Busan Int'l Motor Show Kicks Off

      May 25, 2012 13:12

      The 6th Busan International Motor Show opened at BEXCO in the southern coastal city on Thursday featuring 22 domestic and foreign brands. More foreign brands showcase their models in this year's show than ever before, while domestic automakers try to draw visitors with modified versions of existing models as well as hybrid vehicles. Organizers expect around one million people to visit the show by the time it wraps up on June 3.

      Hyundai Motor featured a two-door coupe version of its popular Avante compact with a more streamlined roof. The Avante coupe, which was unveiled at the Chicago Motor Show in February, is being presented here for the first time. Its engine has been modified, with the coupe featuring a 2-liter one instead of the 1. 6-liter engine for the standard model.

      BMW, the top-selling foreign brand in Korea, displays 17 new models at the show, almost matching the number Kia has put on stage. In the spotlight is BMW's new 6-Series Gran Coupe packing a six-cylinder, 3.0L, 320-hp turbo engine. Mercedes-Benz showcases its new M Class SUV, while Audi displays its latest Q3 SUV. The two German luxury carmakers also present their supercars, the Mercedes SLS AMG and Audi R8 GT Spider.

      Clockwise from top, Hyundai Avante Coupe, Toyota AE86 Hachiroku, and BMW Gran Coupe

      Second-ranked GM and third-place Renault Samsung Motors are striving to keep up with Hyundai and Kia in the domestic market. GM displays its 2013 Chevrolet Cruz equipped with a new infotainment system, while Renault Samsung is trying to set itself apart by showcasing an electric version of the SM3 compact, called the SM3 Z.E. Ssangyong hopes to regain some ground in the diesel car segment by featuring the new Rexton W with a revamped engine and design.

      Sergio Rocha, head of GM Korea, claimed his firm's cars have better connectivity with electronic devices than Hyundai or Kia, which should attract the attention of younger customers.

      Renault Samsung CEO Francois Provost said next year will see his company's "diversification strategy" kick in. Renault plans to speed up development of electronic equipment in alliance with the Samsung Group, which holds a stake in Renault, and overtake Hyundai and Kia.

      Meanwhile, Hyundai, which has dominated the local market for 15-seat buses, has found a new rival in Daewoo Bus, which unveiled its Restar 15-seater and announced the launch of domestic and overseas sales. Featuring 3.2 to 3.7-liter engines, a longer version of the Restar is capable of carrying 39 passengers.

      Daewoo Bus unveiled 10- and 20-seat versions at the show. The company said it aims to grab a 50 percent share of the domestic market for such vehicles, which is scaled at 7,500 units a year. Hyundai Motor unveiled an upgraded version of its 15-seater County bus featuring a modified design and improved suspension.

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