Small SUVs are gaining more and more popularity in the Korean market. Foreign carmakers are planning to release many such models during the rest of this year.
According to industry sources, the small SUV sales volume for the first nine months of this year increased by 25.5 percent from a year earlier to reach 118,348 units. They accounted for over 10 percent of the domestic car market for the first time, too.
Under the circumstances, Peugeot’s New 2008 has been chosen by more than 1,000 customers since its debut in Korea on Oct. 29, and the headquarters is going to increase the shipment fivefold to 1,500 units by January next year. Its high popularity can be attributed to its low price of 26.5 to 31.5 million won (US$24,183 to $28,735) and fuel efficiency of as high as 17.4 km per liter (40.9 mpg).
Nissan Korea released the Qashqai on Nov. 11. The model is currently sweeping the European small SUV market and has recorded a cumulative sales volume of over two million around the world. It is said that more than 600 customers chose the model during the pre-sale that started in mid-September.
Toyota also launched the NX300h, the first small SUV model of the Lexus brand, last month to record a pre-sale of more than 300 units until now. Chrysler Jeep Compass and the All New Lincoln MKC are catching the eyes of many consumers as well.
Ssangyong Motors, in the meantime, is about to launch the X100, which is its first new model since February 2011. The company is aiming to sell at least 20,000 units of the X100 in the domestic market next year. The 1,600 cc gasoline model makes its debut in January, and the diesel version follows it six months later. They are predicted to be priced between 18 and 23 million won (US$16,430 and $20,996).
Hyundai Motor Company, which has sold the ix25 in China since last month, is also mulling over releasing a small SUV similar to it in Korea depending on the market situation. Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors are currently supplying no SUV with an engine displacement of less than 2,000 cc to the Korean market.