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Genesis shuns dealer model with store-only presence in Australia


Incoming luxury brand Genesis will shun the tried-and-tested dealership model in Australia, with a storefront-only strategy set to launch in early 2019.

The brand is aiming to have its first established shopfront presence, known as the Genesis Studio, open in Pitt St Mall, Sydney, by the end of the first quarter of 2019. It’ll be a seven-day-a-week store, where customers will be able to browse or virtually build a Genesis car, or even buy one if they so choose.

Genesis is labelling the store as the first factory-owned store in the world - and probably the first of three in Australia to be rolled out in 2019. A site in Melbourne is in the final stages of investigation, while a Brisbane location is also on the cards. It will be the first Genesis retail space where customers can place an order for a new car, and there won’t be any traditional dealership network.

“We’re leading - which is both interesting and difficult - because it’s nice to be a pioneer, but in many ways we’re paving the way,” said Genesis Australia brand chief, Peter Evans.

The two-storey complex in central Sydney spans a huge 558 square metres and sits where the former flagship Billabong store and existing Oroton high-end fashion boutique were. 

Pitt St Mall was labelled by commercial real estate agent Cushman & Wakefield as the world’s seventh most expensive retail precinct, and the cost of leasing the equivalent of 10 one-bedroom apartments in such an area is no small investment.

The brand is aiming to have its first established shopfront presence, known as the Genesis Studio, open in Pitt St Mall. The brand is aiming to have its first established shopfront presence, known as the Genesis Studio, open in Pitt St Mall.

Genesis has signed on for “more than a three-year lease” at the site, but not at the same rental rate as some other establishments in the area. The average rent per square metre in Pitt St Mall is $14,000 per week, so theoretically the investment is substantial, though Evans said there’s something of a ‘bulk discount’ due to the size of the space. It isn’t costing Genesis $7.8m per annum, then.

The proximity of the location to other luxury brands - such as Bally, Tiffany & Co, Chopard and Mont Blanc - is part of the appeal of the location, Evans said.

“We chose this store for a number of reasons - we’re surrounded by prestige brands in a high traffic area, with a high profile. It’s kind of a lighthouse location - our Korean senior executives were very excited to see the location right in the middle of the CBD,” he said. 

The brand is looking to show off some high-tech elements to draw customers in. It will have a high-tech LED-screened spiral staircase, and will also have a life-size car configurator screen measuring six metres long that will allow potential owners to see what their car will look like before they lay down a deposit.

There are set to be three cars upstairs and two downstairs, plus a cafe for customers. Evans said that Genesis’ approach to luxury car buying is what you can see in the world of high-end luxury - space and opulence, with a industrial minimalism - a thinly veiled swipe at some luxury car dealerships in the area that make use of all the available floor space.

The company will have the upcoming G70 and G80 models on show. The company will have the upcoming G70 and G80 models on show.

Evans said there will be seven full-time service staff onsite when the store opens - and only one who has worked in the world of cars before, while the remainder hired have come from high-end luxury roles. 

The exact cost of this endeavour is yet to be revealed, but with extensive works being completed at the location, plus the astronomical rent cost, it could well be a $20 million investment from Hyundai Motor Company Australia, which is backing the plan to launch Genesis as a rival to the well-known players in the luxury car market. 

In terms of showroom floor stock, the company will have the upcoming G70 and G80 models on show, and customers who wish to test drive one will be able to arrange a time. There will be five stocked parking bays at the nearby Westin hotel, while there’ll also be the option of booking a car for a loan online, which will be delivered to your preferred location. 

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