The Genesis of Genesis Motor

I was visiting Miami in May and one of the things I noticed was the abundance of Genesis vehicles on the road. What really caught my eye in Miami was the Genesis GV80, it looked so similar to the Bentley Bentayga.

For those who don’t know Genesis Motor is the luxury division of the Hyundai Motor Group, which also owns Hyundai, IONIQ, and a controlling stake in Kia. The Hyundai Motor Group is the 3rd largest automotive manufacturer after #1 Toyota and #2 Volkswagen.

It’s been a long journey for Hyundai. 20 years ago they were the laughing stock of the automotive industry because their cars were unreliable and ugly. Kia was even worse and when they launched their 100,000-mile warranty (an industry first) people said it was required because the cars were just plain horrible to drive and maintain.

Today, Hyundai Motor Group is in a very different position. They are expanding into the luxury segment and re-create what the Japanese brands Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti did when they launched in the late 80s. Lexus was the luxury brand of Toyota, Acura was a division of Honda and Infiniti was part of Nissan. Since then all the brands have suffered but Hyundai is looking to re-create that magic and make sure it doesn’t fall to the wayside.

After visiting Miami, I headed to New York City and happened to come across the Genesis House…which according to them is an immersive experience space. That is where I got to see their new electric vehicle the GV60 and it looks stunning.

As I was speaking to one of the employees at Genesis House he told me why the GV80 has similar styling to the Bentayga. That’s because the designer Luc Donckerwolke had worked at Bentley. He also was the lead designer for the Lamborghini Diablo, Murciélago, and many other cars. I’m not a huge fan of chrome but on the GV80 the massive chrome grill looks great.

Genesis was launched in 2008 as Hyundai Genesis at the New York International Auto Show. Which meant the cars were available at Hyundai dealers. In 2015, the name was changed to Genesis and the vehicles were only available at Genesis standalone dealers. This strategy of standalone dealers was taken from the automotive playbook of Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti.

I personally think the Hyundai Motor Group has a winning chance with Genesis to take on the German cars and firmly establish itself as a luxury brand. There will always be those folks that buy Mercedes, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci because that is what you do when you have “arrived”. But, Genesis with its backing from the Hyundai Group can play the long game and establish itself as a luxury brand that is built to last.

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