That Third Genesis Luxury SUV That’s Coming? It’s Fully Electric

Genesis, the fledgling luxury brand of the Hyundai Motor Group that launched in 2015, will have a lineup of vehicles closer to what is trending in the automotive world, with plans to add three crossovers in the next two years—one of them a pure electric vehicle. That’s good news, because Genesis’s portfolio so far consists only of sedans: the G70 which was the 2019 MotorTrend Car of the Year, the G80, and the recently updated G90. A car-only lineup in an SUV-crazy world has hindered the brand’s growth.

Genesis only just unveiled its first SUV in the midsize GV80; it’s the first vehicle on a new dedicated rear-wheel-drive platform known as M3 and which will soon also slot under the next-generation G80. The current G80 was launched in 2016. Will there be a sport model of the GV80 in the future? Albert Biermann, the R&D head brought to the Hyundai Group initially to focus on performance, says he would love to see one, but is not in a hurry for that. Biermann is also a proponent of fuel-cell vehicles—the GV80 concept had a fuel cell—and Genesis is expected to launch a FCV at some point.

Also coming this year is the smaller GV70 compact crossover that shares a separate rear-drive platform with the G70 sport sedan; that model was introduced in 2017. Genesis has said it will have three crossovers, and MotorTrend confirmed this week that the third SUV will be an electric vehicle, likely midsize, on a new electric platform. It is coming next year, said William Lee, the global head of the Genesis brand.




















Executives say they are also looking at whether the brand should get into the full-size SUV space—with, say, a GV90 to take on the Mercedes GLS and BMW X7—but that decision has not yet been made. Lee said the GV80 is the current flagship for Genesis and will be used to gauge the market for a larger SUV. It went on sale this week in Korea, where 1,500 were sold in the first day, a number large enough to surprise even those at the company. It will go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of the year, so expect it likely in the fall.

Luc Donckerwolke, Hyundai Motor’s chief design officer, said while the three SUVs share DNA, they each have their own character and will not be clones—the better to court different consumers. So, the GV70 won’t be a scaled-down GV80, and will instead be completely different and feature its own form language, he told us.

It is a strategy the Hyundai Group is now employing with all its brands: a conscious effort to better differentiate vehicles within the lineup but use signature design cues that make them instantly recognizable as a Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis. The larger-volume brands need more differentiation, Donckerwolke says, while the low-volume Genesis brand needs more consistency without creating repetition as it builds its identity in the marketplace.

Genesis executives stated previously the lineup would have six vehicles by 2021. Initially the plan was for three sedans, two crossovers, and a coupe. Since that plan was conceived, Genesis has seen leadership changes and market tastes evolve. The new lineup plan is an even split of traditional sedans and crossovers.




































That means the coupe is on the back burner for now. Genesis showed the Essentia electric two-door concept with butterfly doors at the 2018 New York auto show, and Donckerwolke was hopeful it would go into production. Donckerwolke was since promoted, with SangYup Lee taking over as head of Genesis design; he says work continues on the Essentia but the business case is tricky. William Lee also confirmed the coupe has not been approved for production as the automaker is still assessing if there is a market for it.

Of course, volume sales of the new SUVs would generate capital that makes future niche and halo products like the Essentia more feasible. William Lee expects the GV80 to become the best seller until the smaller GV70 arrives to potentially dethrone its bigger brother.
























































































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