For a baby brand like Genesis, learning to walk comes first.
Manfred Fitzgerald, who is the global boss for the nascent luxury brand, told Car and Driver that a high-performance sub-brand—a la BMW's M Division or Mercedes-Benz's AMG—likely won't come soon.
"We're trying to set our base," Fitzgerald said in the report published Wednesday. "We have to get the basics."
That means that if a rumored performance Genesis G70 to take on the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG does come to fruition, it would be part of the regular lineup instead of part of a sub-brand, like Hyundai's N.
The "basics" Fitzgerald is talking about almost certainly include several crossovers, perhaps a flagship coupe, and electrification on the product side and establishing its stand-alone dealer network on the retail side.
Genesis certainly doesn't lack institutional knowledge in performance cars. Parent-company Hyundai is in the throes of launching the N performance sub-brand, which is spearheaded by former BMW M Division guru Albert Biermann. Last year, Hyundai launched its Veloster N in the U.S. and the i30 N hatchback across the world.
Fitzgerald is no stranger to high performance either. The current Genesis brand boss led Lamborghini's design team before moving to Genesis. He was also a key part of the development of the G70, which was named 2019 North American Car of the Year at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this month.
But he's thrown cold water on Genesis performance before and made clear that his priorities at Genesis are launching the brand—not launching off the line.
Genesis has struggled with its dealer franchising model, slow regulatory approval in all 50 states, and relationships with its existing Hyundai dealers. Fitzgerald told Car and Driver that he expects 300 to 350 dealers in the U.S., with stand-alone showrooms soon. More than 800 dealers were able to sell Genesis-branded cars in cordoned-off corners of Hyundai stores, though that number is expected to dwindle by at least half when the fledgling luxury automaker finishes its cull.