Genesis G70 launch looms as brand tries to nail down dealer strategy

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Genesis G70 launch looms as brand tries to nail down dealer strategy

Genesis has been around as a standalone brand for a few years now, and it’s just about to launch its third car: the impressive G70 sedan, which we first drove back in September 2017 and again last month. The sales process has been unclear, though, and the upstart luxury automaker is hoping to change that.

Erwin Raphael, general manager for Genesis, sat down to chat with us and the rest of the media in Detroit about the brand. He cleared up the dealership strategy for the near future and even left us with some intriguing news related to the Essentia Concept.

At the beginning of the year, Genesis announced it was going to ditch its Hyundai dealership digs for Genesis-specific dealers. That proved unfeasible not long after, and the brand switched to a strategy of selling the Genesis in Hyundai dealers again.

Raphael explained the strategy behind that today. He says that every Hyundai dealer was offered the option to sell Genesis vehicles if they wanted. To do this, they’d need to abide by Genesis’ rules. This includes the plan of having a separate facility for sales and service since the buying experience for a G90 is supposed to be vastly different than buying an Accent. Eventually, Genesis wants its cars to be out of Hyundai showrooms and within standalone dealerships.

In total, about 400 dealers have accepted the Genesis offer to sell its cars and are in various stages of readiness. Raphael thinks all the dealerships will be registered and ready to sell Genesis cars by March 2019, with standalone showrooms to come later. Every version of the G70 will be on sale this month, though, so Genesis is preparing for what it expects to be its highest-volume car yet.

You’ll have to wait until early 2020 for the brand’s first crossover, though, according to Raphael. It can’t come soon enough, as Genesis continues to face sales headwinds with its all-sedan lineup in a time of sharply declining sedan sales. It sold about one-third as many cars in August as it had sold in August 2017.

And Raphael hinted that we shouldn’t give up on the Essentia Concept quite yet. “We are very committed to the Essentia.” If adapted to a production car, it would be “a limited edition” and “a statement car,” Raphael says.

It would be a bold move for Genesis to come out with an electric supercar or even something like it, but we certainly wouldn’t complain. For now, the brand is hoping to get back to actually selling cars, with the addition of the cheaper G70 sports sedan. Official pricing isn’t released yet, but Genesis says it’ll start around $35,000.

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