Korean carmakers and import car companies are placing a big bet on the variation of sports utility vehicle (SUV) product groups.
According to the automobile industry on September 13, as the Korean SUV market has expanded rapidly, Korean and foreign automakers are reinforcing their lineups in the local market while targeting niche markets.
Hyundai Motor will launch the large SUV Palisade in November. It is not just a successor to the Veracruz or Maxcruz. The SUV Palisade is a totally new concept full-size car. It is said that the SUV Palisade will become the largest one among seven- to eight-seat models.
Hyundai is also launching the subcompact SUV QX1 in the first half of next year to tap into the entry car market. "Hyundai is also considering the domestic sale of the Creta which is an SUV exclusively for overseas markets to vary its models," said an official of the automobile industry. “We are considering debuting the mid-sized SUV Creta in the first half of next year in order to increase our sales in the subcompact SUV market after the Kona." In this way, Hyundai will have a full lineup of SUVs ranging from subcompact to full-size models.
GM Korea also decided to expand its product lineups to offset weak sales of the mid-sized SUV Equinox. The carmaker plans to import and sell the large-sized eight-seat SUV Traverse in the first quarter of next year. GM Korea is closely monitoring market situations to import two models -- one with a six-cylinder 3.6L displacement and the other with a 2.0 turbo engine.
Some analysis said that Hyundai and GM Korea began to make a foray into the big SUV market because of a surge in sales of import SUVs such as Jaguar Land Rover and Jeep models. FCA Korea launched the new Cherokee, the All New Compass and the All New Wrangler in order to solidify its position as a leading SUV brand in Korea. In July, the automaker completed its full SUV lineup by launching the compact SUV All New Compass between the subcompact SUV Renegade and the mid-sized Cherokee.
Jaguar Land Rover Korea, which has sold more than 10,000 units annually over the past two years, began to cement its position as a leading import car brand in Korea such as expanding its service centers. The strong popularity of the full-size SUV New Range Rover led Land Rover to launch the New Range Rover Long Wheel Base last month. Car experts say that the overall length is 200mm longer and its rear seat legroom is 186mm wider than that of the standard wheel base model so the new model is more comfortable and luxurious.
The Ford Explorer which significantly contributed to the growth of the Korean large SUV market by arriving in Korea 1996 is also planning to introduce a fully modified model to the Korean market early next year. Thus its competition against the GM traverse will be inevitable. Audi Korea will also join the Korean market with the best-selling SUVs Q2 and Q5.