The Genesis dealership model approaches customers as “invited guests”

  • Genesis has opened its first standalone dealership, and it’s in Lafayette, Louisiana.
  • Up to five more will be completed this year, with an eventual goal of just over 100 nationwide.
  • Genesis will announce two more electrified vehicles later this year, joining the lineup of six vehicles currently on sale.

    The next step in the future of Genesis begins at 6600 Johnston Street in Lafayette, Louisiana. This is where the luxury automaker already known for exceeding expectations defied them, opening its first stand-alone dealership in the heart of French Louisiana. At Genesis of Lafayette, South Korean principles and luxuriance meet Cajun, zydeco, and fried pigskin pickles.

    Ted Mengiste, executive director of sales operations at Genesis Motor America, called the 12,000-square-foot, $3.6 million dealership a “physical representation of the brand.” The architectural style has no name but embodies two principles: “the luxury of white space” and the Korean principle of son-nim, translated for us as “guest invited”.

    Said luxury of white space minimizes distractions everywhere. The exterior glass walls feature just three cars in the lobby among two design elements that signify Genesis stores. The “brand cube” hangs inside the entryway, four hanging sheets of perforated drapery forming a seating area. Above the cube space, a luminous panel passes through different soft colors. A projector outside the cube flashes video onto the outside of the drapery.

    genesis dealer in lafayette, la
    genesis dealer in lafayette, la

    Opposite the brand cube, the “brand wall” forms a copper backdrop for a hero car placed near the entrance doors. From the outside, the interior looks like an art installation.

    A brief row of open offices separates the lobby from the atrium and lounge area at the rear. To the right of the offices is the Genesis Experience Room, an embellished room where some buyers will come to pick up their vehicles with a theater feel.

    The service portico sits to the left of a row of desks separating the lobby and the service lounge, perhaps the best example of a “guest”. The duty manager’s office is five steps from the doorstep, behind no walls, no doors, no barriers for customers who need assistance.

    genesis dealer in lafayette, la

    Jay Faugot / Genesis

    genesis dealer in lafayette, la

    The living room, decorated like the home of the most elegant person you’ve ever known, overlooks the store’s three service bays. Tiled in light colors like a clean room used for much more expensive machinery, technicians – like the director – won’t be able to hide, nor will they be allowed to make a mess.

    Jay FaugotCar and driver

    These are the statistics, but the question remains: why Lafayette? The store is part of Sterling Auto Gr, which has 12 brands in its stable and is owned by Art LeBlanc Jr. He has been a Hyundai dealer since 2007 and began asking Genesis for a stand-alone store long before the brand was ready to accept. When it came time to choose a location, Mengiste told us, “Art embodies the Genesis dealership that we would like to replicate across the country. He believed in the Genesis vision, he believed in the brand promise and he was committed to it, not only from a facilities perspective, but also from the experiences we want our customers to have when they come to us. . »

    When we spoke to LeBlanc, we found him to be a handsome representative, as lively, kind and charming as he was impeccably dressed. The Hyundai brand has been tackling customer satisfaction issues within its national dealer network for some time, but LeBlanc’s Sterling Hyundai is rated 4.5 stars on Facebook and 4.7 on Google. He wasn’t just putting on a show for us.

    Mengiste says four or five more storefronts will be completed this year, with the final number “somewhere around 100 or north of 100 dealerships across the country.”

    Jay Faugot / Genesis

    Simultaneously, Genesis is reducing the number of Hyundai dealerships also selling Genesis. From a maximum of 325 Hyundai stores, there are just under 300 now. The practice won’t stop completely, but Genesis’ intention is “mostly self-contained.”

    The automaker’s lineup currently has six models, with Mengiste alerting us “there are two more products we’ll be announcing again this year from an EV perspective” as the brand moves to launch only EVs by 2025 and to be a VE-only brand by 2030.

    The added branding and community exposure these dealerships provide will solve what is perhaps Genesis’s biggest dilemma, less than ideal public outreach. “Genesis is still one of the best kept secrets,” Mengiste said.

    Expect to see Genesis throw big bucks at the issue, as will its standalone dealerships. “We [need] a lot of marketing to get the awareness and visibility that we want, so that people come and experience the brand.”

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