The Korea Herald


SM6 explores new standards in midsize sedan market

The locally-adjusted French sedan seeks to raise the bar on ‘premium’ in the midsize market to win back customers

By 서지연

Published : Feb. 15, 2016 - 07:53

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Driving shot of Renault Samsung‘s new midsize sedan SM6 RSM Driving shot of Renault Samsung‘s new midsize sedan SM6 RSM
    A series of new car launches by local car manufacturers this year are heating up the family sedan market.

Renault Samsung, the local unit of French automaker Renault, jumped into the race last month by debuting SM6, the locally-adjusted version of Talisman, Renault’s premium midsize sedan.

SM6 is a strategic new model with a mission to reclaim the status of Renault Samsung as the nation’s third largest automaker after Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors. The carmaker was ranked fifth in sales last year, after being overtaken by GM Korea and Ssangyong Motor, as it did not launch new models.

This is why the automaker set a somewhat bold annual sales target of 50,000 units for its latest model.

“It is an achievable goal in that SM6 will redefine the ‘premium’ of a midsize sedan beyond the standards that market dominant Hyundai Sonata has presented,’’ said Park Dong-hoon, executive vice president of Renault Samsung, before the test drive event for local media on Feb. 1.

“This is why the company will not limit competitors of SM6 to local rivals. The company also expects to win back customers from the imported brands.’’

First of all, the strategy for product position seems to make sense in terms of price. The price tag of SM6 offering premium options used in a large sedan like the “Rack-EPS’’ and ambient lighting is set between 23.25 million won ($19,239) and 32.50 million won by trim levels, which is almost the same level as Hyundai Sonata.

The exterior look of the new French sedan is charming enough to give the car a unique character. Its long LED daytime running lights that stretch down into the bomber on the front offers a distinctive look, making it sporty and charismatic. 
A large 8.7-inch tablet-like touch screen display, which runs the ‘‘S-Link’‘ infotainment system. RSM A large 8.7-inch tablet-like touch screen display, which runs the ‘‘S-Link’‘ infotainment system. RSM

The most eye-catching highlight in the cabin is the center facia, dominated by an 8.7-inch touch screen that runs S-Link infotainment system. It is the first time in the segment to adopt the tablet-like infotainment system.

The test drive was satisfactory in terms of driving comfort and performance. Both 2.0-liter GDi and 1.6-liter turbo TCe gasoline engine-loaded SM6 sedans offer more comfort and stability, while driving winding roads, compared with rivals.

SM6 didn’t ignore safety features as well. Besides a wide range of technological driving assistant systems, the company said its new sedan adopts POSCO’s advanced high strength steel in its key areas of the car body to strengthen vehicle safety. 

There are some areas for improvements like the navigation map quality, but overall, the SM6 is a strong “weapon’’ to pose a threat to market dominant models in the segment.

The initial response from customers proves the potential of SM6. Renault Samsung said Saturday preorders for the sedan surpassed the 5,000 mark in seven working days. The company started receiving preorders from Feb. 1.