The Korea Herald


Hyundai hires ex-Audi CEO for US operations of Genesis

New addition to global leadership comes amid imminent launch of GV80, barometer for Genesis’ success in market entry

By Cho Chung-un

Published : Oct. 13, 2019 - 15:56

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Hyundai Motor has hired a former chief executive officer of Audi’s US division as the head of its luxury segment Genesis’ operations in North America, signaling the carmaker’s drive to expand its market presence in the world’s second-largest auto market.

Mark Del Rosso, who led operations of luxury brands Audi and Bentley for two decades, will take the CEO position of Genesis’ US operations. He will lead the sales and marketing strategy of the brand under the command of Jose Munoz, president and CEO of Hyundai North America and Genesis head office, the company said. 

Mark Del Rosso (Hyundai Motor) Mark Del Rosso (Hyundai Motor)

“Though Genesis is the youngest luxury automotive brand in the industry, having separated from parent Hyundai less than four years ago, It has been quickly gaining traction in the market with September year-to-date sales up 67 percent,” said Munoz, president of Hyundai North America.

“Given Mark’s overall proven track record and extensive experience leading luxury brands, I’m thoroughly confident that Genesis Motor North America will be positioned to accelerate its growth and climb the ladder of luxury automotive brands to the top.”

Meanwhile, there have been rumors that the carmaker might launch its first sport utility vehicle next month.

According to local reports, Genesis is adding the final touches to its GV80 for an official launch in South Korea, home to the carmaker.

The GV80 completes the Genesis lineup four years after the brand was launched in 2015. The brand currently has a family of sedans -- the G70, G80 and G90.

Industry insiders have noted that the GV80 is crucial for the brand’s survival in the US market, where SUVs take up about half of all vehicle sales.

The company has declined to comment on the timing of the launch of the GV80 in South Korea and the US. But the timeline of the SUV’s launch in the US will be decided based on market response here, as all Genesis vehicles are manufactured on home ground, an official said, adding it would have to see the number of preorders here first before securing enough vehicles to ship overseas.

The new addition to Genesis’ leadership came as the carmaker is reaching the final stage of establishing its dealership network in the US, the company said.

Rosso will take charge of Genesis’ sales and marketing in North America, which has been led by Erwin Rapael, chief operation officer of Genesis US, it added.

For the last three years, the brand has made efforts to build up its reputation in the US, such as through its sponsorship of the National Football League and partnership with luxury lifestyle publication Vanity Fair.

It also hosts the Genesis Open, part of the PGA tour since 2017.

The GV80, unveiled as a concept car in New York in 2017, will feature semiautonomous driving technology and a 3.5 liter-gasoline engine. It is expected to be priced around 60 million won ($50,700), slightly higher than many in the market had expected.

By Cho Chung-un (