LOS ANGELES — A quick glance at Genesis Motor America's U.S. sales numbers would suggest the fledgling luxury brand is tanking at a critical point in its development. But the numbers don't tell the full story.
While sales nearly tripled in 2017, this year's monthly reports have shown steep declines. November sales were down 77 percent to just 417 vehicles. For the year, they're down by nearly 48 percent.
The dropoff, however, is largely a byproduct of the brand's accelerated separation from Hyundai, says Brian Smith, COO of Hyundai Motor America. As the companies plotted the separation, Smith said, Hyundai executives realized it would take longer than expected to meet franchise guidelines that vary from state to state.
March would turn out to be the last month that dealers received shipments of 2018 Genesis models as the brand applied in each state to become a separate line-make from Hyundai. Dealers had to follow suit to get licensed and sell 2019 Genesis products and beyond.
"Rather than have '19 model year Genesis trickling out, we decided that was going to be the break," Smith said.
In late September, Genesis' licensing journey was nearly complete with 45 states under its belt.
Now, the sporty 2019 G70 sedan, which is a North American Car of the Year finalist and getting a high-profile push during "Monday Night Football" halftime shows, is popping up in stores across the country.The brand expects 100 to 200 dealers to have them by year end. Genesis sold 128 G70s in November.