origin? That’s that group Phil Collins sang, right? Hardly anyone in Europe knows the new luxury brand Hyundai intends to seek out brands like Audi, BMW or Mercedes customers in the future. But it has been around for a long time in the US and Asia – and it will also be coming to Switzerland this year: Zurich will become one of the first three European locations alongside London and Munich.
Genesis wanted to come with us a long time ago. Early in 2019 – This was the goal of former CEO Manfred Fitzgerald for the start of Europe in 2018. It is time for “the luxury of South Korea”. But Fitzgerald is long gone, Corona postponed the start and Genesis chief designer Luke Dunkerfolk (56) wanted to coordinate the models according to the taste of the target customers.
Luxury and performance
The Belgian car once made a seat in the most beautiful Volkswagen subsidiary and presented a Lamborghini in the shape of a wedge. On the Genesis, it didn’t get to the point radically: twin stripes in the headlights and taillights attached lengthwise across the entire body with sheet-metal folds. Plus an extra-large grille and a retracted rear make you think of a Bentley – the luxurious Korean look is ready. Independent, but unfortunately not radically similar as the Genesis Concept Cars. With the unveiling of the Essentia Concept of 2018 or the X Concept in Los Angeles in March, people held their breath even more.
Two models will be launched in Europe: the G80 sedan in the shape of the Mercedes E-Class and the GV80 SUV in the style of the BMW X5. Both share engines, a four-cylinder petrol engine with 249 or 304 hp, a 380 hp V6 petrol engine, and, amazingly, a 210 hp turbocharged engine. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. The steel body of European models was adapted to local tastes at the Hyundai Test Center in Rüsselsheim (D). The interior is conservative and decent – aside from the extravagant steering wheel. Donckerwolke calls this concept “white room beauty”: comfort without overwhelming the client with excessive luxury.
Planned full model range
A little bit revolutionary – and not electrified, either. But Europe CEO Dominic Bosch is planning an all-electric G80 with 370hp four-wheel drive thanks to two electric motors for this year. Two other electrical prototypes to follow during the first twelve months. Later, the mid-range G70 (sedan) and GV70 (SUV) models will be positioned against the Audi A4 / Q5, BMW 3 Series / X3 or Mercedes C-Class / GLC. In addition, the shooting brake releases were planned as a kind of station wagon only close to Europe. And the luxury G90 will likely move to us from South Korea sooner or later.
Chances of success? Genesis should be different from European brands, otherwise it will be difficult. Officials at Japanese luxury brands know how difficult this can be. Toyota’s Lexus has a sworn fan base, but it’s still not in line with the sales numbers. The luxury brand Infiniti has long since surrendered to Nissan in Europe and the Honda branch of Acura has not even tried it in Europe – German competition in this country seems very overwhelming.
Service should be the key
So Boesch relies on a Korean strategy: universal service. The German has experience as Head of Audi Sales in France, South Korea, Japan and China: “We want a new approach – and direct contact with the customer.” Genesis models will mainly be sold online. This also saves Boesch the tedious backlog of the dealer network. Clients must try the brand in so-called studios; Closed galleries in the best location in town. One should be enough for every country: in the UK, Germany and Switzerland this is London, Munich and Zurich.
In addition, Genesis dedicates each individual Genesis assistant customer, who takes care of everything – from sales to service, transportation to the workshop, tire changes and sales of digital accessories and services via the Genesis app. So far, there are only two brands with this approach – Mercedes’ Rolls-Royce and Maybach.
Online sales also mean: Flat prices for all models – no compromise on extra winter tires or discounts. Pricing for the G80 and GV80 has yet to be determined.