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Luxury rolled out at the Beijing motor show

Hyundai Motor unveils a new Avante sedan, left, while Ssangyong Motor introduces its new flagship luxury sedan Chairman W at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition yesterday. Provided by the companies
BEIJING – Ssangyong Motor, Korea’s smallest carmaker, has introduced its new flagship luxury sedan and a series of SUV models to expand their sales in China.

At the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, which opened to the press yesterday at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing, Ssangyong Motor introduced a total of seven models including its new luxury sedan Chairman W 2.8 model and five popular SUV models, including the Rexton and Korando C and a concept car.

The company said the models will strengthen their lineup in the world’s largest auto market.

“China has become the world’s largest auto market in the world and it’s growing every year,” Lee Yoo-il, CEO of Ssangyong Motor, said in a press conference.

Ssangyong said the Chairman W 2.8 was created as the corporation’s primary product for China’s luxury sedan market along with the Chairman W CW 700 limousine, which was introduced at the Guangzhou International Motor Show in 2011. The 2.8 model is equipped with a six-cylinder XGI 2,800 engine, which guarantees smooth driving and reduced noise levels, and incorporates Mercedes-Benz’s seven-step (seven forward and two reverse) T-Tronic transmission.

“We will also strengthen our marketing for SUV vehicles such as Korando C and Rexton,” Lee said, “because more and more Chinese customers are looking for bigger vehicles.”

The 2.8 model is also equipped with high-end technologies including 7.1 channel surround sound provided by Harman Kardon, a Driver’s Information System that helps drivers drive and heated leather seats, which all target high-net worth customers. The company introduced its XIV-2 concept car to present a vision of product development.

Ssangyong wants to sell a total of 12,000 vehicles by the end of the year and plans to expand its dealerships from 77 to 100 by the end of the year.

Renault Samsung Motors, a local subsidiary of France-based Renault SA, also participated in the exhibition with the SM7 luxury sedan under the name of Renault Talisman. Renault Samsung has been struggling in the Korean market due to slumping sales.

“We know that the Renault Samsung has struggled, but the Renault-Nissan alliance will not step out of Korea,” said Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the Renault, denying a rumor that the alliance was preparing to sell off Renault Samsung Motors.

In China, 18.5 million vehicles were sold last year, making it the largest auto market in the world for the third year in a row.

Hyundai Motor, the largest carmaker in Korea, unveiled its new Santa Fe SUV model for the first time in China. The SUV is equipped with a six-step automatic transmission and a 3.0 GDI engine.

“We will be able to produce a total of one million vehicles in China a year if the third factory that is being constructed is completed in the second half of the year,” said Kim Seung-tak of Hyundai Motor at a press conference. Hyundai Motor sold 739,800 vehicles in China last year, up 13.2 percent from 2010. It estimates it will sell 760,000 vehicles this year.

CEOs and representatives of the world’s leading carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Toyota also participated in the exhibition, competitively introducing new models to attract Chinese customers.

“The demand for luxury vehicles is growing among Chinese customers,” Akio Toyota, CEO of Toyota Motors, said at a press conference. “We’re trying to produce automobile components that are necessary for hybrid vehicles in China to introduce our eco-friendly and high quality hybrid models to Chinese customers.”

Mercedes introduced its new luxury G-Class sedan, which is equipped with a navigation system that allows drivers to access the Internet. Audi introduced the A6L sedan.

The exhibition will run through May 2 with about 2,100 automobile and components manufacturers participating.

By Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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