Korean luxury brand Genesis has its eyes on a big-scale global expansion, well beyond the Korean and US markets where it currently has a presence.
The Genesis brand will launch in Australia in early 2018, with the all-new Genesis G70 spearheading the company’s ambitious plans. But there are bigger fish to fry, according to Genesis senior vice president, Manfred Fitzgerald.
“We’re definitely going to go to China, but I can’t give you an exact date,” Fitzgerald said.
“We just have to be ready as well. I don’t think you can play it and say ‘okay this is the right time’. We have to be well prepared. As a brand you have to be present there before just going there and believing that with a good product you will be successful – I don’t think that you’re going to be successful [without establishing the brand beforehand],” he said.
“So there is a preparation involved in establishing a brand there before. Once we’ve got all that work done, then I guess we can pull the trigger, as I said,” Fitzgerald stated.
Asked if it’s a matter of making sure the model mix is correct for China and other markets, Fitzgerald stated that getting people to understand what the company stands for and what it’s trying to achieve is perhaps more important than having the right car to kick off with.
“I don’t think it’s only related to the models. I don’t think that the product will be the only success factor – you also have to establish a brand.
“I won’t tell you the secret sauce on how we’re going to do that, to establish the brand, but yes there is preparation involved, and a there’s a lot going on to get it right, product and brand,” he said.
“It’s the same answer to the question about when we will exactly launch in Europe. We are preparing the market there. We’re doing basically in parallel ways to how we’re doing it in China, we’re doing the same thing in Europe as well,” he said.
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Fitzgerald did have something to say on the way the brand would establish its presence in Australia, too.
“I think that it’s valid for Australia, like in each and every market. So the incumbent players have been around for many years. We’re coming everywhere as a new market, so it doesn’t differ from any other market that we’re entering,” he said.
Part of the strategy behind Genesis’s point of difference in the market, according to Fitzgerald, is the way the company will interact with its owners – there’ll be things like the Genesis membership program that will see the brand offer a number of incentives.
Things like replacement of major parts for three years, a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty and the same coverage for complementary servicing, a free five-year connected services program, and even a subscription program for minor scratch and dent repairs.
Hyundai Motor Company Australia chief operating officer Scott Grant said the brand is looking to offer that sort of detailed ownership experience for future Genesis customers.
“Yes, it’s one of the considerations. It hasn’t been finally approved… There are a few final aspects on how we’re going to market the brand and how we’re going to bring it to market that haven’t been completely approved, but should be in the next month or so.
"[With] that sort of timing, we should be able to confirm exactly the path in Australia. But we’re definitely studying that concierge, convenience-type system and the Genesis club-type perspective.”
Grant also stated that the traditional dealership network ideal will be challenged by Genesis in Australia.
“Only in the sense that we don’t think customers, for the most part, aren’t going to go to dealerships at this end of the market,” he said.
“And we’ll be encouraging through our dealer body to go to customers and to have an outward looking and an outward presence in terms of a sales process and a customer engagement activity … foot traffic on a Saturday afternoon is not what this business is all about.”
There are some further bows that need to be tied before Genesis launches in its full scale in Australia, Grant said.
“We’re not prepared to launch it all right now, I have to tell you. There will be a time and a place for that to come into play. It’s a full 360-degree in terms of how to go to market with it,” he said.
“There’s obviously a lot of digitisation, in terms of tech and online and customer experience for example. Research can be done online. Simulations about product can be done online. The technical capabilities can be brought to life online. A lot of those things make the typical showroom process a bit superfluous. And also our market won’t typically want to enter a showroom, in our minds, so much. So their experience will be a lot more home and office based and customer-led in that way,” he said.
“We think the way we’ll set up our presentation, our brands, our look and feel of our stores and so forth, will be different. So there’s a range of things we’re looking to set-up that will be different. Certainly different to where Hyundai has been and we think a little bit different to the category. But it’s about meeting the customer’s needs at their locations at their requirements.”