— It's no secret Hyundai wants to sell its Genesis brand at standalone dealerships, not the one-off showrooms at Hyundai dealers that currently peddle the burgeoning luxury division. The path there became a bit clearer this week: Citing Brian Smith, Hyundai's incoming chief operating officer, Automotive News reports that the automaker plans to open 85 to 90 standalone dealerships for Genesis sometime in 2018.
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That's far less than the 343 Hyundai dealers that sell all Genesis products. It's unclear if the current setup will persist in some areas while standalone Genesis facilities serve others, but if the brand eventually consolidates to such a footprint, it could make a long drive for some shoppers. Eighty-five or 90 dealerships nationwide is tiny even by luxury standards, well behind the likes of small luxury brands like Alfa Romeo (which has 155 U.S. dealerships, per AN's latest dealer census), Jaguar (163) and Porsche (188).
According to the newspaper, Smith said he'd like to have at least some standalone facilities ready for the new G70 sports sedan. The G70, Genesis' third model, will slot below the mid-luxury G80 and flagship G90 when it hits dealers around March. The dealer count could stay there or expand "beyond that," Smith was quoted as saying.
Genesis plans to add a sports coupe and two SUVs down the line. Such products could expand its reach to compete in most luxury segments with the likes of Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz — brands that boast hundreds of dealerships (from Lexus' 237 to Cadillac's 923, per AN).
Will Genesis eventually scale out? It's hard to say. Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the brand, told us Genesis will announce plans to existing dealers in the coming days and weeks. He declined comment beyond that.
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