Genesis Is The "Zen" Brand Infiniti Tried To Be But Failed To Become

Opinion / 37 Comments

This is great for Genesis but what's next for Infiniti?

Genesis has accomplished in just seven years what luxury rival Infiniti had hoped to do for decades. Infiniti ultimately failed, which is harsh to say about any automotive brand. Still, Infiniti consistently missed every opportunity.

Genesis, however, knows what it stands for. Founded as Hyundai Motor Group's standalone luxury division in November 2015, Genesis launched its first model, the G90, in 2017 and took the premium market by storm. Its "luxury disruptor" gambit paid off immensely.

Its lineup consists of eight highly-competitive models, three of which are pure battery-electric vehicles, including the 2023 Electrified GV70, which CarBuzz drove recently. They all ride on modern platforms and continue to win praise from media outlets (us included) and, most importantly, consumers.

2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 Front Angle View Genesis
2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 Central Console Genesis

And then there's Infiniti. It was founded 33 years ago as Nissan's luxury arm in response to Acura and Lexus, owned by Honda and Toyota. Infiniti's early years included the likes of the Q45 and M30 sedans.

The J30 sedan was one of this writer's favorites back in the day. And while reviews were generally good, sales consistently lagged behind its two Japanese luxury rivals. So Infiniti created a design language and marketing campaign focusing on nature, peace, and presence. This Zen approach was the right path because it could have given Infiniti a brand identity. Only it didn't. Why? Because Infiniti lacked an understanding of what Zen meant.

Zen is a meditative state that emphasizes self-restraint and insight. Cars obviously can't meditate or follow a religion, but the basic principles can be implemented via design and an intelligent approach to luxury.

That's what Genesis has done. The results speak for themselves. Just look at the GV60's spinning orb gear selector.

2023 Genesis GV60 Cup Holder Genesis
2023 Genesis GV60 Dashboard CarBuzz
2023 Genesis GV60 Front Angle View CarBuzz

A bit gimmicky? Sure, but it's different than anything else on the market, and it controls the 12.3-inch infotainment screen.

Infiniti's interiors are not bad, but they don't stand out, either. Fit and finish have never been an issue, so the problem is design. Infiniti played it safe while Genesis went bold. Infiniti offers no plug-ins, hybrids, or BEVs despite past concepts (QX Inspiration and QS Inspiration) that have yet to reach production. A new EV will supposedly enter production in 2025.

Genesis declared it will be an all-electric brand by 2030 and expanded electric vehicle sales to six more states for a total of 15. The gorgeous X Concept is also heading to production. Its growing list of standalone dealers look and feel more like opulent living rooms than actual car dealerships.

And the sales figures don't lie. Genesis sold 56,410 units in 2022. Infiniti? 46,639. Infiniti still has time to recover but not much. The competition is getting better and better. Genesis is proof, and it stole Infiniti's Zen thunder.


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2023 Genesis GV60 Cup Holder
2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 Central Console
2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 Front Angle View

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