Beyond the German trio, market analysis company Jato Dynamics lists 27 other car brands trying to match their success, including Lexus and Genesis.
Taking on Lexus
Not all have achieved success, most notably Nissan’s premium brand, Infiniti. It had big plans but went largely unnoticed, and while it still exists in some global markets, it’s long gone from the UK.
Nissan really wanted to take on Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, which had one of its best years in the UK in 2021, selling 13,878 cars, almost 9000 of which were its latest UX and NX crossovers.
The brand, whose name comes from Luxury Export to the US, lost ground early in the 2010s, but its successful dedication to hybrids has enabled it to bounce back.
Last year we saw the arrival of what could be the biggest threat to Lexus, though: Hyundai’s newcomer, Genesis. Its saloons and SUVs have already impressed, and it has its first electric car coming this year.
It only really started trading in September, with its biggest seller so far being the Genesis GV70 SUV.
The way that many people interact as consumers has changed during the pandemic, and this could benefit Genesis’s direct-to-customer approach. It uses a combination of showrooms that it calls Genesis Studios and online tools – but will it survive where Infiniti couldn't?
Andrew Pilkington, director and regional operations manager at Genesis Motor UK, is confident that the brand has a very different business model.
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“We're not talking about sub-premium, we're talking about a premium product, a premium price product and excellent value for money,” he told us.
“We're talking about a luxury experience where we put the customer at the centre of the business, not actually putting the car at the centre of the business.”
Making the customer the focus rather than the car is a different strategy to many rivals, and Pilkington is confident that 2022 will be a strong year for Genesis, which is the top premium player in its home market of South Korea.