Genesis, Hyundai Are Champions at NY Auto Show

Genesis and its parent-brand Hyundai were the stars of the 2022 New York Auto Show. A stunning Genesis electric concept and new luxury sedan, a refreshed Hyundai Palisade and top awards were among the highlights.

Nancy Dunham, Principal Analyst/Retail

April 25, 2022

4 Min Read
Genesis X Speedium Coupe Concept
Genesis X Speedium Coupe concept wows attendees at unveiling at Genesis House in New York.

NEW YORK – South Korean automaker Hyundai and its luxury sub-brand Genesis are on a roll.

At the recent New York International Auto Show, the automaker unveiled the futuristic Genesis X Speedium Coupe concept, showcased its newest luxury sedan, the Genesis G90 (pictured, below left), introduced the refreshed Hyundai Palisade and took bows as Hyundai’s first dedicated all-electric car, the Ioniq 5, won World Car of the Year, World Electric Car and World Car Design awards.Genesis G90

Genesis G90_1

A few weeks earlier, the automaker’s executives attended the opening of Genesis of Lafayette, a 12,000-sq.-ft. (1,115-sq-m), $3.6 million dealership in Lafayette, LA.

The least expensive Genesis model sells for just under $40,000, so Lafayette, with a median income of $33,245 in 2020 (compared with $63,593 nationally) seems an unusual location for the first standalone Genesis dealership in the U.S.

“I’m sure this location is surprising to many people,” Tedros Mengiste, executive director of sales operations for Genesis, tells Wards. “People said, ‘Why not Chicago or New York? That’s where a lot of luxury people are.’ But we’re really a brand that is open and accessible to all who want to buy a luxury brand.”

Dealer principal Arthur C. LeBlanc Jr., a Hyundai dealer since 2007, and Sterling Automotive Group own the Lafayette dealership (pictured, below). LeBlanc was so impressed with the automaker’s forward thinking that he started to lobby for a standalone dealership even before the automaker formulated its plans.Genesis Lafayette dealership

Genesis Lafayette dealership_0

“I read something many years ago that the hardest thing in life is to test your patience, to wait for the moment,” says LeBlanc. “I think Genesis waited for the right moment.”

That moment arrived due to pent-up demand for luxury cars and personalized service, says Jon Sederstrom, managing director of global automotive strategic initiatives at J.D. Power & Associates.

“Many people coming out of COVID maintained full employment but didn’t have anything to spend their money on, such as lavish vacations,” Sederstrom tells Wards. “There is an enormous wealth effect that shifted demand. Then there was a supply chain crisis that shifted supply. Without both of those elements, we don’t get to where we are.”

Genesis is positioned to provide luxury vehicles and sensory experiences, too. The Louisiana dealership has the ambiance of an opulent home designed with glass exterior walls and filled with soft lighting and earth-colored contemporary furnishings, including plush leather seating. The result is an atmosphere of serene elegance.

Five more Genesis-only dealerships are under construction in various locations, including Greer, SC, Cherry Hill, NJ, and Santa Monica, CA. Twenty more are in the planning process.

“It’s a really exciting feeling when plans come in,” says Mengiste. “That’s when you know you’re getting your footprint in the luxury auto market in the U.S.”

There seems little doubt of that. While Genesis deliveries pale in comparison to its luxury competitors, all of whom posted six-figure sales, Genesis U.S. sales boomed by more than 200%, from 16,384 in 2020 to 49,621 in 2021, according to Wards Intelligence data. The brand’s robust growth continued in Q1 2022, posting 11,723 sales, a 42.6% increase over Q1 2021.

Genesis’ commitment to fulfilling orders quickly spurs its sales success. Spokesman Jarred Pellat says the automaker opted to hold off on feature enhancements, such as on its smart cruise control, because the microchip shortage made it impossible to provide them for timely delivery.

Genesis banks on the personalized, luxury service it provides customers and even the public for luring potential buyers to the brand and spreading positive word-of-mouth.

To that end, the automaker opens Genesis House (pictured, below) in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, known as the Meatpacking District. It’s a building with more than 46,000 sq.-ft. (4,274 sq-m) of modern, yet understated ambiance that includes an entertainment space, a rare-books library, a traditional Korean tearoom and a fine-dining restaurant that features authentic Korean food by Michelin-starred chefs. Of course, there is also a showroom for Genesis vehicles.

Cadillac, Lexus and Mini recently closed similar New York venues, but Genesis executives seem confident their luxury sanctuary, which immerses visitors in Korean culture, will thrive.

The modernity of Genesis House seems to stand as a brick-and-mortar representation of the automaker’s commitments, including full electrification by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2035. The X Speedium Coupe concept signals the brand’s design language for its six-model, all-electric lineup promised by the start of the next decade.

Genesis hopes developing its luxury credentials will resonate with EV buyers. EVs have average prices $9,000 higher than cars with conventional powertrains, says J.D. Power’s Sederstrom. Yet the luxury market is hungry for such vehicles, he says.

“We’re seeing in the data loyalty to Genesis,” says Sederstrom. “Now, it’s still early, but their loyalty went to number one in premium once they launched the (Palisade) SUV. And now they’re building standalone dealerships. They are doing everything right.”Genesis House

Genesis House

About the Author(s)

Nancy Dunham

Principal Analyst/Retail, WardsAuto

Nancy Dunham became an auto journalist more than twenty years ago. She has worked as an editor and writer for the National Automobile Dealers Association, US News & World Report, CarFax, and various newspapers in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Her work also appears in Costco Connections, AARP, the New York Times, Rolling Stone and other publications.

Before specializing in automotive retail journalism, she was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and publisher.

She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her three beloved cats.

Contact her at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancydwrites/.

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