DETROIT -- As they prepare to launch the Genesis luxury brand, Hyundai's top U.S. executives are determined to resist the auto industry's edifice complex.
In setting up a retail network for the new marque, Hyundai is charting a different course from that of European luxury brands, whose showrooms typically cost tens of millions of dollars, or, in the case of flagship stores in Manhattan, more than $100 million.
"Someone's got to pay for that, and it's the customers," Mike O'Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning at Hyundai Motor America, said in an interview.
So instead of requiring its dealers to build costly Genesis showrooms, Hyundai plans a case-by-case approach. The thinking is that by saving money on capital improvements, Hyundai and its dealers will be able to invest more in technology and a convenient customer experience.