Genesis keen to boost brand and launches search for more dealers to add to fledgling network

  • Genesis bosses say they want up to 20 dealers on their books
  • First wave of six dealers are now operational
  • Genesis is now part of Hyundai UK as merger is complete

Time 9:00 am, February 22, 2024

Genesis has drawn up plans to more than triple its dealer network in the UK, as bosses admit launching the brand has been ‘challenging’.

The South Korean premium brand arrived in the UK in summer 2021 as a standalone operation, separate from parent company Hyundai.

It launched with a pure focus on an online car sales model, backed up by experiential ‘Studios’ in retail spaces.

However, that changed in March 2023 as the brand announced it would create a dealer network in the UK operating under an agency agreement.

At the time, Genesis Europe managing director Lawrence Hamilton denied the company was making a U-turn on its original plan and insisted the move was to ‘improve’ its business model and level of service to customers.

Last July, Genesis formally announced the dealers it had partnered with. They comprised Arnold Clark, Ancaster Group, Hendy Group, Holdcroft Group, Pendragon, Richmond Motor Group and Sinclair Group.

It was confirmed these dealers would open showrooms supporting sales and service operations, and would become operational in February 2024.

Since then, Hyundai UK has moved to take more control of Genesis by combining it within its business – as revealed first by Car Dealer – to ‘maximise business efficiencies and synergies’, and Genesis has paused its partnership with Hendy Group, stipulating the south coast-based dealer group is not on board yet.

Genesis has now confirmed to Car Dealer it is ramping up its plans for its six-strong dealer network and is on the hunt for more retail partners.

‘We want between 15 and 20 retail partners and have 15 to 16 strategic locations identified across the UK,’ Genesis UK’s recently appointed new brand director, Jonny Miller, told Car Dealer.

‘We’re not going to just put any dealer into those locations – we have to get the right people to work with us. Ultimately, these will be dealer groups that are known entities to us, we know how they operate and we know that they can deliver what we need them to deliver.

‘We need to be able to push them, train them and work with them, to deliver that Genesis difference, grow awareness of the brand in their locality, and ultimately sell more cars.

‘We want to get to the point where we cover 90% of the UK populace and where customers are within a hour’s drive of one of our facilities.’

He continued: ‘We know that in the UK there is a huge opportunity for Genesis – we’ve got an award-winning product and we have established the “Genesis difference”. Now we need to enforce that and develop.’

Dealers with an existing Hyundai franchise are in the consideration pot, but so are dealers that have existing franchises with premium brands.

Ashley Andrew, president of Hyundai Motor UK and Genesis UK, added: ‘We’ve stipulated these new sites have to stand alone, but we will look at this on a case-by-case basis.

‘So, in a situation where a partner comes to us and says that they have a premium franchise and they’d like Genesis to join that premium franchise, we’ll look at that.’

Genesis registered just over 1,300 cars in the UK last year, and with a new dealer network on board, ambitions will be high to raise sales.

But neither executive hinted at what the target this year will be, merely saying sales will grow ‘organically’ as it focuses on both retail and fleet sectors.

Miller admitted launching Genesis had been a challenge but overall an exciting process.

‘Taking something that was on PowerPoint presentation and bringing it to life has been very, very rewarding, and [by now being with Hyundai UK] we can utilise systems and expertise to bring more power into the Genesis brand to take it to the next level.

‘It has been challenging as a challenger brand, but when you get that positive feedback from a customer it is worth it.

‘We are here for the challenge.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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