Home » Here’s What Genesis Needs To Do For Magma to Smash BMW And Mercedes

Here’s What Genesis Needs To Do For Magma to Smash BMW And Mercedes

Magma Hot Enough Ts Rear
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We had a huge news story drop last night. Genesis told us that it’s taking on the major players with a new line of performance models wearing the Magma name. It’s a big call, daring to go up against BMW’s M and Mercedes-AMG. Plenty of automakers have aspired to do it, many have faltered. Let’s talk about what Genesis needs to do to make this work.

Fundamentally, it’s all about cachetRizz. Prestige. That’s what Genesis needs. It wants you to know what that Magma badge means the first time you see it. You’re supposed to be jealous. You’re supposed to think “Damn, he’s doing well. How the hell did he afford a Magma?”

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Right now, that’s not a thing. Badge recognition lies with the Germans. Every car fan knows what an M badge means, and knows how to spot a fake on the back of a poverty-pack model. AMG branding carries similar weight. Even outside the car world, normies know that a BMW M or a Mercedes-AMG is a step or three above a Chevy, Ford, or Nissan. Genesis needs to get there, and fast. It’s not easy, but it’s doable.

P90492670 Highres The All New Bmw M3 C
BMW’s designers are doing their best to give Genesis an opening with these hideous designs.

The Germans have the benefit of long-established brands. Mercedes-Benz and BMW both date back to the early reaches of the 20th century. Their performance brands are similarly well-aged, each over 50 years old.

They had the luxury of doing things the slow way. Year after year, decade after decade, they pumped out luxury models of quality and refinement. Their performance arms then turned up the wick and made a name for themselves with horsepower and handling. Over time, word spread, and the iconography was burned into the collective automotive psyche. See an M3 out on the road, and you know it’s a bit of a weapon, even if you haven’t picked up a car magazine in years. Ditto a C63 AMG.

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2024 Amg C63se Sedan Fmg 004 Dr
Even if you’re not into cars, instinctive clues like the giant Mercedes badge and the general look will tell you this is a big money car. Magma models need to trigger the same feeling.

The problem is that Genesis is a latecomer here. It’s not entering an empty market. Customers with money are already thinking about their next purchase. They’re wondering, will I go with another AMG? Or maybe I’ll try the new Bimmer? Genesis needs to get in that conversation.

It’s already making some of the right moves. Bright orange may be a polarizing color, but it catches the eye. It pops when you’re scrolling through Google News or posts on social media. They’ve got your attention. Then, the name. Magma. It’s reinforced by the color itself, which helps it get that first little hook into your brain.

Magma can’t be like Splash or Wildtrak or Highlander. It can’t just be another trim level. It has to be a brand. It has to mean something greater, even if Genesis isn’t planning to make it a true standalone brand. To be fair to Genesis, no German automaker with a performance “brand” truly has a separate brand. You walk into a BMW dealer to buy an M3, an Audi dealer to buy an RS6 Avant, and a Mercedes dealer to buy a Mercedes-AMG.

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The first batch of models look awesome, as this GV60 Magma demonstrates.

Thankfully, the company can likely draw on some experience in this regard. Hyundai already did a great job of this with its N brand of high-performance cars.

Cut back to the ’90s, and if you wanted to make a hot version of a car, you’d stick GT on it. Or GTS. Or GT-R. All well and good. But Hyundai didn’t want to tread those same worn boards. Instead, it went bold. Hyundai announced that its hot cars would wear the N badge. The Veloster N, Elantra N, i30 N. They told everyone that the “N” on the back means it’s the fast one. Got it? Good.

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Interestingly, the GV80 Magma Special will see a strictly limited production run. It should, however, show us if the Magma models have the right stuff to take on AMG and M.

It was oddball, at first, but it stuck in the brain. Hyundai then reinforced the message with styling. Cars emblazoned in that bespoke bright blue, with big air dams and black and red trim. “Oh, that’s the N model,” you’d say, because you could spot one at 30 paces, no problem.

Finally, it backed up the styling with genuine performance chops. It hired the right people, spent the money, and did the work. It built genuinely exciting performance cars. They handled great, with engines that excited and made all the right noises. They told you what they were going to do, they showed you what they were going to do, then they did it.

Genesisxgranberlinetta8a Revised Scaled E1701763381454
Once upon a time, a hypercar might have been the way to establish a high-performance reputation. It’s costly though, as projects like the Lexus LFA demonstrate, and not always a way to connect with a broad audience. The X Gran Berlinetta is a head turner, but probably best as a concept, not a production vehicle. 

Genesis should follow the same template. They’ve caught our eye with the orange paint and the bad boy looks. They’ve told us the name is Magma, neatly reinforced by the mental connection with the color. So far, so good.

The next part is harder. They need to show us the cars can do what the paint suggests—go fast. People need to see these orange weapons ripping around, pulling Gs like a hot Euro sedan in a European heist movie.

Back in the day, you’d give one to Clarkson and tell him to get the thing sideways, smoking the tires in a power test. These days, the hot car films are produced elsewhere, but the same theory applies. The car needs to be seen doing the high-performance dance, publicly and loud.

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Top Gear used to be an excellent way to introduce a high-performance car to the wider public.

It’s ideal if this comes out before the spec sheets, too. Initial perceptions are everything. The Genesis efforts will be held to a high yardstick, as they go up against M sedans and Porsche Macan Turbos. People need to see the cars as cool and powerful, and that will create an emotional memory that’s hard to erase.

Stats can do more harm than good if they come at the wrong time. Ever had a conversation like this? “Ah, I’m not shopping for the new BMW,” says your mate in finance. “It’s 20 horsepower down on the Porsche, so I’m not interested.” That stat tells you almost nothing on paper about what the car is like to drive or own. But that pre-formed opinion is hard to overcome no matter what you show them next.

Screenshot 2024 03 26 104838
The GV80 Coupe Concept. This thing should cost as much as a Cayenne or Macan (depending on size) and be within ten seconds of its laptime on the Nurburgring. Or faster. That would plant the Magma flag firmly on the top of Mount Horsepower.  

Even then, the Magma cars still need to bring the noise. They’ll need to offer competitive horsepower and top-notch handling on a par with their rivals wearing M and AMG badges. They’ll also need to be competitive on price. I don’t mean cheaper, though. In fact, quite the opposite.

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See, a lot of buyers in this space are heavily image-conscious. For them to take a punt on a Genesis, they’re going to need that Magma badge to carry some weight. If the Magma is $30,000 cheaper than its rivals, it risks being seen as a cheaper alternative. Big money buyers don’t want to be seen that way. Nor do they want to drive something that’s seen as “not as good.” The Magma models need to be as good, if not better, to earn their place in the market.

There’s also the usual grunt work to do, too. Get the new hot car in the hands of the new hot people. Make sure they’re seen in it. Make sure somebody’s writing down that they were spotted not just in a Genesis, but the Magma. The hot one. The one you want. The one you’re gonna get. Yeah, it’s a cheap move. It’s easy, it’s cynical, and brands do it because it works. 

You know why we don’t wear spats anymore? The King of England showed up without them in 1926 and everyone wanted to look like him. The same rule applies here. This kind of thing gets your car in gossip mags. It gets your partner saying “Oh, did you see Michael McHotpants was spotted in one of those Magmas you like so much?” If it’s good enough for McHotpants, it’s good enough for you, right? This shit makes a difference.

Pull all this off, and Genesis could have something mega on its hands. Hyundai did this, and did it well, albeit in a more forgiving market where badges means less and value means more. Magma, on the other hand, has to mean rich, fast, and cool all at the same time, and almost immediately.

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There’s a mountain to climb. We’ll soon see if the fast orange rides from Korea can make it to the top.

Image credits: Matt Hardigree, Genesis

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Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
16 days ago

If Genesis marks the starting point, then it can only culminate in Revelation. The Genesis Revelation, now that’s a car name.

CUlater
CUlater
16 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

And it needs to Acts the part if they want to cause an Exodus from the Kings of the segment

Last edited 16 days ago by CUlater
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
16 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

In the beginning was the Excel

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
15 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I’ll be the Judges of that.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
16 days ago

IMO they need to make a RWD manual transmission car with a cool (non-electric) engine, as that market is shrinking rapidly and enthusiasts with money have less and less options for a decent sporty car.

Dingus
Dingus
16 days ago

Uh, why? Who will buy it? Six self-professed “enthusiasts” who aren’t cheap bastards like the rest of us who buy used cars?

The Magma can be the halo, maybe six of the right people will get them. The money will be made by selling GV90s to people who still make phone calls on speaker with their iFone and have no clue how to pair it to the car’s audio system. The folks with more money than brains are the ones who buy stuff. You just need them to want to be part of the periphery that a halo will shine on.

FiveOhNo
FiveOhNo
16 days ago

You want to know why Genesis will never “catch on” the way things are now? The dealerships. Every Genesis dealership is in a Hyundai dealership, and Hyundai dealerships and service departments are subpar (to put it mildly) and are NOT what BMW, Mercedes, Audi or even Cadillac owners expect from a dealership. Ever go to a BMW dealership? Now contrast that with your local “Genesis” (Hyundai) dealership.

You want to walk into a place that’s a half step up from a JD Byrider and drop $90K on a car? Nope. You spend $90K on said car and want to sit in a dingy waiting room built during the Carter administration and not cleaned since then, either? Nope. You want to find out you have to schedule an oil change 3 weeks in advance because the dealership treats their employees so crappy they can’t get enough mechanics? Heck, no.

I freaking love my Kona N; I dread even thinking about dealing with the service department.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
16 days ago
Reply to  FiveOhNo

Agreed, I work at a BMW dealership and it’s amazing how well-run the place is. Service appointments happen quickly, parts are generally in stock or 1 day out at most, we have a ton of service advisors and technicians, etc. No, it’s not cheap, but things get done pretty quickly and efficiently.

CUlater
CUlater
16 days ago
Reply to  FiveOhNo

I read ‘dingy’ nautically, versus filthy, but the analogy stands.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
16 days ago
Reply to  CUlater

Dinghy?

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
16 days ago

At least they can use a namesake song for their advertising from one of the greatest live bands ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fXqRAyu1d0

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
16 days ago
Reply to  Rod Millington
Silent But Deadly
Silent But Deadly
16 days ago

For the Magma branding to succeed then one must first be familiar with the Genesis brand and what it offers (other than ‘let there be light’ or some old English progressive pop music).

Until then it’s a pile of softly glowing slag.

Black Peter
Black Peter
16 days ago

See an M3 out on the road, and you know it’s a bit of a weapon...Nah, I think BMW has diluted the M badge.. There are 41 current M models, that’s about 35 too many

Black Peter
Black Peter
14 days ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

Yeah, I put some thought into not including AMG, but the C class, literally cheapened the brand.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
15 days ago
Reply to  Black Peter

Before Maybach, I’d see certain older drivers in AMG S-Classes tooling around SF or LA and realized they only bought the AMG because it was the most expensive one in the showroom – not because they were more comfortable or better drives.

Black Peter
Black Peter
14 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

O_o

BOSdriver
BOSdriver
16 days ago

They showed the G80 a few months back, right? That looks great, actually, they all look great. H/K/G is still on a roll.

Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
16 days ago

I want mine in CAPCOM blue and the letters (and a few extras) rearranged to say MEGAMAN on the back.

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
16 days ago

1) All you need to do it add MAN to the end because there already is a MAGMA MAN.
2) The “follow this user” button on your PFP is covering Mewtwo’s face, if you were to mirror the image i think it would look like it’s coming out of the hand

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
16 days ago

Was going to be called “Pyroclastic Flow” but the badge won’t fit.

Seaway
Seaway
16 days ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

Gave you goods to taste, no ingredients to trace
You remain stuck trying to figure the shape of space
No edge or boundary, release 2 rounds or 3
Intimidate, my razor scrape phony clown MC
The physical shatter from the blast
Pyroclastic flow, sets forth a tower of ash

GZA – Amplified Sample

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
16 days ago

My problem with ‘Magma’ is that it doesn’t sound racecar like. BMW’s M stands for ‘Motorsport’, Audi’s RS is ‘Rennsport’. AMG is the initials of some engineers with very Germanic names that developed the Mercedes racing engine back in the day. Even N supposedly stands for “Nurburgring’.

Magma sounds a little try-hard to me.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
16 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

I always though N was just the Hyundai logo backwards.

Nathan Williams
Nathan Williams
16 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

They have the history but for the most part BMW M stands for marketing these days. Even the full fat M cars are shouty luxury at the top of the pricing tier rather than anything to do with Motorsport.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
15 days ago

They’re not even luxury. They’re just the most expensive.

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
16 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

I mean it could get as goofy as Gazoo Racing tuned by Meisters of Nurburgring…

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
16 days ago
Reply to  Rod Millington

That is a pretty hilarious name but Gazoo does have some real racing credentials.

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
16 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

For me the problem is that I don’t think of viscous, easily solidifying liquids as sporty

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
16 days ago
Reply to  Wolfpack57

Right?! There is nothing sporty about magma, lava, or other liquid rocks.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
16 days ago

Too close to MAGA for comfort.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
16 days ago

Does Miles Davis give you the willies as well? lol.

Chronometric
Chronometric
16 days ago

When these actually come out will they change the name to Lava?

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
16 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

The new concepts have heated floors, so in a very real way, the floor is lava.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
16 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Top notch geology joke.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
16 days ago

I have a question about “brand cache”.
Which is more luxurious, a base-model Lexus ES or a completely loaded Toyota Avalon?

Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
16 days ago

I think that the Lexus has more supplies buried around but the Avalon is no slouch when it comes to caching.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
16 days ago
Reply to  Leighzbohns

The Avalon is better-equipped in this scenario.

Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
16 days ago

The Avalon has the bugout bag and a collection of pocketknives. The Lexus has a change of clothes, a sport coat in the back seat, and some golf clubs, all bougie-coded items for the cachet.

Last edited 16 days ago by Leighzbohns
The Dude
The Dude
16 days ago

The Toyota, but people will badge-shop the Lexus.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
15 days ago

What is “Brand Cache” anyway?
Is that your collection of clothing labels, logo shopping bags, etc which you have squirreled away in the back of your closet?

Or do you mean “Brand Cachet”?
Which is the prestige of the lable on your thingy?

Because cachet has nothing to do with actual luxury but perceived status.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
15 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Exactly my point, that stuff only exists in the minds of marketing majors.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
16 days ago

That GV80 Coupe Concept is big, brash, and flashy—none of which I’m into.
But, damn, it looks good.

I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring with Magma: competition can push the field, and more eye-candy is always fun.

EVDesigner
EVDesigner
16 days ago

They need to sell these for sticker price instead of a 30k markup

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
16 days ago
Reply to  EVDesigner

Just make MSRP 30k higher because it’s limited edition anyway

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
16 days ago
Last edited 16 days ago by Rad Barchetta
MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
16 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

This was two blown opportunities for the headline:
“Genesis is out to Destroy Munich and Stuttgart with Liquid Hot Magma”

DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
16 days ago

This needs a manual. Otherwise, it’s a boring appliance.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
16 days ago

You’re probably right. I’m the furthest thing from one of those insufferable WAHHHH NO MANUAL NO CARE people but offering a stick would instantly separate these from the German and Japanese competition. BMW still offers sticks and they’re apparently getting the axe in the next year or two. Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, etc. don’t.

This would put them more in line with the Blackwings, which IMHO is where they should be trying to position these anyway. That being said I don’t think it will happen. The only manual Hyundai/Kia still offer in the US is the unit that pairs with front wheel drive in the Ns and the Forte GT. I think they’d need to develop one from scratch at this point and I doubt they’d do that, but we can dream.

That being said their DCT rules in performance applications, so hopefully we’ll at least get that.

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
16 days ago

I just assumed they will all be EVs

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
17 days ago

Ahem. There is another N car that was not mentioned. The coolest one that’s driven by incredibly sexy people.

Anyway, I also think Genesis has work to do on their driving dynamics. The general consensus is that they’re behind the Germans on this front, and they’re also behind on powertrains. They don’t have anything that can compete with the B/S58, the Porsche/Audi turbo V6, etc.

As you mentioned, I’d imagine the N folks and Biermann are assisting behind the scenes. The N’s actually offer something that ze Germans struggle with these days-engagement. Obviously I daily and love my Kona N but I’ve also taken an Elantra N out for a rip.

What separates them is the sensory experience and the level of engagement/connection. The steering is super communicative. The chassis is communicative as well and you always know the limits. They also have the best sounding 4 cylinder on the market (not the highest bar, but still), two great transmissions, and they have an edge that most of the competition doesn’t.

You can fully defeat traction control, and the sport setting is so lax that it only really interferes if you’re in trouble. The DCT will let you bounce off the rev limiter to your heart’s content. You can literally go from the dealer lot directly to the track if you’d like. They’re also light by modern standards and keeping weight low was a huge focus in their development. The TL:DR is the N’s have the sauce.

If some of that moves up to Genesis then *Dr. Evil voice* MAGMA be in good shape. A lot of the German’s don’t offer that anymore. Audi literally had to panic release an additional package for the RS5 to make it feel less sterile. The current M’s are ridiculously fast and time well but the general consensus is they’re a bit numb and distant. AMG is putting goddamn 4 cylinders and batteries in everything and making them pigs.

Basically, there’s an opening here. I don’t think the M, AMG, or S/RS brands are anywhere near their peak right now. If the Magma cars are hooligans that carry over some of that N special sauce I think they’ll have a niche. Edgy, loud, engaging cars will literally always have a place…and I hope/think that’s likely the route they’re taking since it’s what their performance sub brand does best.

LarsVargas
LarsVargas
16 days ago

If there was a Genesis version of the Santa Cruz, especially in “Magma” form, I’d trade in my Santa Cruz in a heartbeat.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
16 days ago
Reply to  LarsVargas

Or just a Santa Cruz N. That would be rad.

LarsVargas
LarsVargas
16 days ago

This answer is also acceptable. Especially if it had that sweet twin turbo V6.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
17 days ago

Meanwhile, Caddy just goes about its business as the world’s best sleeper (in a good way).

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
17 days ago

I’d love a CT4V BW. Not sure if the wife and I will ever be able to justify spending that much on my car, but I still daydream about them often. The Blackwings are some of the few current cars that still genuinely excite me. I’d go test drive one but I don’t trust myself to not buy it haha.

Edit: to follow up with my main comment for a second, the BW’s have the sauce. They’re brash, loud, not overburdened by electronic nannies, and can be taken directly the track with 0 mods necessary. They have edge. Outside of high end Porsches, what German cars truly have an edge in 2024?

Last edited 16 days ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
16 days ago

This dealership in Naples always seems to have a nice selection…

https://www.devoecadillac.com/VehicleSearchResults?search=new&make=Cadillac&bodyType=CAR

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
16 days ago

https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/0f3b9a25-777c-46f3-a0cb-ea71d1a447fb/

I could do it. It would be incredibly stupid! But I could…

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
17 days ago

Genesis Magma sounds like a superhero knock-off porno character

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
15 days ago

…with big boobs.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
17 days ago

They could start by changing the name. I get that they were probably going for something “fun”, but Magma is just too out there for me

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
16 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

It’s like they are appealing to teens and not to luxury-performance buyers with that name. Are BMW M and MB AMG buys going to cross-shop a “Magma”?

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
15 days ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

Perhaps “Magnum” would be more appropriate.
Because Trojans are too small for some (egos)

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
17 days ago

“If the Magma is $30,000 cheaper than its rivals, it risks being seen as a cheaper alternative. Big money buyers don’t want to be seen that way. ” This is the same attitude that has contributed to college costs going up for the last 3 decades.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim Stock

Long term auto loans making the analogy case even stronger lol

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
17 days ago

It’s interesting that the Magna “badge” keeps getting referenced here. I know it’s sort of being referred to figuratively, but I have yet to see an actual, literal Magma badge yet.
How are all the important people I’m trying to impress going to know that my lowered, bright orange, body-kitted car is actually a factory special and not just a lowered, orange wrapped, body-kitted regular car without a damn badge?

And don’t tell me we don’t need no stinkin’ badges, cuz dammit, we absolutely do!

Last edited 17 days ago by Rad Barchetta
Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
16 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

They will put a big red M on the cars. Wait…

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
16 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

It’s all about the branding and so far they’ve failed to communicate an identifying feature except orange paint that 2% will be ordered in.
The logo should be the first thing they show

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
15 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta
Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
17 days ago

What they need to do is put those directional tires on in the same direction in the lead photo…

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
17 days ago

A number of track/autocross tires look like this and are officially asymmetrical not directional. Toyo Proxes R888R are one example: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/toyo-proxes-r888r

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
16 days ago

Great thing about asymmetrical tires that are not directional is that you can still rotate them normally.

Just need to make sure they are mounted correctly. I once had a set and found (after I got home) that 3 of them were mounted inside out.

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
16 days ago

Agreed! Unless your track car is double staggered, but at least it means you can swap left to right.

Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
16 days ago

which is fine in the dry. If you want to channel water out, well, let’s be honest. These aren’t the best tires for that anyway… But, if you did, they’d be funneling inward instead of outward. Besides all that, though, it just hurts my OCD brain!!

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
16 days ago

Yeah something tells me those channels are just there to barely pass DOT regulations…

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