|McLaren P1. (McLaren)|
The ultrapremium cars of British manufacturers McLaren and Aston Martin will hit the Korean market later this year as both have signed a contract with a Korean importer.
McLaren is famous for its bullet-speed vehicles promoted mainly through its Formula 1 team with key drivers such as Jenson Button. Aston Martin is widely known as the 007 car beloved by MI6 spy James Bond in movies.
Both have been highly anticipated in Korea, which has become a hot market for global supercars such as Ferrari and Porsche.
|Aston Martin Vanquish (Aston Vanquish)|
Industry sources say Kiheung Motors, which also runs Harley-Davidson of Korea, has recently inked an official dealership for the two brands.
McLaren, whose models are expected to be priced over 500 million won ($488,000), is scheduled to launch in September. Aston Martin’s release schedule has not yet been decided.
“Korea’s sports car market has expanded at an incredible pace,” a person close to the situation told The Korea Herald.
“McLaren and Aston Martin are expected to become strong competitors to Ferrari premium sports cars here.”
Professor Kim Pil-soo of Daelim University College’s Department of Automotive Engineering said the two brands will be able to increase competition among premium cars to provide quality after-sales services, but also noted the difficulties they may face in attracting a large crowd of buyers.
“Having other premium cars (in the market) will reinforce the after-sales service sector, leading many to improve customer relations,” Kim said.
“But to be honest, riding an Aston Martin or a McLaren on the streets of Seoul is practically impossible. Consumers will also likely shun (the cars) due to high maintenance fees. Only those who can afford supercars may actually buy them.”
He added that, to this end, the cars may not be able to significantly boost the domestic ultrapremium market.
“One thing for sure is that Korea will have nearly all the supercars in the world now,” he said.
McLaren’s most famous model, the F1, set the record as the world’s fastest car in 1998, reaching 372 kph with the rev limiter, and 391 kph without it.
Aston Martin’s Aston Martin DB, Vanquish and V series have appeared in the 007 movie franchise.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com