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Renault Samsung upbeat on hot-selling QM3

The revamped QM3 crossover
The revamped QM3 crossover
Upbeat on its hot-selling QM3 crossover, Renault Samsung Motors has pledged to continue the recent sales momentum next year.

The QM3, built in Renault’s Spain plant, made its debut in December last year. The first batch of 1,000 vehicles was sold out in seven minutes after the preorder started ― an unprecedented record in the Korean car market.

The explosive customer reaction continued all through the year. By the end of this month, a total of 18,000 QM3 cars are expected to be sold, more than double the original sales target of some 8,000 vehicles.

“The QM3 is clearly a segment breaker showing a big success in Korea. Given Korea is an early adopter market, we consider the car can be popular in other Asian markets, too,” said Renault Samsung Motors CEO Francois Provost at a news conference on Thursday in Seoul.

“We are studying about the localization of the QM3 but it has not yet been decided so far,” he added about the possibility of the car’s production in Korea.
Renault Samsung Motor CEO Francois Provost
Renault Samsung Motor CEO Francois Provost

Park Dong-hoon, the carmaker’s senior vice president and sales chief, was also confident about the car’s sales next year along with the revamped version of the steady-seller SM5 sedan.

At a time when Korean drivers are increasingly turning their eyes to diesel-powered import cars, he said, the made-in-Spain QM3 meets all the changing tastes.

The QM3, a uniquely-styled compact crossover, is a diesel-powered model that boasts a competitive fuel efficiency of 18.5 kilometers per liter within its segment.

The car also benefits from Renault Samsung’s abundant aftersales network of some 400 facilities nationwide, unlike other import models that suffer from a lack of service centers.

“Hyundai Motor may have created the nation’s automotive market and we have also played in their league. But it is a time for us to create our own playground,” said Park. “The QM3 is the starting point.”

He added that the carmaker plans to secure more QM3 cars next year to reduce the waiting period of customers.

Renault Samsung, the Korean unit of the France-based Renault Group, has seen a stunning recovery in sales this year.

As of November, its domestic sales surged 33.7 percent to 69,640 vehicles from a year ago, while its exports increased 16.9 percent to 76,570. The CEO declined to comment on next year’s sales target.

“For the midterm, we will grow at least 70 percent in sales by 2016 to regain the No. 3 position (after Hyundai and Kia) in the domestic market,” he said, reaffirming the growth target announced by Renault Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn early this year.

As part of the self-help program, the carmaker’s Busan plant has also started producing the Nissan Rogue since August. The carmaker plans to supply an annual 80,000 Rogue vehicles to the U.S. market by 2019.

With the added production, the plant hopes to elevate its annual output to some 190,000 vehicles from next year.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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