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Genesis: First Australian showroom taking shape

The arrival of Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis is a step closer, first cars due on sale March 2019

Customers of Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis may never need to venture to a dealership or service centre under a radical plan to “reinvent” the car buying and ownership experience.

After almost a year of delays, Genesis is a step closer to opening its first standalone showroom in Australia – in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall – with cars due to go on sale in March 2019. Sites in Brisbane and Melbourne are due to follow in 2020.

Genesis cars will be for sale in the flagship store – and contracts can be signed – but test drives will happen offsite, or at the customer’s work or home address.

There will also be a pick-up and drop-off service for the vehicle’s routine maintenance, which means customers may never need to visit a traditional dealership. For now, Genesis has no plans to open one in Australia.

Above, top: Artist impression of the new Genesis Sydney showroom due to open in 2019

“Our approach is to create (an) ownership experience like people have not seen before... in the car industry and even in broader luxury segments,” said Scott Grant, the chief operating officer of Hyundai and Genesis in Australia.

“Both the purchase experience and the ownership experience will be quite unique in the industry.”

The showroom will be staffed primarily by people from outside the car industry, who’ve had experience with luxury goods, hospitality and hotel chains. Only the store manager has car industry experience.

The Genesis showroom inside Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall is in the middle of a pedestrian plaza, a stone’s throw from and Tag Heuer, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Versace and Tiffany & Co stores.

Above: Artist impression of the new Genesis Sydney showroom due to open in 2019

While there's nowhere to park, more than 46 million pedestrians will pass the front door every year, the company claims.

The two-level shop front – with 558 square metres of floor space in the middle of the Sydney CBD – has room to display up to seven cars, split between both levels.

The renovation of the former site for Oroton and Billabong stores – which will include a lift to move cars between floors – is estimated to cost more than $7 million.

The showroom will have high-end Barrisol studio-grade lighting that doesn’t shine hot spots on the display vehicles.

Above: Artist impression of the new Genesis Sydney showroom due to open in 2019

As reported previously, Genesis will initially launch with the G80 limousine (a facelift of the Hyundai Genesis launched in 2014) and G70 mid-size sedan, a rival to the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The range will eventually be joined by two SUVs, a mid-size five-seater dubbed GV70 and a seven-seater GV80.

The two most senior executives responsible for launching Hyundai’s luxury brand in Australia also played critical roles introducing Lexus locally in 1990, when they worked for Toyota.

Mr Grant and the general manager of Genesis Motors Australia, Peter Evans, are aware of the marketing challenge to separate Genesis from its mainstream Hyundai origins.

“Those who are very close to their motor cars may have an understanding of the background and where the vehicles are coming from (but) there’s nothing to apologise (for) in that respect,” says Mr Grant. “We can build very high quality motor cars and Genesis will be the ultimate example of that.”

The company says Hyundai and Genesis buyers are “very different people”.

“We won’t be marketing to Hyundai buyers,” says Mr Grant. “There will be some small amount of cannibalisation but I don’t think it will be anything like some other brands have had. For us it’s more of an acquisition opportunity.”

The Genesis G80 on show in an overseas storefront

Mr Grant says there is room for a new luxury brand given the increasing wealth of Australians.

“The luxury market has grown consistent with the general affluence in Australia quite substantially in recent years, notwithstanding this year it’s now slowing down quite a bit. (But) over time the trend is quite strong,” he says.

“When you look at the luxury market there’s different mind-sets of people who are in that sector, who have access to the sort of money and sort of life experiences that they want for a luxury motor car,” he says. “We’re not running a traditional retail dealer network. This is a high-end concierge-type service.”