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Genesis to open 1st standalone store this year

Nov 11,2017
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Left: Hyundai Motor’s standalone premium brand Genesis will open its first independent retail channel on Yeongdong-dareo in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul in the next few month. Right: A Genesis G70 is on display. [JIN EUN-SOO]
Genesis is speeding up its separation from Hyundai Motor with its first ever independent retail channel opening in Korea in the next few months. The move comes as Genesis struggles to distance itself from Hyundai Motor’s reputation for value.

Genesis, a premium brand that spun off from Hyundai Motor in 2015, is establishing a separate retail store on Yeongdong-daero in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, in an attempt to further distance itself from Hyundai Motor’s global reputation for low-price, high-value vehicles.

“Construction will be completed within this month and the store will open by the end of next month,” said a Hyundai Motor official on Friday.

“The store will be directly managed by the company through a commissioned agency, but it will not be managed in the format of a dealership,” the official added.

Yeongdong-daero in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, is home to a number of premium import vehicle brands. The new Genesis store stands right in front of a Porsche dealership. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus also have dealerships nearby. Further down the road there are showrooms for Lamborghini and Tesla.

“We are going head-to-head with imported premium vehicles,” the official explained.

When the Korea JoongAng Daily visited the store on Friday, the exterior was completed and some Genesis vehicles were already on display.

The soon-to-open store will only focus on selling Genesis vehicles, unlike its experience center located inside Starfield Hanam in Gyeonggi, which concentrates on the brand rather than the vehicles.

Employees from Hyundai Motor dealerships that are directly operated by the company will take turns selling cars at the new Genesis store.

Whether Hyundai Motor will hire separate dealers for the Genesis store in the future is “not yet decided,” according to the official.

“Hyundai Motor is going for the complete separation of Genesis in the long term. How we will manage the workforce will happen in the latter part of the process so we are not sure about that yet,” the official added.

Since the brand’s separation from Hyundai Motor in 2015, Genesis vehicles have been sold alongside Hyundai Motor cars inside Hyundai Motor dealerships.

There are currently some 800 Hyundai Motor dealerships across the country, half of which are operated directly by the company.

The move for independence will soon begin in the U.S. market as well.

According to Automotive News, Erwin Raphael, Genesis’ U.S. head, expects the brand to start spinning off a retail arm this year, finishing in 2020.

Industry insiders say the separated retail channel will help fortify Genesis as a premium brand.

“Although Genesis design and quality don’t fall short of other German luxury car brands, its affiliation to Hyundai Motor, has been impacting its brand image,” said one source working at a marketing team for a domestic car company.

“If its retail channel separates from Hyundai Motor, it will certainly have a positive effect on luring in more customers who are willing to pay a lot of money for cars,” the insider added.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]