Power Brokers: Eric Marshall, Director of Genesis Canada

Genesis took to the floor at the 2024 Canadian International Auto show in Toronto to celebrate wins in both the electrified vehicle of the year and electrified utility vehicle of the year categories at the Automobile Journalist’s Association of Canada (AJAC) annual car of the year awards. The Electrified G80 sedan claimed the former, while the Electrified GV70 crossover claimed the latter – and we suspect Genesis Canada Director Eric Marshall is pretty happy about both!

We caught up with him on the show floor at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to find out about that, as well as plenty of other Genesis goodness.

Vicarious: How about a comment on the big victory?

Genesis Canada Director Eric Marshall Accept the Award for Canadian Electrified Utility Vehicle of the Year for 2024

Eric Marshall: Really exciting – that’s really cool for the brand. The G80 and GV70 are fantastic products, already award-winning products on the other side of the fence with gasoline. The corporation took those products, knew they already had a winning combination and they introduced electric versions – and so far, so good!

V: What is so attractive to the consumer about Genesis products?

EM: The first thing that they’re saying they really like is the styling and the design of the vehicles. Really staying true and pure to the Genesis and not looking to venture too far out with the styling and keeping with what has made us successful.

V: Talk a little about the genesis of…Genesis.

EM: In the Korean mindset, Genesis has always been a separate brand from the Hyundai brand, so in Korea it was already well known that the engineering and factories were all separate from Hyundai from the get-go. In North America, that wasn’t the case and the challenge was presenting a luxury product in an environment that may not be conducive for that and it did not lead to the best results for the brand. Therefore, it was decided (In 2015) that it was time. Time to wind down the Hyundai Genesis brand but to take that premium product and create that separation and give the products the chance to flourish.

V: What makes a Genesis special?

Genesis GV80 Coupe

EM: It’s always rooted in awareness, first of all. We’ve been lucky enough to have fantastic design and product on our side. We actually decided to take a different approach – so in 2016, we re-launched with two products: the G80 and G90 (both sedans). About a year-and-a-half later, we introduced the G70.

V: Your early line-up had three sedans and no crossovers – what’s some of the reasoning behind that?

EM: No crossovers – you need to come out with the right product. The corporation could have made the decision to just re-badge one brand to another; but in Korea, they don’t do that. There’s separate engineering processes, separate factories – there are efficiencies that you can share, but you don’t do that (re-badge a Hyundai, call it a Genesis) with a Genesis product. That thinking was already deep-rooted in Korea.

It wasn’t easy in the first few years as a young brand with smaller volume, but it totally made sense in the long run.

V: There are Genesis crossovers now; how will the line-up evolve going forward?

EM: Now, we’ve grown our volume. We’ve introduced more SUVs into our line-up – GV60, GV70, Electrified GV70 and GV80 — and now we had a beautiful GV80 Coupe concept that was revealed in New York last year and now we’ve got a production vehicle coming.

V: Can you talk a little bit about the new Genesis GV80 Coupe?

EM: It will be our new halo product representing the brand but it’s more than that. It’s really a step forward for the brand to start stepping into emotional design, which I think is important as you continue to mature – don’t forget: we’re only seven years old.

This is a fantastic step forward for the brand. You see it in the design – we had John Krsteski join us from the California design center talking to us about the attention to detail that’s gone into (the GV80 Coupe).

V: Since 2016, the line-up has grown to eight models. That’s some fast progress!

Genesis Electrified G80

EM: It’s a pretty quick rollout, but I think that was by design also. It makes a bold statement on behalf of the brand to be able to say that we are going to start pushing the limits, and we are going to deliver exceptional products.

V: How has the luxury buyer changed recently, and how has Genesis adapted to that change?

EM: What we’ve come to realize is our guests/buyers are used to luxury in their lives. When they go to a five-star hotel, or a spa, or a Michelin restaurant they have expectations. We’ve come to realize that we need to rise and meet those expectations. So what we’ve done is enter a global-first partnership with Forbes Travel Guide. It’s all about the senses. What you hear when you enter a facility, what you smell, how you’re greeted, how you’re treated – we even looked beyond that and started think about what a guest might require.

From a Genesis product standpoint, the goal here is to also be centered around the guests’ needs. We try and simplify technology, we try and make things easy for our guests and being guest-centric with either the design of the product or the technology, or the fit and finish. Forbes has a 900-point inspection for a hotel; ours is a little bit shorter, but it’s hundreds of points (Forbes) will look over of guest touchpoints in our showrooms.

V: What is your vision for the future of Genesis?

EM: I love that question. For seven years – being seven years young – we’ve been looking into the crystal ball and trying to figure out what is the next big thing. Now that we’ve evolved over the years and we feel very comfortable that we are able to deliver exceptional experiences for our guests, we’ve got a cohort of guests joining us now who’ve heard of the amazing experience or have been referred. We realize that if we can continue educating the general public on the benefits of Genesis – the at-home service, five years of maintenance, once price, no need for negotiation – great things are going to continue to happen for the brand.

Genesis Electrified GV70

We see ourselves now at – I wouldn’t call it a crossroads, but more it’s kind of a turn in the road. I think right now, we’re still perceived as a traditional brand. Now, it’s time to evolve from that status; we brush shoulders with other luxury brands and now we feel that it’s time to separate ourselves. What we want to start becoming is a lifestyle brand that offers an effortless experience.

V: What does your dream Genesis vehicle look like?

EM: I’m still a fan of sedans, coming from Quebec…but the dream vehicle? My oh my. Maybe an electric vehicle, an incredibly comfortable vehicle that would be really focused on…progressing from just being something that you drive, but to luxury mobility.

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