Hyundai's Genesis brand announced Tuesday that former Mercedes-Benz vice president Markus Henne was named CEO of Genesis Motors China. Henne will be in charge of the company's push to introduce the brand to the world's largest automotive market.
Henne will report to the brand's new global boss, William Lee, who was appointed to run the luxury subsidiary in October. One of Lee's key goals is to expand the brand's footprint in Europe and introduce it to China. Henne previously served as VP of Sales & Marketing for Mercedes-Benz in Taiwan, and prior to that oversaw the AMG division in China.
Hyundai does not yet have an ETA for formally introducing the Genesis brand to the Chinese market. Feasibility studies are still pending.
Unfortunately, while China's auto market is massive, with more than 20 million units sold to date so far in 2019, it's also one of the most tumultuous. This will be yet another major obstacle to the success of Hyundai's premium brand, which has struggled to gain traction in the United States thanks to corporate restructuring and an anachronistic product mix leaning heavily on sedans.
Genesis is working hard to correct the issues with its lineup. A lack of crossover/SUV offerings would likely be the headline for any other struggling brand, but the company's woes extend far beyond the showroom appeal of its current offerings.
In 2019, Genesis completed a restructuring of its U.S. operations. America is the brand's core market, and for much of 2018, it was unable to do business in most states thanks to Hyundai's decision to spin Genesis off into an independent brand with its own dealer franchises. Throughout the year, sales volumes tumbled as Genesis simply did not have retail outlets through which to move product.