[THE INVESTOR] While the Seoul Motor Show is yet to reach the grandeur of other motor events, such as Auto Shanghai or the Tokyo Motor Show, this year’s event is set to capture audiences with two world premieres and an emphasis on environmentally-friendly vehicles, according to industry insiders.
Hyundai Motor's Grandeur IG HEV and SsangYong Motor’s premium SUV -- tentatively codenamed the Y400 -- will be making their world debut at the upcoming biennial exhibition, which will be held March 31 to April 9 at the KINTEX in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province with 27 automakers participating.
Hyundai is introducing the hybrid version of its popular Grandeur sedan, with a combined fuel economy of 16.2 kilometers per liter, further expanding its green car market.
SsangYong Motor‘s Y400 will mark Korea‘s first quad-frame SUV. The automaker partnered with South Korea’s largest steelmaker Posco to develop a high-strength steel SUV that emphasizes both safety and performance.
Along with the two world debuts, the upcoming Seoul Motor Show, under the slogan “Design the future, Enjoy the moment,” will also feature 17 Asia and 13 Korea premieres.
South Korea’s eco-friendly car market is continuing its rapid growth as the number of the country’s green cars increased by 63.9 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association.
Despite still lagging behind the Chinese, US and European markets, the local hybrid and electric market sold a total of 68,774 eco-friendly cars last year, compared to 41,956 the previous year. The increase was the highest proportional rise worldwide.
In keeping with the county’s eco-friendly transportation trend, green cars are set to be one of the biggest themes at this year’s 2017 Seoul Motor Show.
According to a press release by the Seoul Motor Show on Thursday, one in every five exhibitions slated to be held at this year’s event are dedicated to eco-friendly car models, accounting for roughly 20 percent of the show. The show’s upcoming exhibitions will include 50 fuel cell vehicle models, 23 gasoline hybrid cars, 13 electric cars, 10 plug-in hybrids and one natural gas car.
Hyundai Motors will introduce its Future Eco fuel-cell electric vehicle concept for the first time in Asia, while Honda will introduce its Clarity Fuel Cell and Lexus its LF-FC hydrogen fuel cell concept car for the first time in Korea.
German automaker MAN Truck & Bus is also slated to showcase its “MAN Lion’s City,” a low-floor city bus series fueled by natural gas, for the first time in Asia.
In addition, the Korea Environment Corporation will be participating in the Seoul Motor Show for the first time to promote the government‘s electric vehicle supply policy, as well as discussing subsidies benefits and expanding the number of EV charging stations nationwide.
For more information on Seoul Motor Show, visit www.motorshow.or.kr.
Hyundai / Kia
The new Kia Stinger sports car
Aside from its world premiere of the Grandeur IG hybrid sedan, Korea’s largest automaker is also set to reveal its latest Future Eco fuel-cell electric vehicle concept and its Vision Gran Turismo high performance race car.
Company officials said it will showcase its new special edition Genesis G90 show cars.
Kia Motors on the other hand is looking to compete in the sports car market, gearing up to introduce its new Stinger sports sedan in its Asia debut at the Seoul Motor Show.
The Stinger is said to share the rear-wheel drive platform and powertrain with Genesis G70 and is intended to compete against major sports car companies including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.
A rendering image of SsangYong Motor’s Y400
Following its partnership with steel giant Posco, SsangYong Motors is preparing to unleash its new Y400 SUV.
Using Posco’s advanced high-strength steel for its vehicle frames, the company said the SUV will have a front-engine, rear-wheel drive platform to achieve better weight balance for improved quality and safety.
The vehicle is also based on the traditional body-on-frame chassis, as opposed to the monocoque, which is used in a majority of crossover cars for lighter weight and to reduce costs.
SsangYong is already dominating the domestic SUV market with its Tivoli SUV, which currently accounts for 54.3 percent of the market share.
GM Korea’s Bolt EV
GM is expecting the company’s new Bolt EV to open a new era of market share for electric cars, offering a reasonable priced EV that also offers a driving range that is more than double compared to some of its competitors.
The vehicle will be introduced to local consumers at the Seoul Motor Show, with GM Korea CEO James Kim referring to the new Bolt EV as a “game changer.”
The Bolt EV has a starting price of 47.79 million won ($42,600), but government incentives of up to 26 million won will bring the price down to less than 22 million won, making it one of the most affordable green cars available in the domestic market.
The new E-Class Cabriolet by Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz Korea will be showcasing across two exhibition halls, spanning 2,600-square-meter at this year’s motor show, the largest in its history.
Benz officials said the company will be showcasing a total of 35 models, including three Asian premieres with the new E-Class Cabriolet, E-Class Coupe and the new Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4Matic and C 350 e plug-in hybrids.
The GLC 350 e 4Matic and the AMG E 43 4Matic will also make their Korean debut.
BMW Group Korea
BMW Group Korea plans to bring M760Li xDrive, the fastest and the latest in 7 series, all-new 5 series, a full changed best-selling sedan, and all-new MINI Countryman to the show, showing off the carmaker’s diverse brand lineup. The German carmaker will showcase the 12-cylinder engine with M Performance twin-turbo power adder, for the first time to Korean audience. It only takes 3.7 seconds for the sedan to reach 100 kilometer per hour, it added.
By Julie Jackson/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)