Genesis Boss Peers Into the Crystal Ball

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Genesis

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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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