The Genesis X Convertible Concept Is More Proof That Genesis Gets Luxury

Genesis X Top

Genesis releases yet another gorgeous concept, Mercedes struggles in China, JLR’s CEO abruptly resigns, and Ford says it needs to improve diversity.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Genesis Is Out-Cadillacing Cadillac

Genesis X

I’m not under any illusion that Korean luxury brand Genesis is going to build this giant electric convertible they’re calling the X Convertible Concept, but the sheer hutzpah of the thing is impressive. To paraphrase the band The B-52s:

I got me a car that’s as big as a whale
And we’re headin’ on down to the 러브 하우스
I got me a Genesis that seats about 20
So hurry up and bring your jukebox money

This car will show up at the LA Auto Show, though it appears to have been revealed at some sort of outside event that I don’t think we were invited to for some reason. I’m not convinced by the whole car (the wrap around headlights are strange) but overall I dig the size.

It’s amazing that a brand that did not exist as its own brand until late 2015 is now building cars and SUVs that are among the most attractive and most desirable in their respective classes.

While Cadillac has been chasing a European standard of luxury for years (though they are maybe fixing that), Genesis has seemed to embrace an American-ness in their luxury cars, even as they take cues from Europe and are designed under the guidance of über-Euro-luxury guy Luc Donckerwolke.

Even Mercedes Is Having Trouble In China

Made In China, For China: Marktpremiere Der Neuen Mercedes Benz V Klasse Made In China, For China: Market Premiere Of The New Mercedes Benz V Class

China’s probably in a mild recession? I don’t want to get Hu Jintao’d outta this piece by David [Ed note: Good. Fear the red pen! -DT] so I’ll provide this as proof, though China is always a bit opaque in a way that Western economies are not.

I think a good indicator of overall economic health, especially in China, is purchasing power and vehicle demand. Mercedes, which has a strong brand pretty much everywhere, is struggling like most other foreign (and some domestic) automakers in the country.

Reuters sums it up like this:

Mercedes-Benz said it had cut prices on some of its EQE and EQS models in China due to changing market demand for top-end electric vehicles (EVs), triggering a 6.7% fall in the premium carmaker’s share price on Wednesday.

[…]

Chinese EV brand Aito, launched by Huawei and Seres Group, lowered prices in late October by around $1,100 on two of its models, while Tesla (TSLA.O) cut prices by up to 9% after Chief Executive Elon Musk said a “recession of sorts” was underway.

Competition is good for the Chinese consumer, though.

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Loud-Quits

Bolore

I don’t know why that Jaguar Land Rover CEO Theirry Bolore quit, but this headline from the UK’s Car Dealer Magazine sums up the vibes: “Thierry Bollore sensationally quits as CEO of Jaguar Land Rover citing ‘personal reasons’”

I don’t want to speculate here because no one seemed to expect this and therefore the reasoning here could range from the mundanely professional to the actually very personal/sad.

Bolore came over from Renault where he’d been CEO when the whole Carlos Ghosn affair happened and blew up in his face. His demise at Renault was, as the BBC put it, “brutal and ruthless” even by automaker CEO departure standards.

He landed at JLR with the hopes of bringing that company back to profitability, but after two years he’s gone. JLR CFO Adrian Mardell will step in to the position as an interim CEO.

Ford CEO Admits The Company Could Do Better On Diversity

Diversity Tmd

I don’t think most of you need to hear this, but diversity is a good thing in business and in life. Having a range of perspectives and backgrounds is one of the reasons that The Autopian has been so successful thus far and we’re all committed to bringing more of that to you, dear readers.

Ford’s CEO Jim Farley also seems to think the same, telling a crowd at the Rainbow PUSH Global Automotive Summit at MotorCity Casino Hotel that “We have made a lot of progress, but it’s not enough” and adding that Ford’s competitors were ahead of them.

I found this stat from The Detroit News’s coverage pretty interesting:

Ford ranked third behind Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. on an automotive diversity scorecard released by Rainbow PUSH that evaluated automakers on diversity within employment, advertising, marketing, procurement, dealers and philanthropy. None of the companies received a “red” grade — which indicates that diversity initiatives and investments are non-existent, not disclosed or didn’t have enough information for scoring — for the first time in the scorecard’s 10 years, indicating progress within the industry.

That’s something. Even if you don’t want to discuss the obviously rational reasons why it’s good to have varying perspectives around you, there’s also the matter of trying to reach a bigger customer base to make more money, which is the CEO’s job:

In terms of attracting a more diverse customer base, Farley signaled a need for change in Ford’s marketing model and said efforts would have to go beyond increasing spending with Black-owned media.

“We have a lot of new products,” he said. “Now we have the opportunity to go even further with our electric vehicles, especially. And I think the way to do it is probably through a different marketing model than what we’ve had. Large advertising — I don’t know if that’s going to work with our next era of improvement.”

Emphasis mine. I thought that this quote above was interesting as well. Automakers have these marketing budgets they are required to spend with certain media and, on balance, it’s probably a good thing and it helps support these businesses, but it might not always be the most efficient and effective way to reach those customers.

Black (or Latinx or API) consumers are not a monolithic group and you can’t just add 5% to a budget line-item and expect to increase your reach by 5%. If you want to effectively find an audience it often helps to have someone with insight into those customers, which also gets back to hiring.

The Flush

It’s the LA Auto Show this week and we’ll have more coverage soon. A question: When was the last time you want to an auto show? What do you like about auto shows?

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40 Responses

  1. Ugh, there’s the goddamn Latinx word.

    Okay, if you’re going to strive for inclusiveness, you need to realize that a) “Latinx” is a word made up by white college students and admins with too much time on their hands in order to play-act like some liberators of the oppressed, b) Spanish is a gendered language, and always has been- Latinos (or Latinas if exclusively feminine) is the proper and preferred collective demonym, and finally c) the vast majority of Hispanics really, really hate it when you use Latinx to refer to them. It’s making a lot of unwarranted assumptions, and is rather insulting.

    I get it, you’re just using Ford’s own marketing spiel, but maybe the same company that just admitted to having a diversity problem doesn’t actually know much about how to describe that problem.

  2. The X convertible is amazing. Luxobarge convertibles in general are amazing. As much of a fan of the traditional roadster (small, two seats, manual, handling/engagement over power) as I am I also really like the idea of a true GT drop top…something that’s big and comfortable for long distance driving but has enough chutzpah to make said driving entertaining.

    The LC500 is my current GT ideal….and as long as you can afford one the only real sacrifice you have to make is accepting terrible fuel economy. That is, unfortunately, the sacrifice you’ll have to make with a lot of GT cars. Big, heavy, and powerful is not a recipe for a gas sipper.

    In this capacity I think an EV grand tourer makes perfect sense, as it addresses the main compromise you have to make in owning a true GT whip. I hope some version of this makes it to production….and if someone wants to make a true 4 seat grand touring convertible for 70k or less the wife and I will be happy to throw our money at them…and no BMW you don’t count. Ditch the war crime giant kidney grilles and then we’ll talk.

    I conclusion I think this is an underserved niche. A big luxobarge convertible is never going to be a volume seller but they’ll move them. Between retirees and people with families who enjoy open top motoring there’s a market out there. There are dozens of us! DOZENS!!!

    Anyway Genesis doesn’t miss when it comes to their designs and price points. I was behind a GV70 during my commute this morning and am always struck by how attractive they are, not to mention they consistently undercut the German and Japanese competition price wise. Now if only their powertrains could catch up…those turbo 4s and 6s are fine but the German ICE engines and Japanese hybrids make them look like dinosaurs in comparison…not to mention Hyundai/Kia reliability is still a big question mark.

        1. There’s a hybrid LC500 actually….but it doesn’t improve the mileage all that much and saying no to a V8 that revs over 7,000 should automatically flag you for immediate review of your enthusiast cred. That’s a “turn in your card” level offense.

          That being said, why don’t we have any PHEV or traditional hybrid V8 options? Adding the technology could help curb the emissions and gas mileage issues that are killing 8 cylinders off. A good battery assisted stop/start/low speed system would work wonders for city fuel economy and emissions…and adding pure EV range would make it all the better.

  3. Last auto show I went to was before the shutdown, I’m hopeful that they’ll resume in the spring here. We usually had our show the first week of March – the home show and boat shows were in Feb.
    Our show is not one of the ones where all the concepts are shown, rather were more of the everyday what you can find at the dealerships kind of show, but that’s OK by me – being able to compare a bunch of cars all at once in one place is great for the consumer.

  4. Flush: last year.

    I like to go to check out the new cars and lately here in Miami, there have been more personal modded cars on display that are cool to check out.

    However, this year’s show was only 2 weeks long, it came and went and I didn’t see or hear any marketing about it so I completely missed it.

    1. I’m not as swing-y with the banhammer as most because I do believe, at some level, persuasion is possible. I also think that cars can be, for many, a way to get out of their narrow experience and interact with people from different places and ideally gain a broader perspective. Or maybe you’ll just do what everyone expects and we can fire your commenter account into the sun. Your choice.

      1. My experience is quite a bit broader than you suspect. Ultimatly I believe Heinlein had it correct: there should be ‘civilians’, who are the “objects” of the political process (possessing of certain privileges, perhaps, but only one singular actual right: the right to leave), and then there should be ‘citizens’, who are the “subjects” of that system (possessing of rights and duties, but never mere privileges)

        the key is that it is possible to pass from one group to the other by a legible and fair process, but that that process of elevation to citizenship involves a cost and a selective function that works well enough to prevent the most obviously dysgenic, dysfunctional, and maladaptive from attaining any sort of franchise; if you either cannot or should not be participating in the future, then we do not care what your opinion is, even if our cultural mores dictate that we treat you in most cases kindly and never in an inhuman fashion. But in no case are we ever going to act based on your opinion or preferences, nor will we ever feed the proverbial seed corn (the citizenry and its accumulated capital, social and otherwise) to the pigs.

        the civilian is a *guest* – possibly an honored guest, possibly a worthwhile one, but a guest none the less – and if you want to remain one, you will be a useful guest, or at any rate, you will not be malignantly useless

        and the purpose of the civilian’s existence in the system is solely to benefit the citizen

        (note that Heinlein himself was portraying a quasi-fascist system, and it resembles certain other arrangements through history – notably the Spartan system of helotry, as a pathological case. Aristotle was correct, most men are natural slaves, and any political system that does not take that simple and easily-verifiable fact into account is doomed to devolve to the all-encompassing madness we see today)

        … note also that this essentially describes the system we have today, except that in the modern conception, ‘citizen’ means ‘urban bugman oligarchs’ and ‘civilian’ refers to ‘flyover Deplorables’; it was nice of them to create this system for us, it will be very convenient once we rectify the mistake of Who gets to do What to Whom)

        1. I disagree with all of this. I believe that all people are created equal, regardless of what they look like, what they believe, who they love, etc.

          What I think Hardigree was saying on the other story is that this is a car blog. One that has a very open and inclusive feel and welcomes a diverse perspective. This is not the forum for political discourse, particularly in this age of serious divisiveness.

          1. I believe a different vein of thought. A man is born many men but dies as one. We all have many choices and directions. Those lead us to one place the man we become. While not everyman has every choice available no man is locked into one path.
            Caveat i am using man in the general sense of all humans. Not ignoring half the population.

        2. While I appreciate your car comments and ideas, this site is not the place for this sort of discourse. Take it to Reddit or Facebook where you can readily find people to talk about this with. The only Bugman I want to talk about here is the VW Bugman aka Torchinsky.

  5. I’ve only been to a new-car auto show once, and found it pretty boring. A bunch of pedestrian models that no one really cares about.
    The only exotic brand that was there was Aston Martin. They were roped off and the hall was so crowded you couldn’t get within 30ft of them.
    I see more cool cars at my small town cars and coffee

  6. Genesis X: Does it have decent enough range for a weekend getaway? Then gimme. Time to cash in the 401k, I’ll take mine in midnight blue. I don’t love the front end, but the rest of it, *especially* the lack of a top ????

  7. BMW brought an i8 to one of my work conferences once because they were using our tech to develop it. Does that count? 🙂

    Otherwise I’ve only been to RV shows. I don’t know that there’s much for car shows within a reasonable distance of where I live.

  8. Geeze, the last auto show was 2014 in D.C. They’re a fun way to see a lot of new cars with no sales people. Sometimes I just want to sit in a new car that I can’t afford until a decade of depreciation has passed. Still sad that the, then soon to be sold, new Continental never did that well. I still enjoy seeing them on the road.

  9. Bolore’s resignation could not come at a worse time for the Jaguar side of JLR. 18- 2 years months away from an intended complete reinvention brought about by Bolore himself. As a fan of the marque (on my second Jag in a row right now) I’m worried for its long-term survival (beyond becoming a Range Rover trim level).

  10. Ford needs to focus a bunch more on quality than anything else. 18th place in reliabilty ratings, yikes.

    That said the Genesis is looking to compete against Lucid more than Caddilac it seems.

  11. I went to the 2020 Chicago Auto Show about a month before the world went crazy.

    No points for originality in my answer, but the ability to sit in every vehicle in a competitive class within an hour, and with no salesperson pressure, is really nice for gathering basic info. I wouldn’t buy a car just based on an auto show quick sit, but it might help me decide which three dealerships to visit.

  12. Dwight: Attention everyone, I just got a text from Thierry. He says “personnel reasons.” Are we hiring?
    Jim: Yep. You’re being replaced.
    Pam: I think he meant personal reasons.
    Dwight: Oh, that’s quite a leap Pam.
    Phyllis: I hope he’s ok, I feel bad.
    Creed: Give it up, he’s dead.
    Jim: He just sent a text.
    Creed: What’s a text?

  13. I went to the Milwaukee Auto Show last year, maybe it was the year before (can’t remember, it’s all the same). It was a meh show. If I’m in the market, a car show can be a great thing, otherwise there are better ways to spend the time.

    For instance, driving that Genesis everywhere! Beautiful! Shut up and take my money!

  14. I went to a Concours d’Elegance being hosted near a park in my city in April of this year. I took the custom build microcar in my profile and lots of interest was drawn toward it. The 30 mile round trip took me about 0.28 kWh, about the same amount of electricity that a Nissan Leaf uses in 1 mile.

    What I enjoyed the most about this show was seeing all of the unique and classic vehicles. Like my own, there were a lot of non-entrants in the show and were brought there just for display in the parking lot. I saw an LS1-swapped Triumph GT6, where the owner claimed 11 second 1/4 mile times, 25 mpg city, and 35 mpg doing a steady 70 mph on the highway. Lots of classic 1950s and 1960s Volvos were present, as well as trucks from the early 1900s, and even a steam-powered car was there. There was even an AMC AMX, which until that day, I had never seen in person.

    I had a lot of fun walking around the parking lot looking at all of the automotive history present. Will definitely go again.

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