Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Renault Samsung Motors and Ssangyong Motor are gearing up to bounce back from their prolonged sales slump in the local market.
Renault Samsung, the fourth-largest automaker in Korea, has launched sales of the New SM3 early this month. Ssangyong Motor will begin production of the Rexton W at a factory in India where the company's parent group Mahindra & Mahindra is located.
The New SM3, the facelift version of Renault Samsung's flagship compact, is aimed at competition against the Avante of Hyundai Motor and the K3 of Kia Motors.
The carmaker has a yearly sales target of 35,000 units for the model with a market share goal of about 18 percent in the nation's mid-sized segment market.
Under a concept of "modern dynamism," the New SM3 has adopted a futuristic design with features such as a mesh-type radiator grill and voluminous bumper.
In a bid to appeal to young drivers - the model's main target customers - it also comes in unique colors such as Oriental Red and Ebony Brown.
To create a more luxurious interior feel, it has a digitalized dashboard and an electric parking brake - both of which are the first of their kinds in the mid-sized segment here.
In terms of car performance, the car has become the first in the world to adopt Nissan's new enhanced engine H4Mk, with X-CVT, or continuously variable transmission, newly attached.
"The New SM3 boasts a fuel efficiency of 15 kilometers per liter - similar to that in city cars," a company spokesman said.
In addition, Renault Samsung is set to release the epoch-making electric vehicle - the SM3 Z.E. - in the local market in the coming months.
Ssangyong Motor, the fifth-largest automaker in Korea, is seeking a greater synergy with its biggest shareholder, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Starting in the fourth quarter, the company will roll out the Rexton W, a sport utility vehicle, in India. The plant will be in charge of assembling with knock-down, also called CKD, kits of auto components from factories in Korea.
More and more Indian consumers recently have preference in bigger sedans and SUVs, while small sedans have dominated the country's vehicle market over the past decade.
"About 500 units of the Rexton W will likely be assembled at the Indian plant per month," a Ssangyong spokesman said.
"With the coming production in India, we will see a 10 percent growth in terms of exports," he said.
Earlier this year, Ssangyong Motor unveiled its business strategy to expand its presence in the European market, showcasing the XIV-2 concept model at the Geneva International Motor Show in March.
The XIV-2, the concept vehicle as a premium crossover utility vehicle, is aimed at increasing sales in Europe, the company said in a statement.
Based on the hardtop XIV-1 concept from last year's Frankfurt show, a Ssangyong spokesman said the XIV-2 blends "the characteristics of a robust and powerful SUV with the dynamic style of an open-top sports coupe."
Last year, the automaker announced its plans to put a compact SUV based on the XIV-1 into production. It describes the new XIV-2 concept as a strategic model for the global market.
The futuristic car is equipped with Euro VI-compliant 1.6-liter petrol and diesel engines that are fuel efficient and eco-friendly.