Luxury Car Dealership Genesis Opens First U.S. Branch in Lafayette | Business

Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury line, has opened its first standalone U.S. outlet in Lafayette.

Genesis partnered with Sterling Automotive to create the $3.6 million 12,000 square foot showroom and lot at 6600 Johnston St. Genesis of Lafayette is owned and operated by the master dealer Arthur C. LeBlanc Jr. and Sterling Automotive Group. The dealership has 80 employees.

Customers will be able to log in online, book a home test drive online and take delivery of their new vehicle at home or at work. The process of buying a vehicle online and scheduling delivery is similar to what companies like Carvana and CarMax do. But Genesis of Lafayette will sell new vehicles, offer custom orders and allow customers to schedule pickups for repairs and maintenance.

“It’s the future of the industry from a retail perspective,” said Jarred Pellat, director of public relations for Genesis. “It’s personalized for you. Tailored to your needs.”

A customer can still walk into the dealership and purchase a vehicle the traditional way, Pellat said.

Custom orders gained ground in the United States as the industry struggled with low supply amid high demand during the pandemic. Low production due to the COVID-19 pandemic and computer chip shortages limited batch inventory.

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Genesis doesn’t traditionally do custom orders, Pallet said, but it can be done if the customer is willing to wait. It’s a common trend in Europe, but manufacturers have moved into US markets, according to Kelly Blue Book.

Pellat said the pandemic hasn’t prompted Genesis to take this new approach to online ordering, but it comes at an opportune time when trends point to a changing market.

Customer habits have shifted to a more online presence, according to reports, and traditional dealerships have been slow to catch up. In 2021, people are spending 61% of their time researching vehicles online, according to Acquire, with 45% of customers opting to purchase digitally.

Yet physical locations are still important, with 71% of customers eager to test drive their potential expensive purchase, according to a report.

Sterling took this approach before the pandemic, said business development manager Samantha Splane. Customers can purchase vehicles online and have them delivered for up to 250 miles while Sterling maintains a traditional dealership experience.

Genesis has five more locations under construction and 20 more in the planning, Pellat said. He chose Lafayette as the first location for a stand-alone facility after contacting Hyundai Genesis dealerships nationwide, and Lafayette was the quickest to create a new facility, Splane said.