Every year, the car manufacturers wait with bated breath for the Consumer Reports brand rankings. It's really the benchmark of customer satisfaction and testing for automobiles, and this year is a big surprise. Brand spanking new Korean luxury brand/Hyundai offshoot Genesis has bumped Audi out of the top spot. That's big news, folks, and the kind that makes waves in the industry.

genesis g80 sport red front 34

Okay, so Genesis only has two models right now, the former Hyundai Genesis sedan, now known as the Genesis G80, and then there's the big Bentley-like Genesis G90 luxury sedan. Audi has quite a few more, ten models that have to be considered and well-ranked in order to make the cut, a much more significant feat than just doing two models well. But that doesn't diminish the Genesis brand's achievement, especially in light of the fact that they've only been in existence since late 2016, whereas the rest of the top ten brands have been building cars for far longer. 

Okay, so look at the list below. Genesis outranked the German luxury brands Audi, BMW, and Mercedes (which ranked in at #15). What we find odd is that Hyundai, from whom Genesis was spawned, couldn't crack the top ten and came in at #12. 

  1. Genesis
  2. Audi
  3. BMW
  4. Lexus
  5. Porsche
  6. Kia
  7. Subaru
  8. Tesla
  9. Honda
  10. Toyota

What Goes Into CR's Rankings?

consumer reports april 2018 magazine cover

Brands get vetted pretty thoroughly by Consumer Reports, and there's a method to the madness of trying to rank the vast majority of automotive brands available for sale here in the U.S. There's actually an exacting method employed here by Consumer Reports in order to ensure thoroughness and impartiality. There are three major factors that play a role in the rankings, and these are the categories that each carmaker is scored on.

  • The Overall Score is based on intense vehicle testing, owner feedback of more than 640,000 cars that go into the predicted reliability score, as well as owner satisfaction ratings.
  • Safety technology, such as standard forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, are also factored into the Overall Score.
  • The Overall Score is a composite of the road-test score and the predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings from Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Survey.
  • Brands are then ranked based on the average Overall Score for all of their current tested models.
  • Consumer Reports actually buys each one of the cars tested, maintaining their famous objectivity.
  • A brand must have at least two current models that have been tested by Consumer Reports to be included in the annual rankings. Maserati and Smart were left out, as a result.

Genesis Goes a Long Way in a Short Time

genesis g90 interior brown

Just a short time ago, Korean luxury and near-luxury cars were considered a bit of a joke, but no longer. Consider how significant the sales volumes of the Genesis G80 and G90 are. For the 2017 model year, the G90 ranked 254 in sales volume out of 282 models. Now, that might not sound all that impressive, but consider that big luxury sedans don't sell in huge numbers (that bragging right belongs to pickup trucks, crossovers, and family sedans). The G80 ranked even higher at 171 out of 282.

  • For 2017, the G90 outsold the Audi A8 and the Lexus LS big sedans.
  • For 2017, the G80 outsold the Volvo S90, the Cadillac CTS, and the Lexus GS sedans.

What the Future Holds for Genesis

2019 Genesis G70 black driving

In the first half of this year, Genesis will add the much-lauded G70 sports sedan to its lineup, bringing it to three models. The G70 shares underpinnings with the sister car Kia Stinger, and the car is purported to be a serious contender in the luxury sports sedan category with the likes of the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Later this year, Genesis will deliver its first crossover, supposedly named the GV80, based on the concept vehicle (below) that was unveiled last year in New York. 

genesis gv80 concept front 34 clouds

One more luxury crossover will arrive before 2020, and the Genesis brand should have five models in its lineup before 2021. Time will tell if the brand can still hold the #1 position when it has more models that have to make the cut at Consumer Reports. Well before then, the brand should have its own dealerships as recently announced, which should certainly factor into the customer satisfaction category.

For now, we congratulate Genesis on a huge achievement in such a short period of time. And if all of their vehicles will be as good or better than the G80 and G90, Genesis will surely come out a winner.