Luxury brand Genesis could take sales away from Jaguar Land Rover soon.
Last week Jaguar Land Rover formally announced its “Reimagine” strategy, its renaissance, rightsizing, repurposing, reorganising and rationalising. Its words, not mine. Meanwhile, Genesis is setting up shop around the globe with a new product onslaught.
Genesis hails from South Korea, and is the youngest, newest, most upmarket member of the Hyundai-Kia-Genesis clan. It designs, manufactures and sells globally. The products are handsome, refined, state-of-the-art SUVs and saloons – some
of them multi award-winners.
The firm is too polite to admit it, but Genesis’s aim is to lure some, not all, Land Rover customers. Sure, it knows and accepts that die-hard Defender buyers, for example, are unlikely to defect to Genesis. Badge-obsessed drivers of top-flight Range Rovers will need some convincing too. But those thinking of buying into – or out of – the Evoque, Discovery, Disco Sport or Velar are potentially there for the taking.
More of a target is Jaguar. It must have been music to the ears of Genesis executives last week when they heard incoming JLR CEO Thierry Bollore say that he is effectively killing off the electric XJ, as well as placing question marks over the future of other Jag sedans. The Koreans are big on – and committed to – luxury saloons, and will very happily step in.
Back in 2013 before the firm had a proper car to sell, I visited the Genesis World HQ in the achingly trendy, scarily expensive Gangnam district of Seoul. There, the ambitious top brass were so new to the game they were as keen to hear from me as I was from them how they could possibly come from nowhere to take on and beat the likes of Jag, BMW and Lexus. In that same year I wrote about “establishing Genesis as an upmarket sub-brand, which could sell cars from classy, standalone showrooms” here in Blighty. And my understanding eight years later is that such a dedicated network is now only months away. Just as Lexus outlets are separate from Toyota showrooms, newer and more prestigious Genesis dealerships will be distanced from Hyundai or Kia premises.
Not that Genesis customers (or “connoisseurs” as the company often calls them) will be people who want to return to the workshop often. Thanks to a complimentary service valet and remote diagnostic checks, “you may never set foot in our service centres” is the tempting offer in other parts of the world. Let’s hope buyers here are offered the same.
As a consumer, you should start getting ready for the imminent arrival in the UK of good-looking, tech-laden, high-quality Genesis models such as the GV70, GV80, G70, G80 and G90, plus the Mint concept. Jaguar board members, employees and dealers should be at best bothered, at worst worried. Hyundai is good, Kia even better, but Genesis is in a far superior league. It’s this recently born Korean brand that might seriously disrupt Jaguar’s self-proclaimed plans for a period of “renaissance” and “reimagination”.