WITH UK car sales in turmoil a new ‘disruptor' is entering the market - without any dealerships.
The arrival of the Genesis brand marks a new beginning in the motor trade but with the old fashioned value of personal service behind it.
There will not be a dealership network in the traditional sense, instead, Genesis will initially have a Westfield, London Studio with cars on display in the heart of the massive shopping complex which has 32 million visitors annually and 12 personal assistants covering the Home Counties and South East England will individually look after prospective buyers and owners.
Here, walk-in and on-line enquiries will be picked up and handled by Genesis and the assistants closest to the customer will then liaise with people who want to test drive a particular model which will be taken to them and if they purchase a structured handover will then be made by the assistant.
When it comes to a scheduled service, the assistant will deliver a replacement car to the customer while theirs goes to a central technical centre and in the longer term Genesis will also be offering used models.
The concept of a regional Studio will be rolled out as necessary but only large conurbations will get them and personal assistants will be located around them to look after customers.
Head of Genesis UK sales Jonny Miller said the brand's philosophy is built around the customer and giving them a buying experience which exceeds expectations and creating a long term relationship.
Speaking at the UK launch of the G70 saloon and GV70 compact SUV, Mr Miller said their entire business is centred on the customer and making the purchase and service as easy as possible and to this end the vehicle prices will be fixed without possible negotiation.
The public reaction to the brand has been very good and endorses what Genesis believed would happen, said Mr Miller.
"We have started with a nucleus network and personal assistants in the South East because that's where we believe we can do particularly well but we are already interviewing and employing more personal assistants while we look at opening other Studios around the country in high footfall retail environments."
The Genesis Studio will typically have 20 people working in 12hr shifts and be open every day of the week. Precise locations for the next Studios have not been revealed but look towards out of town shopping complexes to be utilised.
Initially, the launch models of the 70 and larger 80 series saloons and suvs will be petrol or diesel and they will be followed before the end of the year by a G70 semi-estate or shooting brake.
Next year will see the introduction of an electrified range beginning with the G80 saloon , which, unusually, can recharge another electric device and expect to see a sleek all-electric sports coupe in the line up in a short while.
Mr Miller explained why Genesis UK has launched with petrol and diesel powered models and not the electric car.
"We wanted to launch the brand to raise awareness of Genesis being different and did not want to confuse that with the electric message which could have overtaken our intentions and not allowed us to emphasise our approach to putting the customer first," he said.
There is still a medium-term future for internal combustion engined cars as the recharging grid is expanded and next generation traction batteries are developed with longer ranges and faster charging so Genesis wants to be established by then.
The G70 saloon series costs between £33,400 and £40,480 while the GV70 SUV retails between £39,450 and £43,350.
They use 241bhp 2.0 petrol or 197ps 2.2 diesel in the saloon with 300ps 2.5 petrol and 206ps 2.2 diesel offered in the SUV with eight-speed auto boxes and rear wheel drive only.
The G70 petrol saloon will compete with the best petrol models from premium UK and German brands. But it will also be up against the more powerful sole Kia Stinger 361ps 3.3-litre V6 and which is similar money to the G70 and upon which it is based.
On the road, the 2.0 G70 saloon with options cost £49,500, more than the standard Stinger, but it was a very agile and lively drive with 241ps coming easily from the free-revving engine.
Eight-speed automatic changes were silken and quick, the steering had a lot of feedback although it was heavily weighted and the brakes were progressive and powerful.
It had big comfortable seats to absorb the firm ride and technophobes will love the dynamic and safety features.
Inside the G70 was not in the usual hard riding range of German sporting saloons but felt more aimed at the US market. If you're in the market for a rarer sporting saloon, the Genesis G70 may be what you want to try before you buy.