Korea’s new diesel emissions standards lure global truck makers

By Seo Jee-yeon

Fuel-efficient foreign trucks pose threat to market dominant domestic truck makers

  • Published : Mar 1, 2015 - 18:23
  • Updated : Mar 1, 2015 - 18:23

As Korea started applying tighter emission standards, Euro 6, to new diesel-powered commercial vehicles weighing more than 3.5 metric tons, from January this year, foreign truck makers are seeking to capitalize and grab a bigger market share. At present, the domestic truck makers continue to dominate with around 70 percent market share.

Daimler Trucks, a commercial vehicle unit of Daimler AG, is one such global truck maker that considers the Korean market as high-growth potential.

The company debuted its five fully-upgraded trucks in Korea last Thursday, ahead of other global rivals. 

Daimler Trucks Korea CEO Rainer Gaertner (center) poses with other corporate executives during the launch event for the firm’s new eco-friendly trucks at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul on Thursday. (Daimler Trucks Korea)

“These new vehicles meet Euro 6 environment regulations and boast of high fuel efficiency and low maintenance costs,’’ Daimler Trucks Korea CEO Rainer Gaertner said during a new product launch event, held at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul.

The five newly-released Daimler commercial vehicle brands include the big truck Actros, big truck Arocs, mid-size truck Atego, luxury van Sprinter and special-purpose truck Unimog.

The Actros and Arocs are priced at between 172 million won ($156,410) and 237 million won ($215,500).

Gaertner was confident of the business success here as he expects the firm’s new products to appeal to Korean clients not only with improved fuel economy but also with better and state-of-the-art driving experiences. For customer satisfaction, the company will invest in after sales service.

Volvo Trucks will drive sales and marketing activities this year by unveiling 10 new commercial vehicle models, which meet Euro 6 emission standard on March 5.

According to the company, pre-orders for its new models reached 300 units last month.

“The figure amounts to about 20 percent of sales in 2014,’’ a company official said. The Swedish truck maker sold 1,600 units last year.

Scania, another Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer, has plans to release more than 10 fuel-efficient models, including tractors, dump trucks and cargo trucks in April.

“The rush of foreign trucks meeting the new emission standards will pose a threat to domestic truck makers, which are transitioning to the new regulation,’’ industry watchers said.

The two local commercial vehicle brands-Hyundai Motor and Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Company-currently dominate the truck market with around 70 percent market share.

To cope with this rising competition from foreign trucks, Hyundai Motor said it will debut new fuel-efficient truck models in the first half of this year.

In a related development, the nation’s top automaker unveiled a vision to advance its commercial vehicle business by 2020, saying it will invest around $1.8 billion in this sector.

Tata Daewoo has yet to announce its new product launch plans.

By Seo Jee-yeon (