Indeed, the brand's 2020 sales would have been even worse were it not for the late-year arrival of the GV80 and the new-gen G80 that reached dealerships last month. Genesis said sales of the GV80 hit 1,459 in December, which nearly matched the volume of the three sedans combined. The redesigned G80 notched 613 sales last month, the brand said, compared with just 55 in November as inventory fell to near zero.
Lanzavecchia, who is also co-owner of Burns Hyundai and Burns Buick-GMC, said Del Rosso's estimate for 2021 Genesis sales might be conservative.
"I think there is upside to that number, and here's why: We'll have a partial year of GV70 on top of the GV80 sales momentum, and we'll have a full year of the new G80 sedan rather than just a few weeks in 2020," he said in an interview last week. "I think there are many retailers that are goal setting to triple their Genesis sales in 2021."
Indeed, with Genesis dealers still operating out of Hyundai stores until standalone dealerships are built, juggling the expected volume gains for both brands could be complicated. Hyundai has a new electric crossover coming this year as part of its new Ioniq subbrand, along with the new Santa Cruz compact pickup.
"Quite frankly, it makes it challenging for the retailer," Lanzavecchia said. "Right now, we're finding so much interest and demand for both the G80 sedan and the GV80, it's stretching the capacity of many Genesis retailers who were just scaling up their exclusive Genesis staffing. It's a great problem to have."
And some good came from the challenge of the coronavirus sales experience, Del Rosso and Lanzavecchia agree.
Genesis was already fully engaged in valet maintenance service, with pickup and drop-off being used by 85 percent of its buyers. Dealers extended that concept to their sales process and learned lessons from it to address customers' demand for at-home services.
Lanzavecchia also gives Genesis credit for suspending its Keystone facility program for six months. The New Jersey dealer supports the program and is building a standalone store.
But the program remains controversial. Some dealers say that tying incentives compensation to store upgrades, especially given the brand's low volume, is coercive. The focus should remain on digital retailing, they say.
The new product wave is less divisive.
The redesigned G80 sedan and the new GV80 crossover were finalists for the 2021 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards. The compact G70 won the car award in 2019. The G90 large sedan, before its freshening a year ago, was a finalist in 2017. The acclaim includes every Genesis product so far.