The GM of Genesis Talks about Hyundai’s New Luxury Brand

  • Photo by Joel Kimmel
    The general manager of Genesis, Erwin Raphael Photo by Joel Kimmel
  • Genesis G90
  • The general manager of Genesis, Erwin Raphael
  • Photo by Joel Kimmel

The general manager of Genesis speaks with Robb Report’s Laura Burstein about the brand’s origin and its plans for the future.

How did the idea for making Genesis a separate brand come about?
When the Genesis model launched in 2008—before I was with Hyundai—there was a lot of inside push to make it a separate brand. But there wasn’t the confidence that Hyundai could command the kind of attention it required to succeed. We finally made the decision last year. [Genesis launched in November 2015.] We weren’t sure that it would happen, but it was kind of like the presidential election: You’re not sure who’s going to be the next president, but you prepare to be elected, because when you do take office, you’d better hit the ground running.

How many models will Genesis offer?
We will have six models by 2021. Along with the G90 and the G80, we will add a midsize luxury SUV and a near-luxury sedan, SUV, and sport coupe.

Genesis has an all-star design team, including Luc Donckerwolke and SangYup Lee, formerly of Bentley. Why did the brand invest so heavily in the design department?
We made the decision on day 1 that design is what we are after; it was going to be our core competency—performance is a close second. When you do that, you start by designing a car with fundamental proportions: front engine, rear-wheel drive. These aren’t afterthoughts. Some companies are accountant driven, some are manufacturing driven, and some are about optimizing engineering or performance. All of these attributes are important, but design is our kingpin.

How many cars do you plan to sell?
I think that’s the wrong thing to focus on. I’m more interested in building the recognition of the brand, the value of the brand, the equity, the perception. That’s what’s important. When we do that, the sales will come. 

From Around the Web...
Robb Report's Car of the Year contest ended in a tie between the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder and the Porsche 911 Turbo S.
The results mark a first in the annual event’s history and bode well for the industry…
Robb Report Car of the Year 2017
During Robb Report’s annual competition to determine which sport or luxury car best deserves to be...
More than 150 Robb Report readers convened in Napa Valley to judge 13 extraordinary automobiles…
Watch video profiles of each of the Car of the Year 2017 contenders...
The Giulia Quadrifoglio, the high-performance variant of Alfa Romeo’s new sedan, went on sale in December with a starting price of $72,000.
The top-of-the-line sedan is powered by a biturbo V-6 that churns out more than 500 hp…
The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3
Next year, the model comes with a new engine, a revised chassis, and plenty of performance…
The 2017 Ruf CTR at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show.
With 700 hp and a top speed of 223 mph, this two-door tears it up…
If the DB11 were less of a looker, it might earn more attention for being the Best-performing, best-handling Aston Martin yet
The company’s first all-new car in 13 years was worth the wait…
The Lexus LC 500 will arrive at U.S. dealerships this spring sporting a bold new look for the brand…
The Lamborghini Aventador S
The head of Lamborghini for the Americas talks about why the car and company are cruising…