Genesis has been building out its franchised dealer network, with all of the red tape such an undertaking requires. The upstart Korean luxury brand says it has about 330 in operation and expects to reach 350 by year end. The problem is three sedans and no crossovers on showroom floors.
Just one of those sedans, the G70 compact, is a Genesis from the ground up. The midsize G80 and G90 are carryovers from Hyundai. All get good marks from review websites, and Genesis led J.D. Power's Initial Quality Study in 2018 and 2019. Sales through July were up 47 percent from a year earlier on the strength of the G70. But sales of the other two sedans are down sharply, and the brand still has no crossovers.
Genesis is aware of the problem and has updates of the G80 and G90 coming — along with its first crossover set to go on sale next year. It will be followed a year later by a two-row crossover. And there's apparently a third in the works, but its size hasn't been announced. Genesis has also talked about an EV with over 300 miles of range, a la Tesla.
By the time Genesis has a standalone dealership network in 2022 or thereafter — rather than using select Hyundai dealerships — it's likely to have three sedans and as many as three crossovers. The marque has the luxury of sharing deeply engineered platforms from corporate siblings Hyundai and Kia.
But it doesn't have the luxury of time given the market move to crossovers.
G70: The sedan, on a rear-wheel-drive platform with optional
all-wheel drive, has won a lot of accolades since hitting the market last year, including North American Car of the Year from automotive journalists. It has improved Genesis' paltry sales, which hit 11,593 through July, compared with just 7,877 in the same period last year. The G70 carries over for 2020 with a six-speed manual still available (for now). A freshening should arrive for the 2022 model year, or maybe sooner.
G80: A redesigned G80 is coming to the U.S. next year on a platform it will share with the GV80 crossover. Spy photos suggest the redesigned G80 will borrow styling cues from the Genesis Essentia coupe concept shown last year, particularly the bigger grille. The sedan has three gasoline-engine offerings. The second generation could have a hybrid option replace the V-8. It's also an opportunity for the brand to update its infotainment system, probably to bigger touch displays like those of its rivals. After the redesign, the next update would probably come for the 2023 model year.
G90: A freshened G90 is imminent in the U.S. after going on sale in South Korea. The updated version has a bigger diamond grille and horizontal bars through the headlights and on the rear in keeping with its horizontal design theme. Inside are higher quality leather and wood, and a carryover touch screen. Under the hood are two carryover engines. A redesign should come in about two years for the 2022 model year.