BUSINESS

Audi Volkswagen Korea prepares full-fledged comeback

By Kim Bo-gyung
  • Published : Dec 19, 2017 - 15:43
  • Updated : Dec 19, 2017 - 17:57
In a bid to reclaim the No. 3 spot in the local auto market, Audi Volkswagen Korea, importer and distributor of the German vehicles, has signaled a comeback after a more than yearlong sales suspension resulting from the diesel gate emissions scandal.

Last month, Audi Korea launched the R8 V10, a flagship high performance sports car, its first release in one year and three months since the S8 Plus sedan was rolled out in June last year.

Models widely expected to be launched in early 2018 are Volkswagen’s four-door coupe Arteon, which was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March; the Passat GT sedan, which has seen accumulated sales of over 22 million units since its 1973 launch; and the second-generation Tiguan SUV, which ranked No. 1 in terms of sales in 2015 and 2016.

The three models received authorization from the Ministry of Environment this August, a year after the government decertified and canceled sales of some 83,000 Audi and Volkswagen vehicles across 32 models.

Volkswagen‘s second generation Tiguan SUV unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show. (Audi Volkswagen Korea)

Aiming to fully resume sales in the first quarter of next year, Volkswagen Korea started a marketing project dubbed the “new beginning project” with popular Korean singer Zion-T last week.

Volkswagen Korea said it is considering the possibility of selling vehicles through the Kakao Mobility application run by Korea’s largest mobile messenger service KakaoTalk.

Full-fledged sales by Audi and Volkswagen are expected to boost Korea’s import car market to some 256,000 units in 2018, up 9 percent from this year, according to data from the Korea Automobile Importers and Exporters Association.

Audi and Volkswagen come in third and fourth respectively in terms of annual sales of imported cars in 2016.

Volkswagen Korea has continued zero sales since November 2016, while Audi Korea sold 919 units between January and October this year, according to the company.

In the near absence of Audi Volkswagen, Japanese auto brands like Lexus, Toyota and Honda as well as US-based Ford have been competing for the No. 3 best-seller spot.

“The company is taking cautious preparations to (fully) resume sales here,” said the spokesperson of Audi Volkswagen Korea.

“As for now there are no official dates scheduled for the launch of new models.”

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)


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