., they are frustrated they might not be able to continue selling Genesis cars. Initially, Hyundai dealers designated areas for the Genesis lineup, but that only lasted a brief period, before Genesis began building its own dealerships.
Early Genesis dealers were a subset of already established Hyundai Motor Group dealers. The first Genesis dealers in the country created a dedicated area within their showrooms for Genesis cars, showing off their G80 and G90 models at that time.
The new brand also ensures that a Genesis Personal Assistant would manage every aspect of the buying and owning experience, to honor the greatest luxury of all time, a "No Pressure" system. The use of personal assistants during the purchasing process is a crucial aspect of the customer experience. Schedule on-location test drives and check availability by connecting with a Genesis Concierge for personalized assistance.
The Future Of Genesis
So to summarize, Genesis is no longer the underdog where it needs to undercut its luxury car rivals to be considered seriously. As the brand continues to launch new vehicles and has proven that they are solid competitor against other luxury brands. Take the flagship G90 for example. It is a luxury vehicle through and through, there is no denying it. The sleek proportions, the elaborate details, and the general appearance are somewhere between the Mercedes S-Class and the Bentley. With Genesis continuing to debut some truly stunning concepts, you can expect that the brand will continue to grow.