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Renault Samsung brings back XM3, eyes growing SUV market


Renault Samsung's subcompact SUV, XM3. (Renault Samsung)
Renault Samsung's subcompact SUV, XM3. (Renault Samsung)


Renault Samsung, the South Korean unit of French carmaker Renault, has successfully brought back its popular XM3 model to the market after dealing with technical issues, officials said Thursday.

The subcompact SUV comeback follows after facing a string of challenges right from the beginning. Its launch in March last year came amid the country’s first mass outbreak of COVID-19 but the automaker managed to pull off the event by introducing contactless promotion and sale strategies.

Another hurdle was the faulty fuel pumps found in some of the model’s TCe 260 line.

The automaker immediately offered free repairs for all problematic vehicles and carried out a recall for all customers who purchased the XM3 TCe 260 model.

It also designated a special post-care period in August-September and operated exclusive repair stalls in all of the 460 Renault Samsung service stores across the nation, in a gesture to maximize user convenience.

Backed by such efforts, the XM3 was ranked the No. 2 most popular subcompact SUV model here last year, next to Kia’s Seltos, having sold 34,091 units in total.

It also won the best subcompact SUV award and the design award from the Automobile Writers’ Association of Korea earlier this year.

“What should be noted about XM3 is not only its identity as a new subcompact SUV but also its unique design feature as a fastback-type SUV,” a company official said.

“The fastback design offers a smooth rear silhouette but also cuts down on the interior space of the car. By making this decision, (the company) made it clear that design should be a priority.”

Designers decided to add more floor space, instead of that in the roof line and trunk. The car body of the XM3 is 157 centimeters in height -- the lowest among peer SUVs.

The model is also known for its 10.25-inch instrument cluster and 9.3-inch vertical display, which take into account users who are accustomed to vertical smartphone display formats, officials added.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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