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Market Insight: Prestige moves to EVs
Genesis and Lexus follow Volvo as more prestige car-makers join the EV circuit
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16 May 2022
By NEIL DOWLING
MORE prestige car-makers have recently announced a move into producing pure electric models to initially complement their petrol cars and ultimately lead to a full EV line-up.
Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are already down that track but it will trigger more prestige car-makers to quickly follow suit.
There is not much surprise that one such brand is Genesis. Its parent, Hyundai, has already shown its EV expertise and now has three battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on the Australian market.
Now it plans the GV60, based on the Hyundai Ioniq 5 platform but with a bit more performance, and upcoming all-electric variants of the G80 sedan and GV70 SUV bearing ‘Electrified’ badges.
Genesis sales are accelerating since its relaunch here in 2018. The brand has factory-owned outlets with an online purchase option and has customer support through Hyundai state offices and satellite service outlets.
Based on the success of the Hyundai EVs – and in particular the Ioniq 5 that took off the World Car of the Year award – the Genesis examples should be shoe-ins.
Lexus is the other recent EV entrant. After decades of sharing hybrid tech with parent Toyota, it became the group’s first label to announce a full-EV production car when it launched the UX300e late last year.
The UX300e will be followed by the bigger RZ450e – being launched in the US and other markets later this year – which is not yet confirmed for Australia.
Lexus has said there will be a BEV version of every model by 2025, replicating its stance on hybrids that occupy all model choices except the LX570 off-roader and RC coupe.
The brand has sold 29,000 hybrids under its own name since 2006 and about one-third of current sales are hybrids. The same could happen with EVs. Hybrids will continue to be sold by Lecus as it is only those powered purely by internal combustion that are doomed.
Lexus sales have plateaued over the past seven years but an EV range may just give it the same kick as seen by Volvo, which upped sales by 48 per cent, much on the back of electrification.
Another prestige manufacturer quietly preparing EVs is Jaguar. It has not launched a new model since it unveiled the I-Pace EV in 2018 – all subsequent launches have been upgrades of existing models.
Jaguar has been tinkering away in the background and was to launch the J-Pace (a bigger SUV) and an electric version of the XJ (since axed).
Now it is planning to produce only EVs globally from 2035, and in Europe from 2025.
Jaguar has indicated its EVs would be two crossovers (SUVs) and a coupe as it steers away from more SUVs, leaving that genre to its sibling, Land Rover.
Land Rover is also in the EV mix. Where Jaguar expects all its models to be EVs from 2030, the percentage of EVs expected from Land Rover is likely to be about 60 per cent. By 2039, Jaguar Land Rover wants to have neutral carbon output across its production, supply chain and vehicles, at which point Land Rover will be an EV-only brand.
The moves are similar to those initiated by Volvo in mid-2021, when it said it would cease ICE production and by exclusively an electrified car company from 2030.
Volvo has already started phasing out diesel and petrol engine manufacture and is on track to meet its 2030 deadline in Australia by offering every model with mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric power.
The brand’s XC40 Recharge is already a popular choice, building on the success of its neat XC40 donor that is the brand’s best-selling model in Australia.
Sales for Volvo in Australia have risen steadily from 2016, having now almost doubled in the seven year period.
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