Genesis Motors is a part of the Hyundai Motor Group. They are based out of South Korea and focus solely on luxury vehicles. Initially, the company released the Hyundai Genesis as a luxury sedan in 2008. It wasn’t until 2015 that Hyundai announced the plans to allow Genesis to become its own standalone marque. Then, in 2017, the vehicles were rebranded to reflect the change.
The brand expanded from one vehicle to three: the Genesis G70, G80, and G90. There are plans to manufacturer a luxury crossover and electric car in the future.
A Brief History
The original Hyundai Genesis was released in 2008 as an executive five-passenger luxury sedan. This rear-wheel-drive vehicle was produced and marketed through the Hyundai Company and made it to its second generation.
Originally, it was just a concept vehicle unveiled during the New York International Auto Show of 2007. Starting in 2008, Hyundai marketed the car worldwide as their newest premium sports sedan.
The second generation was released in 2013 and also marketed worldwide. In 2015, Hyundai announced that the Genesis brand would become Genesis Motors, their new luxury brand of vehicles. This decision was made because of the luxury market success and the consumer reaction to the name “Genesis.”
In 2003, Hyundai designed the Concept Genesis and later introduced it to the world in 2007. It took them three years to finish the body design at a price of $500 million. They also ran reliability testing for 800,000 miles.
During development, it’s said that Hyundai benchmarked the BMW 5 Series. In fact, their initial press release indicated that the body of the Genesis exceeds torsional rigidity of the BMW by 14%. It also received a five-star crash rating in every single category from the NHTSA.
The company themselves has said their vehicle offers, “the performance of a BMW 5-Series and the interior packaging of a 7-Series at the price of a 3-Series.”
The original Genesis wasn’t marketed in Europe but did manage to make it worldwide other than that. Standard equipment included four-wheel disc brakes, speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering, and multi-link front with five-link rear suspension. There were three engine choices in the original design: V8 with 53% front/47% rear weight distribution, or two V6 options with 52% front/48% rear weight distribution.
Other standard features in the United States included dual-zone automatic air conditioning, leather steering wheel and seat upholstery, automatic headlights, cruise control, power windows, power heated front seats, power mirrors, power door locks, a seven-speaker audio system, XM satellite radio, plus remote keyless entry and start. There were also two options for Lexicon audio systems with either 14 or 17-speaker choices.
Hyundai’s first V8 engine was the Tau. This 4.6-liter motor produced 375 horsepower. Since the 2010 upgrades, the engine now produces 385 horsepower while running on premium fuel. When running on regular fuel, that number drops to 378 horsepower. The V8 model also achieved a 0-60 mph time of under 6 seconds, but Car and Driver clocked it at 5.3 seconds.
Their Lambda 3.8-liter V6 motor produces 306 horsepower for Korea and 290 horsepower for the United States. Motor Trend estimated the 0-60 mph time of this motor at 5.9 seconds. Some markets also offer the Lambda 3.3-liter V6, but it only produces 264 horsepower.
North American V8 models were paired with a ZF 6HP26 six-speed automatic transmission. It was from ZF Friedrichshafen, which is the same unit found in a late 2000s BMW 5 Series. All V6 models, on the other hand, were paired with an Aisin B600 six-speed automatic transmission.
Becoming its Own Brand
The company’s spokesperson for the United States, Chris Hosford, gave three reasons that Genesis was becoming its own automobile brand. The first was due to the success of the first seven years in the luxury car division. Their second reason was that the Genesis sedan continued to rank in the top three in its division. Finally, the last reason was due to the high customer demand for the brand.
In 2015, they announced the launch of their first model as a new brand, the G90. It became the flagship model for the brand. In late 2016, Genesis released both the G80 and G90 lineup. The initial Genesis dealers were merely a subset of already established Hyundai dealers, with a particular area set aside for the Genesis brand.
As of 2016, they sold over 87,000 vehicles, but more than 66,000 of them were in South Korea. That’s when they released the G70, the company’s third model.
Alternative Propulsion Methods
During the 2018 New York Auto Show, Genesis showcased the plans for an electric vehicle, the Essential Concept. This all-electric coupe is designed from a lightweight, carbon-fiber body and battery-powered engine. Genesis says the car will get to 60 mph in just three seconds.
There wasn’t much information revealed about the new vehicle, but it appeared to be a cross between a sports coupe and grand tourer. The concept also featured two butterfly doors that open silently with the use of fingerprint and facial recognition push-button controls. There’s also a transparent hood that comes to Formula 1-type nose plus air intakes on either side.
Inside the vehicle, there’s cognac-leather plus chevron quilting on the two seats plus an eight-inch display and slim center console. Genesis did plan to release the production model within a few years from the initial debut at the auto show.
Genesis Safety and Crash Ratings
According to the IIHS, both the 2018 Genesis G80 and G90 models were listed as Top Safety Pick+. That’s the highest rating to achieve from the safety industry standards. Both of these vehicles were also listed in the large luxury car segment.
In addition, the NHTSA tested four varieties of the Genesis G80 and gave all four models five stars for an overall rating. On top of that, they also scored five stars in a frontal crash, side crash, and rollover.
Genesis Safety Equipment
Many of the safety features for the Genesis brand come standard on vehicles. This includes the Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS), and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). Other standard features include Brake Assist (included with ESC), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) with Lane Keep Assist (LKA), and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection. Unlike many other brands, they also include Driver Attention Alert (DAA), an energy-absorbing steering column, front and rear crumple zones and 5-mph bumpers, plus hood buckling creases and safety stops.
Even more standard safety features include bodyside reinforcements, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with individual tire pressure indicator, Shift Interlock System, and a rearview camera with dynamic parking guidelines. On top of all that, there are nine airbags included in the vehicle. They include advanced dual front airbags, front and rear seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, and roof-mounted side-curtain airbags.
The only safety equipment that Genesis doesn’t offer standard on its vehicles are the front and rear parking sensors.
There isn’t much data as of yet regarding the recall rate for Genesis, mainly because of it being a newer brand. Wards Auto did list Hyundai at a higher rate, which did include the Genesis coupe for many years. In addition, Forbes ranked Hyundai at the highest rate of all the automakers they researched.
In 2014, Hyundai paid a $17-million fine for delaying a brake issue recall on Genesis-branded cars. It covered over 43,000 vehicles from model years 2009-2012. The brake system was susceptible to corrosion, making it more difficult to stop thereby leading to a crash.
There was another recall in 2018, but this time it only affected about 40 2018 G80 and G90 vehicles. The rear window and windshield might have been installed without the proper primer, reducing the overall bonding strength of the glass. This could’ve led to a detached rear window or windshield while driving, leading to a higher risk of a crash.
Consumer Satisfaction Reports & Dependability Ratings
Consumer Reports ranks the Genesis brand at the very top of the Owner-Satisfaction survey. They also gave the brand average reviews when it came to Predicted Reliability.
J.D. Power didn’t rank any of their vehicles in their Dependability Report, but only because it requires three years of data to establish the results. By 2019, it’s possible that they’ll start to include the brand. With that said, J.D. Power did award the Genesis brand with the highest ranking in the New-Vehicle Initial Quality study.
That is the same with the Consumer Reports ranking of The Cost of Car Ownership. Since it requires several years of data, it will be some time before they make the rankings.
In 2018 alone, the brand won numerous awards. Some of the most prestigious include:
- 1st place in J.D. Power’s U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study
- Highest Satisfaction Premium Brand in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA)
- iF Design award by the World Design Guide
- The G80 won best Premium Full-size car in ALG’s 2018 Residual Value Awards (RVA)
Snapshot of the Company
Genesis is based out of South Korea, but the United States headquarters are located in Fountain Valley, California. The executive vice president for the company is Manfred Fitzgerald. He is the former director of brand and design for Lamborghini.
Luc Donckerwolke heads up the design of the brand since 2015. Previously, he was the former design director for Volkswagen. In addition, Albert Biermann oversees the tuning and performance of the vehicles. He used to work as the head of BMW’s M performance division.
While production primarily occurs in South Korea and Mexico, they recently invested money to build another production plant in Montgomery, Alabama on the site of a current Hyundai plant. It might be open in the next few years.
In 2017, Genesis sold over 20,000 vehicles in the United States, which was a 12% increase over the previous year.
The automaker is part of the Hyundai Motor Group which is also based out of South Korea. They are the country’s largest automobile manufacturer and the third largest across the world, falling behind Toyota and Volkswagen.
The Hyundai Motor Group formed in 1998 with the purchase of Kia Motors. The Hyundai Motor Company also runs several other brands including the Hyundai Development Company Group, Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance, Hyundai Department Store Group, and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Hyundai designed the car’s logo separate from the beginning, although consumers were allowed to purchase a vehicle with the “H” instead if they desired. Surprisingly, 80% of customers chose the special Genesis branded logo instead.
Since they’ve become their own company, they no longer have the option to use a Hyundai logo. Instead, their emblem consists of the Genesis logotype set inside a black hexagonal shield that’s framed by a pair of wings.
In South Korea, the Genesis went on sale starting at the beginning of 2008. The home country’s customers weren’t happy at the price difference between their sales and the United States. At the time, it cost about $57,000 to own a Genesis in South Korea, but only about $32,000 in the U.S. The company reasoned that it was due to the increase in options for the South Korean market.
It was only recently that the brand’s vehicles launched in Europe. Initially, they didn’t want to sell in the region because Lexus failed to thrive and Hyundai has a poor image there.
As a way to build brand image in the United States, Genesis partnered with the PGA Tour Premier Los Angeles Event to be the primary sponsor. Called the Genesis Open, the event is held annually at the Riviera Country Club.
In 2018, they also announced a new five-year partnership with Hyeon Chung, the world-class tennis player. He became the brand’s first tennis ambassador.
Genesis Finance was established in 2016 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. They exist to provide ownership and leasing options to customers. On top of the standard lease and financing programs, they are also responsible for the different protection plans available on vehicles.
The Genesis Protection Plan Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) offers additional coverage options that add to the Genesis factory warranty. Genesis Protection Plan VSC delivers added value, by extending the factory warranty program, with coverage options up to 10 years or 120,000 miles.
They also offer a maintenance plan which covers all the scheduled maintenance laid out in the owner’s manual. All service is performed by a factory-trained technician and nationwide service is provided. It’s even a transferrable service for those who sell their vehicle.
There are several Damage Care protections as well. The Lease-End Protection covers any additional wear and tear at the end of the agreement. Tire & Wheel Protection offers peace of mind against road hazard. Dent & Ding Protection provides paintless dent repair when needed. There’s also available Windshield Repair Protection that covers damage from rocks and other road debris.
Customers can also take advantage of two Loss Protection programs: Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) and Key Replacement Protection. GAP covers the balance owed on a loan if the car is totaled and insurance doesn’t pay enough. Key Replacement Protection offers a zero deductible plan to replace the key fob if it becomes lost.
Currently, the vehicles are sold at only 100 U.S. dealers nationwide. In 2017, there was one dealership that won the Genesis Award for being the Largest Volume Genesis Dealer in the Country. That was Delray Hyundai of Delray, Florida.
As of now, there are no Genesis dealers listed on the J.D. Power Dealer of Excellence ranking, but that might change in the future as the brand becomes more well-known.
Dealerships now offer Genesis Service Valet. This allows customers never to walk into a service center. It’s complimentary for the first 3 years/36,000 miles. They perform remote diagnostic checks on the vehicle, pick it up when needed and offer a Courtesy Replacement. When the vehicle’s service is complete, they just return it back to the customer.
Ownership also includes Complimentary Scheduled Maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles. This also consists of complimentary oil changes during every normally scheduled maintenance appointment.
In addition, customers receive 3-year complimentary Roadside Assistance. This provides tire changes or transportation to the nearest Genesis dealership plus reimbursement for any overnight inconvenience.
4 Interesting Facts about Genesis
1 – The company offers unique ways of purchasing your vehicle. Hyundai Motors doesn’t require the Genesis dealerships to be a separate facility or even have a showroom. Instead, they happily deliver the cars to the customer. This includes test drives, maintenance, and service as well.
2 – Genesis uses former Bentley, Lamborghini, and Audi designers to create their automobiles.
3 – The company’s G80 ranked #2 in Best Luxury Midsize Cars from U.S. News & World Report. The fell just behind the BMW 5 Series with a score of 8.8.
4 – The Genesis G80 hopes to compete with the Mercedes E-Class, Lexus GS, BMW 5 Series, and Audi A6.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Makes the Genesis G80? Hyundai is the parent company of Genesis and much of the production occurs at Hyundai facilities worldwide.
Who Owns Genesis Cars? Hyundai released the first Genesis cars in 2008. Then, in 2017, they allowed the company to become its own marque under the Hyundai Motor Company.
Where is Genesis Made? There are plants in South Korea, Russia, and Mexico. There are further plans to create a Genesis plant in Montgomery, Alabama at the site of a current Hyundai plant.
Is Genesis a Good Car? So far, only a handful of studies have been done on the brand. However, they’ve ranked as Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. In addition, Consumer Reports ranks the automaker at the very top of the Owner-Satisfaction survey.
Does Genesis Make an SUV? The company has plans to release the Genesis GV80 SUV in 2019. By 2020, they hope to have two SUV models: an entry-level option and mid-size luxury SUV as well. The GV80 might perform and look a little like the Bentley Bentayga.