New luxury car brand to break the mould
HYUNDAI'S luxury offshoot Genesis has revealed plans for a lavish new retail store in Sydney's Pitt St Mall as it looks to shake up the established premium players.
The marquee showroom, the first wholly-owned store in the world for Genesis, will open in March next year, after a frustrating gestation period for the brand in Australia. Melbourne and Brisbane stores are scheduled to open later in the year.
The Genesis store marks a change in direction for luxury car marketing and sales in Australia, as the traditional big players all sell through franchised dealers.
The unconventional approach could extend to after-sales service, as the brand is exploring the possibility of engaging independent operators such as Ultra Tune and Kmart Auto to service its cars.
Genesis Australia boss Peter Evans, who was appointed back in 2016, says that while the new building will be the centrepiece for the brand, its point of difference will be the customer experience.
Part of that experience will be a valet pick-up and drop-off option for customers having their car serviced.
"There will be a Genesis service bay, uniforms and staff but not a dealership. It will be part of existing facilities, we are looking more at chain service centres whether it is a Hyundai dealer, Ultra Tune or Kmart service centre."
Evans says customer service will be a key focus of the new business.
"It used to be product was the differentiator - and it is still important - but everyone has the latest safety tech," says Evans. "So styling and customer experiences are the point of difference."
To achieve this, Genesis is bringing in staff from outside the car industry.
"Other than the store manager no one else has worked in car sales. And we see that as a good thing. You can teach people to sell cars, you can't teach people to be good with people."
Genesis staff will have six weeks training, well above the industry standard.
"We've got etiquette coaches, language coaches, corporate apparel people, we've got product trainers who've had experience with Lexus and Mercedes."
Staff will receive bonuses based on customer satisfaction scores rather than sales targets.
Two Genesis models will be available initially. The G70 is a BMW 3-Series/Mercedes-Benz C-Class rival and the G80 is a larger sedan. SUVs will follow in 2020 and 2021.
G70 models have already landed in Australia, and the brand initially planned to have a media launch and drive this month, but delays in construction of the Sydney site have pushed the timetable out.
The double-storey Pitt Street Mall store will be decked out with polished concrete, wooden floors and a cafe along with a spiral staircase wrapped in LED screens covering 200 square metres.
The brand had planned to launch through existing Hyundai dealerships but decided to go it alone because initial sales volumes couldn't justify the expense to the dealer of setting up a standalone Genesis dealership.