After a slow start, Genesis is starting to get its feet under it thanks in part to the efforts of marketing wizard Manfred Fitzgerald, who has been leading the brand for the better part of a year, and chief designer Luc Donckerwolke. Genesis chose the bright lights of the 2017 New York auto show to present a concept version of its first SUV, the GV80, which is due out in 2019.
The first Genesis crossover will target the likes of BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE. As far as concept cars go, the GV80 is a convincing effort, so let’s hope it won’t lose too much of its appeal in the transfer to production. Although the first Genesis plug-in hybrids are allegedly around the corner (the GV80 is reportedly propelled by a plug-in hydrogen fuel cell powertrain), no full EVs are expected before 2021. Instead, insiders are predicting two more crossovers, one smaller and one larger than GV80, plus a family of new or revised sedans modeled after the 3/5/7 Series hierarchy.
The most intriguing effort, however, is bound to be the compact G70, which is due late this year and was engineered with a little help from Albert Biermann, father of the M3 and M4. Although all G derivatives are rear-wheel drive, they, like the corresponding SUVs, are based on three different architectures — so complexity still rules at Genesis as it navigates its relationship with its Hyundai corporate parent.
As far as Europe goes, it looks like the first Genesis cars won’t arrive until 2020, when a small-scale operation will focus on Germany, Switzerland, and the UK.