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Genesis confirms Q1, 2019 launch

Delays with fit out of Sydney store push Genesis launch back to end of Q1

18 Dec 2018

HYUNDAI’S fledgling premium brand Genesis will finally launch in Australia by the end of the first quarter of 2019 following delays with the completion of its flagship Sydney store.
Genesis sales will kick off in about March with two models initially available – the G80 large sedan, which is a facelifted version of the discontinued Hyundai ‘Genesis’ sedan, and the BMW 3 Series-sized G70 sedan.
As reported, from launch, Genesis will be sold through its sole Australian outlet in Sydney’s Pitt Street mall. 
According to local executives, the store will be nothing like a car dealership, and will instead be an experience centre with specialised product specialists that will provide information and help customers with a purchase.
The new store will cover two stories and feature visual elements from the global Genesis corporate identity as seen at its other store in the trendy Gangnam district of Seoul.
While there will be space for seven vehicles in the store, it will likely be limited to three upstairs and two on the ground floor.
Speaking to GoAuto at a media event in Sydney this week, Genesis Australia general manager Peter Evans said the fit out of the new store was the cause of the delayed launch of the brand Down Under. 
“Marketing, media plan, creative, website, retail operations, HR, recruiting, training, processes – all of that is under control,” he said. “Aftersales, valet service, warranty, all of those things are under control, because we are in charge. But we are not in charge of that (store fit out). 
“We are at the mercy of suppliers, trades, council approvals, all of those kinds of things, and the complexity of the design have all mitigated against us.”
Mr Evans said a number of elements of the high-end store had taken longer to produce than initially anticipated, including the dramatic central spiral staircase and its surrounding LCD screen.
Other factors had also impacted the move-in date, including the need to re-power the site due to the high-tech lights required for the store.
Mr Evans said that in its initial launch phase, there would be no internal sales targets, with staff at the store instead focused on providing outstanding customer service. 
“We are customer-experience driven. So everyone except for the store manager will be focused on and measured on and rewarded and recognised on customer experience measures. And the only one who will be responsible for sales, but not so much in a target way but in monitoring and achieving way, will be the store manager. 
“Of the seven people in the store, he will be the only person that has direct automotive retailing experience. We figured that was important. The rest of the team are about the experience.” 
He said that in launching the Genesis brand, the company could not do what other premium brands had done in the past.
“We can’t be a ‘me too’ brand and expect to succeed. If you do the same thing over and over you can’t expect a different result.”
Hyundai Motor Company Australia chief operating officer Scott Grant said when he visited South Korea in February this year to present a plan to the head of the Genesis brand – former Lamborghini boss Manfred Fitzgerald – he was informed there would be no sales targets.
“We went in there saying ‘we are going to sell this many’,” he said. “We are not sure so you are making assumptions that … we might be able to get this level of market share. We had all of this prepared.
“He said, ‘You can make anything look like whatever you want with a spreadsheet, I don’t care about that. There is no sales plan. I want to talk about the brand. I want to talk about the customer experience – nothing else. Other people in Seoul, they might want to look at your spreadsheet, I don’t care. I want to talk about the brand.’”
Mr Grant said Genesis would look to set itself apart from other premium brands in Australia. 
“The whole thing coming into this is very much focused on the opportunity to differentiate, reach people in a different way, appeal to a different kind of luxury customer who is less pretentious you might say. Looking, to some extent, for value, but tech or safety that is as good as anybody, but packaged in a simplistic way.”
With just two sedans launching initially, Genesis will not have an offering in the hot-selling SUV market for some time, with two SUVs – one likely based on the GV80 concept from last year’s New York motor show – rolling out in 2020 and 2021.
Mr Evans said there were pros and cons to the timing of the SUV rollout, adding that it gave the brand a chance to grow. 
“A pro is we can take it more slowly, more considered, get our house in order, achieve reasonable volumes and reasonable brand awareness before we have to ramp up the volumes quite significantly given the mix between medium and large sedans and medium and large SUVs in terms of the market size.
“Obviously you don’t sell as many cars in your first year, given that it is a long-term investment, you could argue one way or another that it is more important to learn and grow and implement your systems and get everything polished before you start to get more customers turning up at your door.”

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