16 March 2022
Author: Martyn Collins
2021 was the year Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury car brand, launched in the UK. With a new director and regional operations manager, Andrew Pilkington, in charge, Martyn Collins talks to him about fleet plans and aspirations for the Korean manufacturer.
Business Car asked Andrew Pilkington, Genesis’s director and regional operations manager, why the brand had been launched in the UK and what the differences are between them and other premium brands?
Pilkington said: “Apart from China and the UK, Genesis has launched in every other region. Even though we’re not through the pandemic, it was a case of saying how long do we postpone for? So, the decision was taken to launch the brand last summer, with sales starting in September.
“We’ve also developed the Genesis Difference, so selling direct to the consumer – as we don’t have dealerships. We have a ‘Studio’ in London, and we will have further ‘Studios’ rolling out over time, where people can have a brand experience. People who visit these studios are not met by a salesperson.
“If we unpick the Genesis Difference, there are five key elements. One is the Genesis Personal Assistant or GPA, there to help the customer understand the brand – and not to outright sell a car. They get commission to sell a car, but they come from a service hospitality background, because we believe that the customer has not been served as they should be by the traditional route to market.
“The second element, in relation to that, is that research shows that customers don’t like to haggle over pricing. So, we have transparent pricing – the price you see is the price you pay. There is no discounting, we feel we have very competitive list pricing. Our GPAs can focus on building trust, because one of the biggest issues we’ve seen through customer research is lack of trust in dealerships.
“The third element is you get five-years servicing included, plus collection and delivery, a free Genesis courtesy car. We also, deliver the car to your home on handover.
“The fourth element is that we come to you. You can go to a Studio for a test drive, but we can come to you. We deliver the car to you via covered transporter and the GPA is there to hand the key over. For servicing we do exactly the same in reverse. We think this gives a real luxury experience.
“The fifth element is we have free over-the-air updates for five-years, and those are included in the price of the vehicle.
“It’s very different and we don’t even call it a selling concept. It is putting the emphasis on helping the customer to buy.”
Pilkington is keen to promise the same for a corporate Genesis customer. “For us, the transaction or the buying of the vehicle is all done online. It is all about the customer’s time and putting them at the centre of it. It happens where the customer wishes it to happen – including the financing.
“There’s no difference whatsoever between a company car driver and what we would know as a retail customer. They’re just choosing a different method of payment – that’s all. Why should the corporate user chooser customer have a worse experience?
“If you know that our GPAs are not getting paid to sell a car, and are genuinely interested in you, there’s no recrimination if you decide to not buy.
“If a GPA cannot amend price, their emphasis is that they understand you as a potential customer and make sure you get what you want out of that meeting. For example, a test drive can be as long as you want. Typically, it’s an hour. We have a separate fleet for corporate bookings, as we recognise the needs of corporate clients are different, but we still need to make sure that a company driver feels special and are treated like a retail customer – not a second-class customer.”
Pilkington believes there’s lots of choice of EV models at lower price points, but there’s less choice at middle management and above, which could be a real opportunity for Genesis. “We’ve already announced the GV60 and electric versions of the GV70 and G80, so we’ve got EV models coming for middle and senior management, that will be attractive for them.
“The GV60 will be built on the same GMP platform as the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, but it is retuned and when you get to drive it – it will be a true Genesis model and not just rebadged.
“We’re not doing plug-in models; we shall move directly from ICE to EV. From 2025 all new cars from us will be EV. We will not be selling as many ICE powered cars, because we know we’re transitioning away from them. In 2021, we launched the brand and The Genesis Difference; this year we’ve got the EV strategy, and for me that’s the exciting bit. I believe Genesis, will be the most progressive EV premium luxury car brand in the UK – that’s my aspiration. That’s where we want to be.”
“We’re not in the UK to push cars to market, the first thing to suffer when you do that is the residual values. Our residual values are comparable with our competitor set and we want to maintain that.”
More good news is that the brand doesn’t appear to be affected by the current semiconductor crisis. “We have two concepts in terms of stock. One is ‘Built to Order’ where customers choose a bespoke car and it takes four to five-months, sometimes quicker. However, we have some pre-specced, pre-ordered cars, so you could order a GV80, G80, GV70 and G70 today and get that car within two-weeks – 50% of our current orders are Built to Order.”
Pilkington is first to admit that their lack of an EV will influence their current corporate sales aspirations. “We know company car drivers will want to come to Genesis, but perhaps not consider us in the first instance. Current demand is limited to user choosers, or people who have opted out of the company car system. When we have the electric offering, they will come to us. I believe in the next two-years, we will not have enough cars to satisfy demand for EVs because we’re helped by the price points and Benefit-in-Kind.”