The new head of Renault Samsung Motors vowed to focus on niche markets, such as compact sports utility vehicles this year, rather than jumping into direct competition with local giants.
“We should be in a different (business) position from other rivals in the local market instead of playing on the playground built by Hyundai Motor,” said Park Dong-hoon, who took office last week as the new chief of the French carmaker Renault’s Korean unit.
Renault Samsung's new chief executive Park Dong-hoon (Renault Samsung)
“Renault Samsung will target niche markets as we did with our QM3,” the new chief said, setting a goal of selling 100,000 units this year to reclaim the third spot in the local auto market.
Compact SUVs have developed as a new market segment here since the QM3 was rolled out at the end of 2013.
Renault Samsung has lagged behind GM Korea and Ssangyong Motor since 2010. Last year, the French carmaker ranked fifth by selling 80,000 vehicles in Korea.
Hyundai Motor ranked first by selling around 710,000 cars, followed by Kia with 520,000 units, GM Korea with 150,000 and Ssangyong with 99,000.
Outgoing CEO Francois Provost, who is set to head Renault China from April 1, said boosting performance here was important to Renault Samsung, as the local auto market plays an important role globally.
“If a vehicle can be well received by local consumers, who are very sensitive to quality and trends, it can work globally,” he said at Park’s inaugural ceremony.
By Shin Ji-hye