Speaking to CarAdvice at the Genesis stand during last week’s New York motor show, Erwin Raphael, the newly appointed boss of Genesis in the US, admitted that the brand has enormous challenges ahead and that its initial goal will be about brand building and establishment, rather than volume.
“I am less interested in the volume of cars that we sell than the fact that people will look at Genesis and identify luxury by Genesis,” Raphael told CarAdvice.
“So, we are not looking at numbers. That’s irrelevant right now, we just want to make sure that the brand is established well.”
Genesis will have its brand launch in Australia next year, when the current Hyundai Genesis will get a facelift and have its name changed to Genesis G80. The G80 will be followed later in 2017 by the G70 four-door coupe (previewed by the Genesis New York concept), while two SUVs and further sedans are promised from the brand by 2020.
The South Korean brand will position itself against the likes of Lexus and Infiniti as well as the more established European manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, a task that Raphael does not take lightly.
“We have fierce competition, this is tough. We have all the big players that have been here for years and years and years, they are entrenched as aspirational brands and we are the new kids on the block, so of course its going to be a lot of competition," he said.
When asked how Genesis proposed to take on the might of the European and Japanese brands in the luxury sector, Raphael joked: “we will have to figure that out along the way”. He added that Genesis models will be priced “very competitively”.
The company expects to select around 50 Hyundai Australia dealers to cater for the Genesis brand before its launch next year.
Hyundai Australia has already confirmed that it will sell Genesis models through existing dealerships rather than new standalone showrooms, although it has yet to decide whether that will mean a specialised boutique-style space, or alongside other regular models on the main showroom floor.
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