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How Is It Possible That Genesis Still Doesn’t Have an SUV?

Way back in September 2017, our man Doug DeMuro correctly stated that Genesis, Hyundai’s relatively new luxury brand, should have led with an SUV. SUVs have been all anybody wants in luxury vehicles for the last several years, yet Hyundai decided to start off its luxury brand with a pair of sedans, the G80 and the G90.

That was two years ago that Doug noted the lack of crossovers in the new luxury brand’s lineup. Now here we are in 2019 and not only does Genesis still not have any SUVs, but there aren’t any scheduled for release in the near future, either. The only model that has been added since the original two cars that launched the brand is the G70, which is universally loved and easily made Autotrader’s own 12 Best New Cars of 2019 list.

There’s just one problem with the G70: it’s not a crossover. It’s surprising that any luxury brand at all doesn’t offer a single SUV in the U.S. — and it’s even more surprising coming from Hyundai’s luxury brand. The Hyundai and Kia brands have been thriving by shifting their focus from their usual bread and butter small cars toward a greater emphasis on SUVs and crossovers. Just this year, Hyundai and Kia added the Palisade and the Telluride 3-row crossovers to their respective lineups. There’s the recently updated and ever-popular Kia Soul and the fairly new Kia Niro crossover available as a hybrid, PHEV or EV. There’s also the Hyundai Kona and the upcoming Hyundai Venue competing in the tiny SUV segment.

So Hyundai knows darn well that SUVs are where the market seems to be — making it all the more mysterious that it hasn’t given any to Genesis. I’m not suggesting they take the Soul or the Sante Fe and just give it a Genesis face and a nice interior and call it a day, but you just can’t have a luxury brand these days without any crossovers. Remember when Genesis showed off the GV80 SUV concept? That was at the New York Auto show in 2017. It’s been two years since we’ve seen a Genesis SUV concept, so where the heck is the production model? Granted, it had a weird hybrid powertrain that apparently ran on both battery electric power and hydrogen fuel cell power, but that’s not the point. The point is that Genesis had an SUV concept more than two years ago and still no SUV in its showrooms.

The optimistic part of me wants to think that maybe the fact that Genesis still exists despite not having any SUVs is a sign that people are still interested in luxury sedans. However, Genesis’ sales numbers are pretty abysmal. The brand’s best year was 2017, in which it sold a little over 20,000 vehicles — and it sold half that many in 2018. So far, 2019 is going about as well as 2018 did in terms of sales numbers. For reference, Lexus has been selling more than 100,000 RX models per year every year since 2013. More people bought a Lexus RX in March 2019 than bought a Genesis in all of 2018.

I’m sure Genesis will have a crossover someday. When that day does come, it’s going to be the brand’s best-selling model — and whichever sedan is in second place won’t even be close. But to have a parent company that’s gotten pretty darn good at building and selling crossovers, the fact that Genesis still doesn’t have one in its fourth year is downright weird and must be very frustrating for dealers. Find a Genesis for sale

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I think they are in the conundrum that companies like Acura and Lexus were in when they launched. Do they hold back and get truly unique-platformed cars out or do they rebadge-refit the lesser brand models as luxury cars to just try and get sales at first and build to the exclusive models? They should’ve developed the G70 platform as a CUV at the same time as the sedan, but sounds like they didn’t or held off a year to spread releases out. 

    They should’ve released the G70 with an infotainment system that wasn’t pulled directly from a Hyundai Kona. 
  2. I think that not having a crossover for the first few years could be a smart move. Crossovers are a trend, and like all trends, they will die. If they launched with a crossover, people would associate Genesis with crossovers. And when the crossover is recognised as uncool by non-enthusiasts, Genesis would be seen as uncool, even if they offer other vehicles. 
    A bit like how Volvo is associated with wagons, and how Volvo wasn’t considered cool for a long time after wagons fell out of fashion. 
    By making excellent cars like the G70, which is everything the new BMW 3 Series should have been, Genesis builds a reputation for making great cars. It may not sell as well as a crossover, but greatness never falls out of style.
  3. Agreed, it’s not like they don’t have a ton of internal Kia/Hyundai options to build from.  I’m getting a Telluride press loaner in a few weeks, I’m pretty excited.  Which is rare for an SUV.

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Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More

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