Genesis luxury sedan range to get its own U.S. dealership network

The well-regarded luxury brand is ready to go exclusive in its third year.

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Hyundai is informing its dealers that its 2-year-old luxury brand Genesis is ready to fly the coop. The company says it will focus in 2018 on building out a network of around 100 Genesis retailers with the goal of eventually operating standalone facilities to better distinguish the high-end brand.

First dibs on applications for the new franchise licenses will go to existing dealers who also sell Genesis in "defined key markets," the company says. New Genesis showrooms will initially operate from temporary or shared facilities, with standalone facilities taking shape over the next three years.

"At Genesis, we believe in putting our customers first and giving them a proper ownership experience," Erwin Raphael, general manager of Genesis Motor America, said in a statement. "To ensure that happens, we need to take this next step in the separation of the Genesis brand from our parent company."

Genesis earlier this month announced the opening of its first headquarters-owned standalone showroom in the Gangnam business district of Seoul, South Korea. The two-story facility flips the script on typical dealerships by limiting exposure to the products from the outside "to maximize a private and personal setting that enhances the interaction between the customer and the product." The showroom also incorporates the brand's scent and sound, and it features a private Launch Bay for test drives and engagement with the vehicles via the virtual reality-based Genesis Virtual Guide.

Hyundai launched Genesis as its standalone luxury nameplate in December 2015, though the Genesis had been a Hyundai sedan model name for several years prior. At the time, it said it planned six models by 2020. Most recently, we heard that Genesis is planning a third crossover for 2021, plus its long-planned electric car in the same year.

Sales of its G80, G80 Sport and G90 in the U.S. nudged above 20,000 last year. It recently launched the G70, an entry-level compact sedan.

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