DETROIT, Michigan — Hyundai’s three-year-old luxury brand, Genesis, will manufacture the Essentia mid-motor battery-electric super coupe in small numbers early in the next decade in an effort to build the new marque’s credentials with luxury car buyers. While this is not unexpected news, it’s the first full confirmation that the Genesis Essentia is headed for production.
“We are very committed to the Essentia,” said Erwin Raphael, Genesis Motor America’s executive director. “The media and the public went crazy” over the Essentia EV’s debut last spring at the 2018 New York International Auto Show.
Asked whether Genesis can produce the sports car as shown without watering down the well-received styling, Raphael said the car “speaks to our aggressive design language.
“We think the car will do well,” he continued, speaking at a briefing for Detroit-based reporters, on the new G70 sedan. “It will be very limited edition, and would be priced higher than anything we’ve got now.”
The 2019 Genesis G70, which this fall enters the segment led by the BMW 3 and 4 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, is the third sedan in the marque’s lineup, following the full-size (Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series) G90 flagship and the mid-size (E-Class/5 Series) G80. Genesis has promised three sedans, two crossover sport/utilities, and one sport coupe by 2021.
Genesis has not determined whether the electric Essentia will fill that sport coupe slot, or whether there will be a conventional internal combustion-powered mainstream coupe in addition to the EV, Raphael said. The first of the two XUVs will be ready for the market early in 2020.
The luxury marque also will soon be making a transition to standalone dealerships, as the product lineup grows. The plans are to make the transition from about 750 Hyundai dealerships that currently sell Genesis models, to about 400 standalone Genesis dealerships. Genesis customers can choose a valet service car pickup and delivery that allows them to avoid the Hyundai showrooms. Valet service will continue with the separated showrooms and service facilities. Raphael also expects the number of Genesis dealerships in the U.S. to adjust to fewer than 400, ultimately.
Sales of Genesis G80s and G90s have been down in recent months, though no new cars have been delivered to dealerships since last March, as the marque prepares for the dealership changes and addition of the G70 to the lineup. Demand for Genesis vehicles continues to outstrip supply, Raphael said.