The new Genesis by Hyundai is about to change the way you buy luxury cars

Been for a punt in the high roller's room at Star Casino recently? Or bought an upmarket handbag?

Then you may have met someone keen to sell you your next luxury car, an aspirational but virtually unheard-of brand created by Hyundai.

Rather than poach from the pool of seasoned car dealers, newcomer Genesis is looking to the broaden luxury sphere, intent on finding people who can spread the luxury message rather than crunch a deal or thrust a contract under someone's nose.

Speaking ahead of the brand's delayed (again) Australian launch, Genesis general manager Peter Evans wants to do things differently from the established players in carving out a corner of the tightly held luxury car market.

Style studio

It starts with the dealerships, although dealership is a dirty word, with the brand referring to the architect-designed stores as a Genesis Studio.

The first Studio will be situated on Sydney's fashionable Pitt Street Mall in a space formerly occupied by Billabong and Oroton, with fashion the focus in that part of town.

Far from the discount deals of a Hyundai dealership, the boutique Genesis store has instead been inspired by the Apple Store, coincidentally around the corner.

Lessons and learning

Evans plans to "pocket the learnings" from recent automotive luxury newcomers, including Tesla, Infiniti and Lexus.

"Our real inspiration was more about Apple Stores."

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The two-storey space required a giant hole to be drilled between the first and second floors.

And the power to one of Sydney's busiest buildings had to be temporarily disconnected to allow the building to be rewired for the enormous LED screen that flows between floors.

Within months there will be a Studio each for the Brisbane and Melbourne CBDs.

No hard sell

While selling cars is, ultimately, the name of the game, Evans says expectations are modest – and there are no firm numbers to hit.

"We have very modest ambitions in 2019 and they don't include hard and fast sales targets."

For a business known for commissions, the model will be very different.

"Our staff will be recognised and rewarded on customer satisfaction and customer experience not on sales figures," he says. "We've got an eclectic mix of staff … all with outstanding customer service experience."

Genesis has employed an army of outside talent to ensure the environment, people and approach is suited to the target market – and location.

"We've got etiquette trainers, we've got clothing consultants … we're trying to hone the experience so when we come to market it'll be the most painless, frictionless, seamless process possible."

Evans says the old way of selling cars "has hair on it" and that "the challenge is to find new and better ways to engage with the customer."

Starting small

The Genesis model range will be tiny compared with luxury competitors, initially limited to the G70 and G80 sedans.

Each is rear-wheel drive, typically reserved for luxury and performance cars – but each is also playing in a shrinking market segment, with the luxury market following the overall trend towards SUVs.

Genesis has promised at least two SUVs over the next few years.

Evans is proud that each car is unique – as are planned future models – taking a swipe at rivals in the process.

"We don't have to sell a front-wheel drive car based on a mass market product offering," he says.

Name game

The car interested may recognise the Genesis badge. It has been used since 2014 on Hyundai's flagship sedan.

It failed to make much impact on the luxury space, except in the hire car market – where many drivers were drawn to its spacious interior, class-leading warranty and value.

It will be an updated version of that car that will drop the Hyundai badge and instead be known as a Genesis G80.

But it's the G70 that is more interesting offering, going head to head with luxury big hitters such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series.

As well as a four-cylinder turbo, it will be offered with a twin-turbo V6 likely to give it a bang-for-buck advantage over its German competition.

Backing up

Genesis is also set to highlight the sub-standard warranties of luxury brands.

Whereas all but one of the top 11 selling mainstream brands now offers five years of warranty protection or more, most luxury brands – including all the German ones – offer just three years. Lexus bucks the trend, with a four-year warranty.

While Genesis isn't saying what warranty it will offer, it's expected to equal or better the five years, unlimited kilometre coverage of parent company Hyundai.

So, class leading then – and shaping up to be one early advantage for the brand.

Let the luxury games begin.

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