Renault Samsung Motors said Friday that it would play a leading role in developing new versions of SM5 and QM5 cars that will be marketed globally. Thus far, the role of the Korean unit of France-based Renault Group has been largely limited to car production.
Even though Renault plans to resume its Chinese production to cover the world’s largest car market, there would be no major changes in the neighboring Korean operation, said Gilles Normand, Renault chairman for the Asia-Pacific region.
“For cost-competitiveness, the QM5 will be produced in China considering its strong sales there. But the Chinese unit will supply products only for the Chinese market,” the regional chief said at a press conference at the company’s new headquarters in Gasan-dong, western Seoul.
|Gilles Normand (right), Renault Group chairman for the Asia-Pacific region, speaks during a press conference held at Renault Samsung Motors’ headquarters in Gasan-dong, western Seoul, on Friday. Next to him is Renault Samsung CEO Francois Provost. (Yonhap News)|
“The Korean unit will supply Korea and cover other export markets except for China. Its leading role in Asia will remain,” Normand said of some concerns about the potential Chinese production of some Renault models that have been produced at Renault Samsung’s Busan factory.
After years of sluggish car sales, Renault Samsung unveiled the so-called 2012 Revival Plan last year and has recently showed signs of recovery largely driven by newly launched SM3 and SM5 sedans.
Even though Renault Samsung’s car sales almost halved to 59,926 units in 2012 from 109,221 the year before, the carmaker posted the best monthly sales of the year in December, selling 13,909 vehicles.
For its sustainable growth, the Korean unit will take the lead on the development of new SM5 and QM5 models as it acquires greater research and development initiative from Renault Group for global markets.
This year, Renault Samsung said it aimed to sell 65,000 vehicles globally and secure up to 80 percent of its auto parts from Korean suppliers. Its strategic target in the longer term is to elevate its market share in Korea to 10 percent from the current 4.3 percent, said Renault Samsung CEO Francois Provost.
“Renault Samsung will make a turnaround in both domestic and global markets in 2013,” he said.
The Korean chief also expressed expectations about the upcoming launch of the Capture compact sport utility vehicle this year, hinting that its production could be carried out in Korea depending on its sales here.
The Busan plant is set to start producing Nissan’s Rogue crossover sport utility vehicle from 2014. Its expected annual output of 80,000 units will be exported exclusively to the United States, taking advantage of the favorable won-dollar exchange rate.
“Renault Group will provide comprehensive support to help Renault Samsung become one of the leading automakers in the Korean and global markets and further contribute to the growth of Renault Group,” said the Asian chief.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org