Luxury brand leaning on value to weather cost of living crisis

Genesis says value for money will help it weather an economic downturn, but the fledgling brand is still trying to get the word out that it exists.

“I think the economic downturn has definitely had an impact on the market, but for Genesis, there’s still a huge opportunity to grow as a brand,” said Justin Douglass, who became the boss of Genesis Motors Australia earlier this year.

“Cars are still going to be sold during that economic downturn. And it’s just for us, I see that as an opportunity rather as a threat. So we’ve still got a big opportunity to grow as a brand once people become aware that we’re here.”

Rather than calling out low prices – the cost of entry to the Genesis range has actually increased for 2024 – the brand points to its after-sales package as a key part of its value for money pitch.

“There is that lack of awareness that that we have in market, that when we talk about value, and if you look at the way that our cars are positioned, and obviously what comes with that, the five years scheduled servicing and so on,” said Mr Douglass.

“I think, we offer an outstanding value, so in [tough economic] times as well that value can really shine through.

“It’s just making sure that the the market is aware of the fact that we obviously exist and that we have those type of offerings.”

In addition to a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty – something that has gradually been adopted by most other luxury brands – Genesis offers five years of complimentary scheduled servicing.

The brand also offers a service where owners within 70km of Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne’s CBDs can have a valet pick up their car for a servicing appointment, leaving them with a courtesy Genesis.

While Genesis touts the value for money inherent in its after-sales package, it also boasts its customers are enthusiastic about speccing out their vehicles.

Instead of offering myriad packages and standalone options as some European brands do, it bundles a large number of options in a Luxury Package. This costs a minimum of $11,500.

Looking at sales of its combustion-powered vehicles in 2023, a total of 73 per cent of GV70 customers went for the Luxury Package, along with 78 per cent of G80 buyers and a whopping 95 per cent of GV80 buyers.

For 2024, Genesis pruned the G70 range to just two variants, both with the Luxury Package as standard.

This saw the base price for the range climb by $18,000, and the point of entry into the Genesis range climb from $63,000 to $70,500 before on-roads.

The brand also notes buyers of most Genesis models typically gravitate towards the more expensive engines. In 2023, 37 per cent of GV80 buyers went for the flagship twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 and 41 per cent for the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel six, while 62 per cent of petrol G80 buyers went for the 3.5-litre.

Electric vehicles (EVs) account for about 15 per cent of the brand’s total sales, a level the brand says it’s satisfied with at the moment. It currently offers electric versions of the GV70 and G80, plus the electric-only GV60 crossover.

Last year, Genesis sales grew by 84.4 per cent to 1916 sales. The brand sold 280 EVs.

Genesis Motors Australia’s new boss comes from a three-year stint as the general manager of sales operations for Hyundai Motor Company Australia. Prior to that, he worked in sales and marketing for other brands like Skoda and Volvo.

While he says it’s early days, having only just stepped into the role, he currently has no plans to change the way Genesis sells its vehicles or to dramatically expand its retail network.

The brand has seven locations nationwide, which it owns and runs. Vehicles are sold at these locations with fixed prices.

“I think in the short-term, our immediate focus now is just making sure that we continue to develop those that we have,” he said of the retail network.

Genesis currently has flagship ‘studios’ in Sydney and Melbourne, located in areas with high pedestrian traffic, and has what it calls ‘showcases’ – more closely resembling traditional dealerships – in Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Queensland, plus Prahran in Victoria.

These showcases are effectively renovated ‘test drive centres’, as they used to be known. The company still has test drive centres in Parramatta, New South Wales and Perth, Western Australia, with the latter set to be refreshed.

Genesis is building a new site in Concord, New South Wales.

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